September 23, 2021

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Forza Horizon 4’s E3 demo delivers a racing masterclass

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We knew that Forza Horizon 4 would be coming to E3 2018, of course. After all, a new Forza game arrives without fail every year, and with Turn 10 revealing Forza Motorsport 7 at the last Microsoft E3 briefing, it would be Playground Games’ turn this year. And with that came some trepidation. Forza Horizon 3 was a brilliant game and a massive step forward for the series, but could the developers deliver the same level of technical brilliant and innovations once more? After the astonishing reveal and 20 minutes of hands-on time, the signs are all looking good.

Yes, Forza Horizon 4 is a natural evolution of its predecessor, but with a slew of new visual features and gameplay ideas – and from a technical perspective, there’s also the mouthwatering possibilities offered up by the fact that the game is the first in the series to have been created with Xbox One X in mind from the start. This is most evident in the announced frame-rate options. Playground’s Ralph Fulton proudly announced that the Xbox One X version of the game will feature a 60fps option which is something we hoped for when Horizon 3 was patched for Xbox One X – but the dream is set to become reality. Details are thin on the ground but logic suggests it’ll manifest as a lower resolution, high performance mode while the typical 30fps option goes for native 4K instead.

Unfortunately, 60fps wasn’t available in the E3 demo – it was locked down to 30 just like prior games. And that’s a bit of a shame, as the prospect of a full frame-rate mode has been enough to make our Eurogamer colleagues seriously consider investing in an Xbox One X, just for this title. In Forza Horizon 3, 60fps was a genuine game-changer, but it was an elite experience reserved for those with relatively powerful PCs. Still, even at 30fps, Horizon as a series has always managed to look and feel great in motion and curiously, Horizon 4 manages to feel decidedly more responsive than previous entries. Perhaps input latency has been reduced or maybe the handling has simply been tweaked? It’s not entirely clear, but the game felt remarkably responsive for a 30Hz title and that seems to translate into tighter handling.

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