If I had to sum up Forza Horizon 4 in a couple of words, I’d say it was an open-world car MMO RPG made for the automobile obsessed. It isn’t your traditional Horizon release. There’s been less talk about the festival itself and more about a new headlining feature called Seasons. As you’re likely aware by now, Dynamic
Seasons have been introduced into Forza Horizon 4 and they change everything on a weekly basis. This isn’t just in terms of weather conditions, but also the landscape itself. Each season has its own unique characteristics and distinctions on the world that are authentically brought to life in the game.
Seasons are certain to do one thing – keep players coming back to Forza Horizon 4. With more than 9 million
players having explored the Australian Outback in Forza
Horizon 3, it’s clear that people love driving across the open-worlds crafted by Playground Games in their favourite exotic supercars. The team wanted to double down on this for its latest game and keep players returning to Forza Horizon 4 and its incarnation of beautiful,
historic Britain over the months and years following its release, but Seasons isn’t the only way it’ll do this.
As I said, Forza Horizon 4 is like an open-world car MMO RPG made for the automobile obsessed. There are more than 450
lavishly-detailed Forzavista cars to be discovered, from vintage legends and off-road buggies to modern day supercars, each with their own Car Mastery skill tree. Indeed, you’ve read that correctly – each car has its own distinct progression tree in Forza Horizon 4, which means you can unlock different perks and benefits for your favourite rides.
You may recall that Perks were first introduced in Forza Horizon 2 and offered players the ability to acquire 25 unique special abilities that impacted their game. Forza Horizon 3 tripled this to 75 Perks and some of them were even renewable. The system used in Forza Horizon 4 is undeniably the deepest and most unique one yet and allows you to level up your favourite rides with a distinct assortment of Perks to benefit you when driving on the wide, sweeping roads of beautiful, historic Britain.
Each car in Forza Horizon 4 will have up 16 Perks within a mastery tree, with each costing anything between 1-25 Skill Points. These depends on the overall usefulness and benefits of the perk, and it’s worth noting that different cars will have unique Perks that can only be acquired on specific vehicles. It means you’ll have to choose more wisely when picking between vehicles ahead of races events or just generally free-roaming. You can expect Forza Editions and Barn Finds to also have their own unique Car Mastery skill trees as well.
As showcased on Forza
Horizon 4’s Winter livestream hosted at Playground Games, the Ford F-150 Raptor offers a Car Mastery perk can force skill chains to take two collisions before they break. That’s a significant benefit and could result in some incredible chained skills since players will have less fear of breaking it. There’s also a perk that allows car skill multipliers to build twice as fast, whilst another offers a percentage increase when performing different skills. There’s a huge array of Perks to unlock here, and the amount of progression for players to dive into with Car Mastery is just second to none. If you’re a car fan and love open-world progression, Forza Horizon 4 has you covered.
Not only do you have to worry about acquiring cars in Forza Horizon 4, but you’ll also need a house. These are scattered across Britain and range from little cottages in the Cotswolds to Edinburgh Castle, which for the record is the most expensive property in the game. Saving up the necessary amount credits to acquire all the different houses in Forza Horizon 4 won’t be easy, but for the most dedicated players, it’ll come overtime with progression. Properties in the game can be used for exploring your car up close in the Forzavista mode, and it’s also where you can access the Livery Editor, buy performance upgrades and apply tuning setups to your car, and even customize your character.
In fact, Forza Horizon 4 has more than 500 pieces of character customization items accompanied by 50 emotes that celebrate modern culture, including various salutes and dance moves. That means the iconic dab is also present in the game, but like everything else, these will all have to be unlocked, and the way to acquire these items is endless. Be it Forzathon events to timed seasonal challenges. When you start up Forza Horizon 4 for the first time, you’ll have the choice between 12 characters – the same 12 that were present in Forza Horizon 3. Obviously, they’ve received some updates since then, and of course, you’ll be able to personalize them with different t-shirts, pants, accessories and outfits. With hundreds of options to make your character stand out above the rest, it’s a great follow up to the Driver Gear system introduced in Forza
Between cars, houses and outfits, your pockets will certainly be hit hard in Forza Horizon 4, especially towards the beginning of the game. So, you’ll need to bring in some cash – and that means you need a job. As well as the usual slate of official Horizon-themed race events and championships that players are already used to, there’s now Horizon
Stories available to complete in Forza Horizon 4. These act as their own dedicated thread of missions within the game and are unlocked by purchasing businesses. From a dedicated taxi firm to a supercar rental business. As for the jobs themselves, they range from being a stunt driver for a popular automotive show to driving supercars and taxing people around Britain in the classic Austin FX4 London Taxi. As you can see, these aren’t your typical day-in, day-out boresome jobs. Instead, they’ve been designed with the beauty and open-world fun of Forza Horizon 4 in-mind, and that’s only a good thing.
Forza Horizon 4 also allows you to progress and rank up whatever way you desire. Be it through festival races or completing jobs, taking photos or designing paintjobs, tuning cars or competing in street races. You can progress in Forza Horizon 4 however you desire. In fact, even streaming the game over Microsoft’s own Mixer broadcast platform will earn you additional in-game progress. This is all done with the Horizon
Life system, and by ranking up through different skill trees across various aspects of the game, you’ll earn numerous rewards – including bonus credits and XP. Collecting cars, creating blueprint events and completing PR Stunts also contributes to this as well. There are many ways to progress in Forza Horizon 4, and as Playground Games have put it themselves, anything you do in the game will further your overall progression. It looks to be a fantastic system, and I can’t wait to see how it performs in the hands of players.
Of course, the Horizon Life is best experienced with others, and Forza Horizon 4’s shared open-world with up to 72 players will allow you to live alongside other players in historic Britain. You’ll always be nearby 12 other drivers at once as the pool of drivers in your session is constantly updated, but don’t worry about them ruining your fun – they’re all ghosted, unless you start a Convoy with them. You can also invite other players to join you in races as you progress through Forza Horizon 4, and they can either be teammates or competitors, it’s your choice. Don’t want to share a world with up to 72 other players? You can also play solo with Drivatars, just as you did in Forza Horizon 3. It’s all entirely up to you, and that’s the beauty of this series – it always puts player freedom at the centre of the experience. Say you disconnect whilst experiencing the Horizon Life online? You’ll remain in the world, at the same spot. Drivatars will replace the real players, and you can carry on as normal. No issues, no restarts, and no inconvenience.
Overall, it’s a very smart system that’s been made simple and easy to understand for the player. Playground Games have really upped the ante for Forza Horizon 4, and between its Horizon Life online integration that sees you sharing the open-world with up to 72 other players, as well as its Car Mastery skill tree progression system and purchasable houses, businesses and customization items, there’s no denying how much attention has been poured into the Forza Horizon 4 experience. Whether you want to race and beat the campaign in co-op with your friends or compete online in the competitive-inspired Team
Adventure mode, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy Forza Horizon 4. Combined with Seasons and all the promised post-launch support for the game, this is simply one open-world car MMO RPG that’s been made for the automobile obsessed – and it’s shaping up to be bloody brilliant.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.