Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios
Microsoft Studios
Xbox One, Windows 10 PC

Forza Horizon 4 Fortune Island Expansion

review by 
Alan Walsh
December 21, 2018
Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios
Microsoft Studios

Forza Horizon 4 Fortune Island Expansion

review by 
Alan Walsh
December 21, 2018

The Most Extreme Forza Horizon Expansion Yet

Just when you thought Forza Horizon 4 couldn’t get any better, developer Playground Games gives us Fortune Island – its biggest, most extreme and most dangerous expansion yet in the history of the series. It’s no secret that Forza Horizon has given us some of the finest expansions you’ll find in all of gaming, offering players a ton of value whilst introducing new content, features and driving experiences. Just take Blizzard Mountain and Hot Wheels from Forza Horizon 3, for example. The amount of value and gameplay innovation delivered by these expansions is just superb – and Fortune Island continues this philosophy by delivering even more of what we love from Forza Horizon 4 whilst introducing new thrills and driving experiences that continue to show how Playground’s open-world racing game is by far the best in its genre.

At first, Fortune Island feels quite like previous expansions in the series – Storm Island and Blizzard Mountain but builds heavily upon the concepts featured in these releases. For example, storms are back and bigger than ever before with driving wind, fierce thunder and lightning storms, and even blizzards in Winter – all complemented by the mythical glow of the Aurora Borealis. Fortune Island also has the most extreme elevation in the history of the series with 4.3km of paved mountain switchbacks, which are perfect for drifters, as well as a highly-dangerous but thrilling dirt cliffside road that circles the aforementioned mountain. It’s truly exhilarating to drive across it, but it’s also easy to be knocked off by an opponent or due to your own slip-up. Between this and the rest of Fortune Island’s incredibly diverse and perilous landscapes, there’s no shortage of unique driving experiences to be had in Forza Horizon 4’s first major expansion.

As tradition in the Forza series, the introduction to Fortune Island delivers yet another spectacle of an opening sequence. Surprisingly, instead of driving the 2019 Lamborghini Urus – the cover star of the expansion, you’ll be in the 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept as you’re given a taste of the extreme conditions and environments delivered by Fortune Island. That also means you’ll be taking on a fierce thunderstorm as fork lightning hits a tree and knocks it over. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen dynamically in the game itself but is rather a one-off scripted event, though it’s still a neat trick, nonetheless. As you reach the Festival site by a small Viking-style fishing town named Westwick – spectacularly lit up by the glow of the northern lights, you’ll be given your first clue in the all-new Treasure Hunt experience. Instead of Barn Finds, you’ll be solving riddles and finding chests across the perilous wonders of Fortune Island. For the automobile enthusiast, most of these clues should be solvable within minutes, especially with some trial and error, but for everyone else, you’ll likely need to spend some time scrolling through the game’s car list to figure out which ride you need. Thankfully, all these clues can be figured out in-game without the need of external online research, but should you get stuck, there is always that weird and wonderful thing called Google.

Once you’ve solved a Treasure Hunt riddle, the game will inform you and circle the location of the chest on your map. It’ll also provide you with a photo of the chest and its backdrop to help you track down its exact whereabouts. It can take some time to locate where exactly the chest is positioned, but once you find it, you’ll receive 1 million credits and, in some instances, a brand-new car added to your garage for free. Fortune Island introduces 10 new cars in total, and whilst some of these are exclusive to Treasure Hunt, the rest can be acquired at no cost from the Autoshow in typical Forza fashion. New riddles will be given to you as you progress through each round of the Island Conqueror, the new campaign experience featured in the Fortune Island expansion. With 10 rounds to beat, comes 10 chests to hunt down – and all of them have their own thought-provoking, but solvable riddles to accompany.

