As someone who had never been super big fan of racing games, Forza Horizon 4 made me swallow the bait along with hook, line and sinker. I doubt I have ever enjoyed a racing game as much as I have this one, clocking easily over 110 hours in less than two weeks, but as the hours spend to the game rose and I dove deeper and deeper into the multiplayer, it was inevitable to find some more and less serious problems in the gameplay. I’m gonna throw my ideas out here and hope to also see some sort of response to them (especially to my some more radical ideas regarding ramming and RWD vs AWD balance). Get some popcorn and a drink cause this is gonna be a long one.
First and foremost, I want to bring out the URGENT need of reset button, replacing the auto-reset and rewind in online play. Auto reset in general causes far more harm than good, wether it’s resetting the car as we’re about to spin back to our wheels or it does absolutely nothing when we’re stuck on our side (link of very fun race I had), not to mention how unreliably it places us back to wherever it wants. In single player we have rewind and that is fine, but in online, we NEED button for resetting our car back to road. It can have conditions like car must have not moved in past 3 seconds, and it would reset us to checkpoint or last road we have been on contact with (to avoid abuse in freeroam rush), but it is something that we NEED. And yes, I’m aware of existense of the reset in start menu, but that is behind 3 clicks (which sounds like first world problem) when you could have it just behind one button, without having to wait menu to first open, and then be greeted by “are you sure” question. Rewind itself is also really wonky in multiplayer since it blackscreens you, then places you somewhere you were before and you have fraction of a second to remind yourself where you were exactly going from this point, then you launch again into action whilst praying you get situation back under control.
Next on the list, Dirt and Road races:
I know we’re “lore-wise” at car festival and super powerful cars are cool, but let’s be real here. We need some proper Dirt Races. There is only 3 tracks that I actually proper enjoy in Dirt series, those being Ambleside Scramble, Derwent-water Trail (had to add - because the name actually has bad word in it and forum filter kicked in) and Highland Farm Scramble. These ones actually have proper feeling for dirt driving, and actually having rally car for them is a benefit. But then there are the ones that I absolutely despise. Derwent Reservoir Trail. Broadway Village Scramble. Ashbrook Loop Scramble. Those as few examples (yes there are more, but those are the worst). If you have game open and you look at these races, you may figure out why. These races are heavily asphalt, if not borderline only asphalt. Especially in S2 races, you are far too freguently better off picking up Lambo or McLaren or something alike over Group B rally car which absolutely should not be a thing. There is also huge amounts of dirt road and trail that could be utilized for dirt racing, but are there races? Nope, none. Here is couple of examples what I’d like to see as Dirt race routes (puush picture links).
Slate Quarry Forest Dirt Circuit - Slate Quarry Dirt Sprint
As for Road races, I’m more satisfied with how the tracks are, however I personally prefer them to be Circuits over Sprints. There are a lot of loops you could make circuits out of, why aren’t they being used? Here are two examples I would personally like to see as possible circuits (puush picture links).
Edinburgh Circuit - Greendale Airstrip Circuit
I also want to ask if Holyrood Park Circuit is in the rotation for Road races? I can’t remember ever been there in online races and it’s arguably one of the most enjoyable circuits to drive.
I know that the Route Creator has just been released, but this feature (as far as I’m aware) doesn’t let you have custom starting locations, new routes can only be created from existing race start locations, and they are always street races, which means traffic. These custom races also are not in team adventure lobbies. Correct me if I’m wrong on this.
Additional, at start of the lobby where we are given info of the event, like class, type, weather and such, it would be greatly appreciated if there was small pictures of the actual race routes instead of just their names so that we could better prepare with the car for the upcoming races. We have different cars for speed and turning, but having to flip a coin on car is not desireable.
Next on the list, Car drive balance, and walls and ramming:
First I want to emphasis that Horizon 4 is not the most realistic game of the Forza series, so something like “balance” could and should actually be used in this game in some form. If you disagree, hop over this paragraph since it’s just personal opinion about my experience in balance and online racing.
I will be speaking this from viewpoint of someone who drives mainly AWD, some RWD, and borderline no FWD. As of right now, AWD is clearly dominant form of drive, regardless of the race type. No matter if you go street, rally or cross country, using AWD in general is clear benefit over RWD or FWD, especially past A class. In A class you can still manage with RWD since it can give you extra points to put into engine power, giving you slightly more speed than AWDs in general. But S1 and S2? RWD has no chance of contest for AWD. Here are my two possible takes on this issue, one more radical, one less so:
- Cut top end of any car on AWD drive. Flat out slow them down. They have their far superior launch, and greatly better acceleration out of turns and borderline absurd control and grip, but the fact that they still also have amazing speed totally invalidates usage of RWD. I know that this is in some level already in the game, but it’s still far from being impactful enough to really make any difference. How much this slow should be can be debated and should be tested, but as they are right now, they are just simply too good. I would really want to start learning to drive RWD more, but right now they just can’t keep up with good AWD drivers so there really isn’t good reason to.
