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Forza Horizon 4: Why this is easily the best racing game you’ll play this year

The run-up to Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year when you’re a gamer.

While FIFA 19 is at the front of most gamer’s minds right now, Forza Horizon 4 shouldn’t be far behind. In fact, with a Metacritic score of 93 (compared to FIFA 19’s 84), Playground Games’ latest racer is a much better game.

Unlike the last Horizon, which was set in Australia, this one sees you zoom around the Scottish Highlands, Lake District and other iconic British locations.

For the first time in the series, Horizon features dynamic seasons.

You’ll cruise along the beach in the sun one minute before racing across frozen lakes the next.

It was this, creative director Ralph Fulton explains, that made Britain the perfect canvas for their latest game.

Image result for forza horizon 4The landscape is easily recognisable as British

“The opportunity to do Britain as a seasonal representation was too bigger opportunity to pass up,” he said.

“That was the major reason we went for Britain.”

With the seasons changing on a weekly basis in game, it was important that no details were missed – no matter how small. Take the sheep in the fields, for example.

“As loads of parts of Britain have sheep in them it would look odd to drive by empty field after empty field,” said Fulton.

“Seeing big fluffy sheep all year round didn’t make sense so the sheep get sheared with the seasons changing.

“A huge amount of work has gone into details like this, even the things you wouldn’t think of.”

Image result for forza horizon 4Classic cars still get some of the limelight

But it’s not just the environment that’s hyper-detailed… cars look and feel the part, too.

We get a touch more authentic with our handling every game,” said Fulton.

“That authenticity comes from separating different types of cars in terms of tyres, geometry, suspension (etc), and looking at how they deal with surfaces.”

“We have got far more granular with each game and you can really feel that with Horizon 4. We want people to come in, whatever the age and be able to pick up the controller and have fun with it.”

Image result for forza horizon 4 sheepDon’t hit the sheep they have done nothing wrong

However, the realism stops when it comes to crashing your car in a spectacular fashion, Fulton explained.

“You’re driving around in an open world, it’s about fast, fun, flowing gameplay, you don’t want your car to fall to bits.

“We have gone to great lengths to make pretty much everything smash when you hit it, just not your car.

“In real life, if you drive your supercar into a dry-stone wall in Britain (of which there are many) your car will come off worse. That’s not fun in gameplay.”

Instead, your car will be damaged layer by layer.

It’s little details like getting rid of layers of paint in a realistic order that help keep things looking authentic,” he added. 

Image result for forza horizon 4 rainYour car is likely to take some damage in the harsher seasons… but it’ll be purely cosmetic

What are you waiting for?

Take Forza Horizon 4 for a spin.

Forza Horizon 4 is out now on Xbox One and PC.