The Island Conqueror features a total of 32 new race events and 25 PR Stunts. This includes the usual slate of Road, Dirt and Cross-Country events, as well as Speed Traps, Drift Zones, Danger Signs and Speed Zones. It was a breeze to 3-star each of them, but I felt more compelled to replay them than the ones featured on the mainland – mainly due to how they take advantage of the unique landscapes of this mythical island. In fact, Fortune Island features the longest Drift Zone in the history of the series that spans almost the entirety of the paved mountain switchbacks! This is certainly a Drift Zone with plenty of replay-ability as you attempt to set your highest score possible to climb the community leaderboard. It’s even more fun with friends and it certainly puts those Formula Drift cars to good use! Speaking of Formula Drift, they’re the star of the show in the new Drift Club 2.0 Horizon Story, which sees the return of our favourite Welshman Robert Glenn as he encourages you to push these machines to the limit whilst sliding sideways. This Horizon Story takes full advantage of all the unique paved roads Fortune Island has to offer and allows you to take a test drive in each of the Formula Drift cars featured in Forza Horizon 4 – even if you don’t own the Formula Drift Car Pack. It’s a nice touch and they certainly pair perfectly with Fortune Island’s incredible elevation and switchbacks.

Like in Forza Horizon 4’s mainland Britain, you’ll progress through the Island Conqueror by earning Influence, the XP-style progression system used in the game. This can be acquired by completing race events, earning Skill Score, taking on PR Stunts, beating the Drift Club 2.0 Horizon Story, and finding the hidden Treasure Chests and Influence Boards scattered across the island. It’s even more fun to do this with friends, however, as I blasted through the Island Conqueror in co-op play. Fortune Island retains the same shared open-world experience as Horizon Britain with up to 72-players supported in the one session. Forzathon Live events are also back and occur around the island every hour. These fun, cooperative-driven events task the community to earn enough score from PR Stunts in three distinct rounds of unique social gameplay. Seasonal Championships are also back with exclusive rewards to be won, and you’ll find new ones every week when the season changes, which means you’ll always have a reason to come back to Fortune Island – even after you’ve completed everything. One mode that doesn’t make the cut this time, however, is the compeititve-inspired Team Adventure, which isn’t playable on Fortune Island – but PvP and co-op play is naturally available.

Furthermore, the community can create their own race events on Fortune Island using the Route Creator tool. This basic, but easy-to-use feature allows players to design their own custom racing routes from any of the pre-designated event locations on the map. With the extreme and perilous conditions of Fortune Island, there’s sure to always be some crazy and fun-inspired races to discover, but even the ones Playground has integrated into the expansion themselves are some of the most exciting routes available in Forza Horizon 4. They’re unpredictable, dangerous and exhilarating. Whether you’re doing Asphalt, Dirt or Cross-Country events, there’s a lot here to enjoy – but Playground pushes the extremes of Fortune Island even further with the introduction of new Trailblazer PR stunts. These events task players with finding the quickest route between two points and act as a test of route planning, split-second reactions, and driving skill all at once. What’s more is that there are some quirky Achievements associated to these, including one that requires you to use a Peel P50 to earn 3 stars! Speaking of Achievements, Fortune Island features a total of 24 worth 500 Gamerscore points, and as someone who unlocked all of them in only a handful of days, I can say they’re all relatively easy and should most certainly be obtainable by players of all skill-levels.

Some of the Achievements also challenge you to put the cars included with the Fortune Island expansion to the test – meaning you’ll need to acquire them from the Autoshow or Treasure Hunt to unlock them all. However, there’s no reason you wouldn’t want to do this. Each of these rides are unique and perfect for Fortune Island’s extreme terrain and even mainland Britain in their own distinct ways. The 2019 Lamborghini Urus, which is the production model and non-concept version of the Italian manufacturer’s SUV, feels purpose-built to take on the elevation of this mythical, wonderful island. Meanwhile, the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador J is perfect for cruising through the paved roads and taking in the spectacular views to be discovered across Fortune Island.

