Forza Horizon 4 for Xbox Review: Wow! This is a Game?

Review by Datsm

The Forza series from Microsoft has two types of racing games: The very technical racing game is Forza Motorsport, while the open road, freestyle Forza game is the Horizon series. Over the years, Microsoft uses Forza to show the fidelity of its Xbox consoles. Let’s see if the trend continues with Forza Horizon 4.

This review was written by AVS Forum “ghost reviewer” Datsm. While he wishes to remain anonymous, credit is given where it’s due—it’s his review. Datsm put the time into playing Forza (it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it) using a reference system that includes an Xbox One X, a PS4 Pro as well as a 65″ Samsung Q9F TV, plus a Dolby Atmos sound system with KEF R-series speakersEmotiva amplification and a Marantz AV7704 pre/pro.


Platform: Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, PC
Developers: Turn 10 Studio, Playground Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Genre: Racing
ESRB Rating: T (Everyone)
Resolution: 4K UHD with HDR
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos

Release Date: October 2, 2018


Synopsis (Taken from Microsoft’s website):

“Dynamic seasons change everything at the world’s greatest automotive festival. Go it alone or team up with others to explore beautiful and historic Britain in a shared open world. Collect, modify and drive over 450 cars. Race, stunt, create and explore – choose your own path to become a Horizon Superstar.”


AUDIO/VIDEO QUALITY

REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65


Audio: 98

Dynamics: 98
Low Frequency Extension: 98
Positional/Environmental Cues: 98
Detail/Realism: 98

My Take

The sound design in Forza Horizon 4 is superb, and this is a very difficult thing to accomplish in a racing game like this. Let’s talk about the car engine sounds first: While I haven’t driven super hi-end cars, each engine sound in the game was different, realistic, and had different subtleties to pick up on, like the engine revving as you shift.

Using different vehicles, from SUVs to dirt bikes to retro cars, I found each one has a sound that is appropriate.

Environmental sound is also complex in this game. You have the sound of weather effects (rain, snow, leaves etc.) and they work together, helping to create a very realistic atmosphere. On top of that, crashing into different objects created distinct sounds. Even driving through a puddle created a splash you could hear, it was as clear and distinct as the rain hitting the roof of the car.

There is also a radio in the game, playing different types of music. Everything worked together, and it never felt like one sound was overtaking another sound. The other nuance within the game was how the sound changed appropriately when your view changed from outside the car to inside the car. At no point did it sound muffled in the car, rather it sound realistic for the view. I’ll say it again, the sound design in this game is absolutely superb.

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Video: 96

Resolution/Clarity:96
Black Levels:96
Color Reproduction:96
Compression:96

My Take:

This game is a car lover’s dream. The variety of cars and the attention to detail is extraordinary. The cars appear perfect inside and out. The game is set in the UK and you can drive through a realistic replica of Edinburg. I have been to Edinburg and I can say this game really made it feel like you are there.

Most of the environments are rendered perfectly. Driving through the woods or along the coast looked realistic. The shadows from the trees when driving through the forest showed of the lighting in the game, making the forest feel alive. Driving along the coast, you see realistic reflections from the water.

The only issue I saw was at night where there were some blooming effects from other cars on the road; if you are driving fast, then suddenly stop, it takes a moment for the graphics to catch up.

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Final Thoughts:

Forza Horizon 4 lives up to the legacy of the previous games of the series. It’s easily a reference HDR game for me. Anytime I want to show a friend or family member what HDR gaming looks like, I now put on Forza Horizon 4. Their reaction is always the same, “Wow! This is a game?” And that’s best compliment I can give.

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Reference Review System:

KEF R700R600cR800ds, Q50aR400b
Marantz 7704
Emotiva XPA 5 and XPA 2
Xbox One X
Playstation 4 Pro
Samsung 65″ Q9F