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Forza Horizon 4 (Microsoft Studios)

Parents need to know that “Forza Horizon 4” is a racing game exclusively for the Xbox One and Windows PCs. The gameplay focuses on players driving fast and recklessly on closed street tracks, commuter roads, and dirt paths. It has no nudity, use of drugs or alcohol, or cursing, though communication between players isn’t monitored. While there are car crashes, the drivers are never shown being injured or killed. The game also features numerous car brands, and may spark a life-long love of automobiles. This is the fourth in a bi-annual series, and eleventh in the “Forza” series overall.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Like previous games in this series, “Forza Horizon 4” is an open world racing game that has you working your way up the ranks in an attempt to become the king or queen of the titular racing festival. This time around, you’re cruising the streets and dirt roads of Britain, and even working as a stunt driver for a movie that’s shooting nearby. You’ll have the option to tear through the environment in various events; this time around, races are tied to seasons as well as locations. For instance, you won’t be able to race across lakes unless they’re frozen over in winter.

IS IT ANY GOOD?

Forza Horizon 4” is a deep and detailed racing game that boasts a wide variety of race events on the curvy roads and dirt trails of Britain. You even do some stunts for a movie being filmed nearby, and do such one-off races like one where your competition is a giant hovercraft. All of this is playable the way you like to drive thanks to heavily adaptable controls and handling. That can make this feel like an authentic driving simulator, a more forgiving arcade-esque racing game, and numerous points in between. One thing to note: when you steer badly and take a wrong turn, the game has a handy rewind function.

What this sequel adds, along with all the requisite new events and cars, is the four seasons, which gives even more variety to the races. More importantly, it changes how you drive, since snow covered roads are slicker than those bathing in the summer sun. The world’s now also open to other players (or, if you prefer, just your friends or no one), which means the competition can be real people as well as computer-controlled drivers. But the most noteworthy change is that those competitors are more skilled than they were in earlier games, and drive faster cars. As a result, even if you adjust the difficulty, the game is still notably harder than older games. “Forza Horizon 4” is still a solid and addictive racing game, but it does make this a little more frustrating than earlier games in this series.

RATING AND CONTENT

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Quality: 4 out of 5

Positive messages: 1 out of 5

Positive role models: 0 out of 5

Ease of play: 3 out of 5

Violence: 0 out of 5

Sex: 0 out of 5

Language: 1 out of 5

Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5

Consumerism: 2 out of 5

GAME DETAILS

Platforms: Windows, Xbox One

Price: $59.99

Developer: Microsoft Studios

Release date: October 2, 2018

Genre: Racing

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