Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox One)

At the festival race starting line, LED boards flash rainbow colors, bright enough to reflect off the vehicles as their engines hum in excitement. It’s gorgeous. Finish the race and massive, 30-foot tall LED boards sprout up, likewise splashing colors in a kaleidoscopic celebration of cars. It’s prideful, the best of what Forza Horizon is and was about: inviting all to a party, with comfy pop hits playing in the background, and crowd gathered to share in a privileged pastime.

Forza Horizon 4 retains a sense of grand, even absurd entitlement. Now set across England – and based on seasonal changes, lasting year round – drivers careen through rock walls, tear up farmland, rip up small trees, and smash through gates. Instead of penalties, all of these Godzilla-like, smash-and-bash tactics earn bonuses. Oh to be so free.

It’s part of a stellar fantasy, with limitations and logic removed. There’s a race against a building-sized hovercraft at one of Forza Horizon 4’s junctures. Racing against the floating craft, it’s mayhem. Debris is strewn around, and the sheer carelessness is the type of spectacle a festival would need to retain an audience for 365 days. Likewise, it’s the type of lasting joy Forza Horizon 4 needs to keep itself locked into an infinite play loop. It can, and it will.


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