It gets overlooked by many considering the lead the PS4 has over the Xbox One in console sales, but throughout the generation, the Forza series has without a doubt cemented itself as the undisputed king of racing. If you want to play the best racers, whether it’s realistic sims like Forza Motorsport, or more arcade-style like Forza Horizon, the Xbox One is the console to own.
Unfortunately for Microsoft though, racing games don’t have the same level of broad appeal that action or RPG games do. So sadly, this chip that Microsoft has doesn’t do that much for solving their problem of a lack of exclusive games. Still, that said, if you’re are a racing game main, the Xbox One is a must-own thanks to games like Forza Horizon 4 which is shaping up to be yet another critical hit in the series that you’ll want to prepare your wallet for.
The big hook this year is the varied seasons of Britain. I’m a New Yorker that cherishes the change in the seasons. I love the first snowfall of winter, but when it’s all mud by April, I can’t wait for spring and summer to melt it all away. And, in the same breath, when it’s July and it’s 100 degrees out and humid, I’m living in my AC’d bedroom until the sweet cool air of fall finally returns. I love that Horizon 4 is going to take the uniqueness of each season and incorporate it heavily into the game’s world, and design.
The demo we played was one long stretch of races that transitioned between all four seasons. Fall and summer were easy on the eyes with bright vibrant colors and tracks that allowed for extremely high speeds. Winter forces you to navigate a snowy track that punished over aggressive driving. Horizon 4 is an arcade racer, so you can get away with ignoring the break on some tracks, except when you’re in winter. The spring section had me racing alongside a team of bikers through an off-road track, and as you would expect, I navigated bumpy roads, and impromptu ramps and tight pathways. When all put together into one long track like it was, it made for a unique challenge that I hadn’t experienced before.
The Xbox One X, still the undisputed champion when it comes to home console graphics, heightens what was already an impressive looking series of games into the stratosphere. There will be few games that run as well as Forza Horizon 4, and look as good as it does when it releases in the fall. While the dream would be 4K and 60 FPS, you will have the option to go one or the other at least. Every season and track is incredible looking. Impressive colors, and lighting makes every season pop off the screen and feel so lifelike, better than lifelike even. They are essentially what I dream about seasons looking like, when the reality is the snow in New York is a mix of dirty mud and ice within 24 hours of snowfall. I don’t even remember if we have a best-looking game of the year award later in the year, but we probably should, and Forza Horizon 4 I can tell you right now will be a contender for it.
Everything is coming together perfectly in Forza Horizon 4. Gameplay, visuals, music, and excitement, I walked away from my E3 demo with absolutely no complaints. Controls felt tight, it was fun to play, and it was a feast for the eyes. As soon as I could when I got back home, I put a pre-order in. I cannot wait to play this on my Xbox One X.
I just wish that Forza Horizon 4 had some back up this year. Despite it appearing to be yet another exemplary effort, like I said, racing games are not a genre that can alone carry a console. It’s going to be Forza Horizon 4 alone up against titanic exclusive efforts from the likes of Sony and Nintendo: God of War, Detroit, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Ocotopath Traveler, Spider-Man, etc. These are the exclusive games that are going to sell new consoles come the holidays, not Forza. But hey, if you are an Xbox One owner, and are a racing fan, relish in the fact that you continue to have exclusive access to the best racing series in the industry right now, and this fall looks to be serving up yet another gem.