Similarly, the 2010 Saleen S5S Raptor is fantastic when tuned for race events, as is the 2002 Koenigsegg CC8S, whilst the 2015 Hoonigan Gymkhana 8 Ford Fiesta ST RX43 is well equipped to take on the island’s dirt trails and cross-country events. Personally, I quite enjoyed driving the 2018 Exomotive Exocet Off-Road and the 2018 Funco Motorsports F9 – both of which are great for the sheer drops around Fortune Island, but I must admit, its the 1953 Morris Minor Series II Traveler that stole my heart. Upgrade this 30-horsepower lovable rouge to take on Danger Signs and you’re in for an absolute treat. Last, but not least, we have the 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept, which you receive at the beginning of the expansion – a rugged off-road machine that’s perfect for the perilous conditions Fortune Island throws at you, whilst the 2018 BMW M5 is well, a BMW M5. It’s nothing too special, and the weakest car of the expansion for me, but a welcomed addition, nonetheless.

Fortune Island has become my favourite expansion in the Forza Horizon series, even though it’s perhaps not the most innovative. That title for me still belongs to Blizzard Mountain, but others would certainly argue Forza Horizon 3’s Hot Wheels for its fun, quirky and surprising gameplay. However, the experience of racing along sheer cliffside roads at Laufey’s Throne to taking on the massive Drift Zone on the Needle Climb mountain switchback in the hopes of increasing my leaderboard position will make Fortune Island an expansion I’ll continue to revisit in the foreseeable future. That’s not to mention the mysterious sunken village of Fenholm, the Viking shipwrecks by Viking Bay, the crystal-clear tides of Storm Beach, and the mythical woodland of Oldlarch Forest. I also love how Fortune Island has a few smaller islands you can visit and explore by its shoreline. It makes it the perfect expansion for adventurers, drifters and racers, as well as both the curious and brave alike. Furthermore, the artistic style used in the map overview is reminiscent of what you’d see in Sea of Thieves when trying to find hidden treasure, which adds to the overall pirate-style and mythology of this expansion.

Undoubtedly, Fortune Island is a fun experience in solo, but it’s even more enjoyable to explore with friends. I might have beaten the expansion in its entirety already, but I’m certainly not done with it. Whether it’s to explore more of the island’s hidden mythical landmarks with friends or to even beat the Seasonal Championships curated for the extreme elevations and perilous drops of this remote British Isle, Fortune Island, for me is the new go-to location in Forza Horizon 4. I still love the work Playground did with its take on beautiful, historic Britain, but those cliffside drops, sheer elevation climbs and mountain switchbacks make it a dream to cruise, drift and race around Fortune Island. It’s just brilliant and if you have Forza Horizon 4, this is without a doubt the perfect way to enhance your overall experience – especially considering it’s just $20 standalone and included with the Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition and Expansion Pass. In a sense, Fortune Island is more of the same – it’s more Forza Horizon 4, but considering how bloody brilliant the game is, that can only be said as a good thing.

Fortune Island is the first of two major post-launch expansions promised for Forza Horizon 4, with the second due to arrive in early 2019. With a host of exciting new cars, events and challenges to discover, as well as extreme conditions and perilous environments to drive across, Fortune Island is the perfect excuse to make a return to Forza Horizon 4. Because it also takes advantage of the four seasons to match mainland Britain, it means the island will feel refreshed and new with each passing week. With the ability to customize seasonal conditions in race events using Horizon Blueprint, as well as the cars and restrictions, it means you can truly personalize your Fortune Island racing experience to match your driving desires. Between the island’s extreme elevation, its curated events and weather conditions, as well as its beautiful atmospheric scenery – not to mention its all-new and exciting Treasure Hunt experience, as well as its 10 brilliant new cars to collect, race and customize, the Fortune Island expansion is a fantastic addition to Forza Horizon 4 and continues to show that no other studio but Playground Games are on top when it comes to the open-world racing genre.

8
Exhilarating
Fortune Island proves that Forza Horizon 4 remains the undisputed king of the open-world racing genre and the home to racers, drifters and even treasure hunting adventurers.
Alan Walsh

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.