Forza Horizon 4 Hands-On: A Racing Stunner for All Seasons

LOS ANGELES — Like clockwork, a new Forza game is hitting Xbox One and Windows 10 this fall. And while Forza Horizon 4 might not be the biggest surprise of E3, it brings an interesting new wrinkle to the beloved open-world racing series — and is as gorgeous and fun as the franchise has ever been.

The big new addition to Forza Horizon 4 is dynamic seasons, which will allow the game world to transition between spring, summer, fall and winter for all players, introducing new possibilities and hazards in real-time.

I got a bite-sized sample of each season in my demo, which had me briskly driving through autumn, sliding through the snow in a truck race, chasing down motorbikes and performing stunt jumps in spring, and enjoying the open roads in summer. Everything felt great, particularly the high-speed summer bit.

Even after I played a ton of Horizon 3, this new game feels delightfully fast when you're going full-speed — there's still nothing that feels quite as good as drifting through turns, destroying some shrubbery, and just barely passing your opponents as you rack up huge skill combos.

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Unsurprisingly, the game also looks incredible. Seriously, Forza Horizon 4 might be the best-looking video game I've ever seen, something likely helped by the fact that it was running on an Xbox One X in 4K (I couldn't quite tell if the action was playing at at 60 fps, but that will be an option for folks on One X). Every car and track looked stunningly photorealistic, and I could see every last detail from the ripples of a puddle to the individual leaves that fell in autumn.

Forza Horizon 4 brings the open-world racing fun to the British Isles, and will come with the series' usual smorgasbord of features including more than 450 playable cars. The game will have full 4K and HDR support on Xbox One X, and will support cross-play and cross-save across Xbox One and Windows 10.

We look forward to spending more time drifting through the seasons when Horizon 4 hits shelves (and Xbox Game Pass) on Oct. 2.

Credit: Microsoft

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.