- Make using AWD weight more points towards the car class. Currently it barely causes a nudge in the car class when you change from RWD or FWD to AWD, in some cases it even lowers the class. Even tires cost absurd amount of points, but in good hands you get about the same amount, if not more control from swapping to AWD as using one tier higher tires, but with a lot smaller hit to the car class.
The following thing is something I would like to see applied to Street, Road and Dirt races in some form. I personally don’t exactly see the need for these in Freeroam or Cross Country as those are far more bumpy and harder to control rides anyway.
Walls, shortly and stoutly: Make walls eat your speed more. Wall riding is far too legit tactic right now, especially with heavier vehicles, since the cars don’t get damaged in online races and due to this there must be some other measure to be used to prevent abusing walls like this. And since lots of ramming happens against the walls, I can bridge over to my thoughts for ramming from this.
Borrowing quote from F4H Super GT, “If you’re not doing it with a bit of contact, then you’re doing it wrong”.
Little bit of bumping is always bound to happen in the narrow-ish routes we have in this game, and that is more than fine in my opinion. But we have problem in the guys who do the “bit of contact” in 90 degree angle, and with speed 100 mph faster than yours. I’m not a game dev, so I can’t exactly directly do the basis for this, but I thought of something that could be made or tested(?). We must have some sort of collision detection in game already, since we have car model taking damage depending on where we hit the car. If that could be used on detecting ramming, generally as seeing that clearly faster car collided to slower car, the rammer should be penalized. For penalty, we already have another tool in the game. In playground for the flag game, after certain amount of time holding flag, your car gets slowed down. This slow-down could be applied to the rammer, while also making them a ghost. Duration of the ghost and slow would be determined by how hard the ram was. Example, if the ram was more of a mistake, not hard hit but still hard enough to disrupt the race, it would last 1 second, essentially just giving a slow nudge for the rammer, but if it was hard ram of example 80mph faster than the “target”, slow would last for 5 seconds. Again, debatable thing on duration and how the penalty would be applied, but there should be some sort of penalty for intentional ramming as it is far too common and rewarding thing in the game right now.
Last on the list, I have pondering for team adventure points system and ranked queue.
My only problem with team adventure point system is that people who left mid-race still provide points to the opposing team. This shouldn’t really be a thing, and I don’t really see how this would too much affect the ranked play either when leaving players are (atleast should be) properly penalized.
I’m not super familiar with how exactly the ranked queue works and if leavers already get bad points for leaving early, but my experiences from it so far are quite bad. Most of the times people bail before the races even start because event wasn’t for their liking (A-class cross country example). And even more frequently there are people who don’t even join in the first 15 seconds you have time to accept the invite. Here are something I would personally change, but again, open for debating:
Increase time you have to accept the event from 15 seconds to 45 or even 60 seconds. We’re going to ranked afterall, we have time to wait for everyone to accept (hopefully) more serious race. Increasing the time would actually give people little bit more freedom than just camp the invite, giving them time to get out from tuning windows or something alike. If, however, you miss the invite, you’ll be locked from joining the queue again for another 5 minutes. This would atleast in my opinion keep the people who are interested to play ranked, to stay active for ranked queue to pop up, even if they are tuning their cars while waiting.
Punish people who hop off the wagon because the event wasn’t for their liking. Game gives you A-class Cross Country or S2 Winter Street Sprint, you joined ranked, you’re here to play and not to whine about conditions. Lock them out for good duration for leaving before getting into the instance, or give them straight up bottom of the list loss for their ranking performance. It is starting to get irritating when you have to go through 10 queue pop ups only to end up in lobby where someone left the event because it wasn’t for their liking. End result is that I go back to quick play lobby because there I atleast get to race. Last time I tried to play ranked, I had to go through the loop for 30 minutes for single event, and after that I tried for another 20 minutes for second race and gave up.
These are my thoughts and worries on the game from past two weeks, but even with them, I’m certain to continue the Game Pass for another month atleast, I am enjoying the game far too much to end it now.
I want to thank anybody who made it past the wall of text all the way down here and I’m eager to see debate on my radical opinions for changes.