Horizon 4 Is Forgettable

Hi Everyone, not exactly new here, but a lurker until now. I just had to get some of this stuff off my chest.

Forza Horizon 4 isn’t exactly bad, or good. It’s just ‘meh’, which is the worst thing you can say about a piece of media art. Some games are remembered for being so great that people will replay them for years and years to come (Super Mario Bros. leaps to mind.). Some games are remembered for being so awful that they remain in the gaming conscious as a prime example of what NOT to do. (Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero to name one.) The point is, at least these two games left an impact. Years later people talk about them for one reason or the other, and that’s their legacy. This game will have no legacy because there is nothing to remember.

The cars all feel the same. They have no personality. When I first sat in my 1984 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am a few years ago, I could feel the old-school bad to the bone feeling that came with it. When you took it around a turn at a high speed, it responded as Pontiac intended; With lean and grunt. When you stepped on the gas from a standing start and your head was thrown back, you knew the car wasn’t messing about. Today, I own a 2006 Focus. (I know, I’m a loser.) It’s feel and personality are a stark contrast to my TA. I can pull up to a work site and you wouldn’t know that a few minutes ago, I was three-wheeling through a sharp corner on some back road. That’s personality. The cars in this game have as much personality as a saltine. They all just feel the same. I have reset some of them to stock to get some sort of response and still I get nothing. They don’t even act like their real-life counterparts. What I get is a stiff, cardboard box that makes me want to go do something else. It doesn’t make me want other cars because they all feel the same (With the exception of top speed and acceleration). I don’t feel that need to buy and own more cars. Which you think would be super high on the list of things you want to feel with a driving game. The driving experiences are boring and forgettable. Doesn’t matter which car, doesn’t matter where on the map.

With the cars out of the way, one might say that “Well, you don’t like the cars and that’s ok, but check out them thar graphics and scenery!” Alright, I will. Maybe I’m paying too much attention to the cars anyways. Okay, pulling up to one of those ‘Beauty Spots’…and, it’s just kind of meh. It’s forgettable. That graphics are okay. Better than NASCAR Heat 2, but not even close to Forza 7. The scenery itself is bland. The towns, the houses, the roads. All boring. I’ve never ended up somewhere in this game and thought “Wow, look at that!”. It’s all just kind of functional, like a desk phone, or a bottle of water.

By the way, the map is bad. Granted, I’m no Vin Diesel, but I haven’t ever heard much in the way of Britain’s street racing scene in Edinburgh. That’s because this map does not lend itself well for racing. That’s why most racing games (That feature street-racing) are based in the U.S.; It’s not so much smug pomposity as it is the fact that the U.S. has one of the widest ranges of terrain, roads, and climates in the world. I just can’t see how the game map is any good to be honest. Every road looks and feels the same, every pasture and grassy knoll feel and look the same.

There is a part of me that wants to rant about the avatars, but there are a lot of you that have already done so. I will keep this part short. In my personal opinion, it’s just boring. What do I care about some average, forgettable, same-looking millennial who looks like they would be more interested in getting the newest iPhone than driving your car. The lack of body customization and the lack of any interesting clothes disconnect me even more from the game. I’ve tried to avoid this part of the game like the plague.

The essence of any good driving/racing game is one that has a creative and diverse grind. To be fair, this is fairly difficult to do in a racing game. Forza 7 got a solid B for their grind. None of it was easy, and at the end I feel like I accomplished something. Here, I can’t find a grind. Every time I turn around, a car is being thrown at me by some desperate to be liked game mechanic that I can’t quite comprehend. Did you complete a race? Here’s a car! Level up? Here’s a car! Found a barn? Here’s a car! Played for an hour? Here’s a car! Make a pee-pee in the potty? Here’s a car! This game babies you to death with rewarding you for everything. I was shocked and appalled to find that I was rewarded for jumping a bit while driving to one of the houses. I was rewarded for driving through a field, for hitting smaller trees, and for turning around. TURNING AROUND! I feel as though I have no motivation to play. It’s not like I’m working towards something. The game is just giving me everything. It’s no fun when the game makes you feel like you didn’t earn something.

Is it me or do these seasons just seem dumb? One week it’s winter, oh, now it’s spring. Aaand were at summer like 2 days later. The generic, boring in-game voice told me to go to the horizon festival to change the season. I didn’t want to. I wanted things to stay as they were. Fifteen minutes later, the season changed anyways. What’s the point? It’s really annoying when I’m trying to schlep through this game and it’s like “Oh, were you right in the middle of testing that setup for this season? Here’s another season! Oh, and don’t worry! I changed the tires on all your vehicles for you and didn’t bother to mention it. BYEEEEE!”

Now, can the game be saved from the abyss of games that made no impact at all? The purgatory of gaming where the forgotten ones live? I certainly see promise in this concept. I don’t want this post to be all negative, so below I have made a few suggestions as to how I believe the game can be made fun if nothing else.

  • Invest more time in improving drag racing.
  • America Map DLC.
  • Waaay more customizability with the avatars.
  • Give players a place to meet and socialize. The casino was really good in TD:U2. It gives players a chance to use the avatars more. (But the previous point needs to be implemented first for this one to work.)
  • Fix the rubber-banding AI. It’s so obvious that even Stevie Wonder noticed.
  • Make the cars’ physics true to their real-life counterparts.
  • Overhaul the rewards system. Make me work at least a little for stuff.
  • Horns should be assignable on a per car basis.
  • Give me a greater variety of vehicles. I would like to see a DLC car pack with an 87’ El Dorado, and an 80’-Something Caprice Classic Wagon. You know, cars in that vein. (Well, it would make ME happy at least. Lol.)

Thanks for reading.

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Thank you for the feedback. Hera are links you may find useful.

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