Shacknews Best Xbox One Game of 2018 - Forza Horizon 4

It is the best looking and best playing game available for Microsoft's console. This makes Forza Horizon 4 an easy choice for the Best Xbox One Game of 2018.

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To say that Microsoft has failed to match Sony on the number of big-time exclusive games this generation would be fair. Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 were nice, but the Xbox Games Division hasn’t had anything to match up against Uncharted 4, God of War, or Spider-Man until the release of Forza Horizon 4. It is the killer app for Microsoft’s console this generation and is clearly the Shacknews Best Xbox One Game of 2018.

Developer Playground Games is made up of castoffs from the development teams of some of the greatest racing games ever released. Once they had the opportunity to work with the framework provided by Turn10 Studios and the Forza series, the team at Playground created their own franchise in Forza Horizon. The Forza Horizon series brings all the attention to detail and love of the automobile that the mainline Forza series is known for and offers its up in an easy to digest package that can win over all types of gamers, even those who don’t normally play racing games.

Forza Horizon 4 offers an exhausting list of vehicles to choose from, all while making them easy and fun to collect. Even better, the nearly 500 vehicles in the game each bring something unique to the table in terms of gameplay. No two cars drive the same and the game’s upgrade and modification systems allow players to build multiple variations out of the same ride. If you prefer import hatchbacks to Italian supercars, you can still compete in any event thanks to the upgrade system.

Getting your cars to drive well is only half of the battle in Forza Horizon 4. Because the game world is shared with up to 72 other players at any given time, showing off your whip is a big part of the experience. A powerful livery editor is included with the game, allowing creative types to dream up just about anything that will fit on the sheet metal of a vehicle. Even those without a single creative bone in their body can make use of the game’s sharing tools, opening up thousands of paint jobs and designs to anyone. Driving your 1984 GMC panel van off the side of a mountain is much more fun when you have an airbrushed wizard sprayed on the sides.

Speaking of mountains, Forza Horizon 4 takes the action to the United Kingdom and spreads the action across a densely-packed open world that offers a taste of the British coast and the Scottish highlands. Virtually every square foot of the world is packed with amazing roads and scenery. Every inch of surface area that isn’t a road is also traversable at any time as well. A small-scale version of Edinburgh offers a generous helping of street racing action for those that prefer tight, 90-degree turns and narrow alleys. There is something on the map for every type of driver and it all fits together seamlessly.

If the outstanding map design wasn’t enough to wow you, the team at Playground Games also introduced the all-new seasons feature with Forza Horizon 4. As time passes, the climate changes, sometime drastically altering the landscape and offering a fresh slate of events and options for drivers. From the rainy spring road races to mountain scaling during blizzards, Forza Horizon 4 has it all and the weather offers meaningful changes to how the cars handle.

To top if off, the game is an absolute stunner graphically. All the car models are painstaking recreated from their real-life counterparts. Water droplets slide off your windshield as you increase speed. The cars ahead of you kick up rocks and dust on the backwoods rally tracks. The game runs at a native 4K on the Xbox One X and has upgraded textures to match. Every part of the visual presentation is crisp and clean (except when you sling your car into the mud). The game also sports the best implementation of HDR in any video game thus far. Rather than a simple increase in contrast or blasting you in the face with bright lights, Forza Horizon 4 uses the extended dynamic range to offer a view into its world that simply looks more realistic and lifelike. You can see clearly into wheel wells during overcast events where there would simply be black in SDR. Raindrops are illuminated in a vibrant red as they fall just behind the brakelights of a Ferrari at midnight. If you need to show off your 4K TV, this is the game.

When you factor in all the features above and the best crossplay implementation that we’ve seen so far in any game, it’s easy to love what Forza Horizon 4 brings to the table. Car nuts can realistically spend hundreds of hours in the game and still only experience half of what can be done. Casual players can participate in races with the most diehard fans and still enjoy a fun, competitive experience. This is Microsoft’s killer app and the Best Xbox One Game of 2018.

Don't miss out on the best video games of 2018 — head over to the Shacknews Awards 2018 home page to brush up on our picks for the very best games to release this year.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 31, 2018 8:00 AM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Shacknews Best Xbox One Game of 2018 - Forza Horizon 4

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      December 31, 2018 8:24 AM

      I was just out at BB deciding what my first new Xbox game was gonna be.

      I ended up going with RDR2, but FH4 is almost certainly gonna be my 2nd game purchase

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        December 31, 2018 9:00 AM

        Get GamePass, you'll get it there plus a ton of other stuff, including some new releases like Ashen, Below and others. It's definitely got a good catalog behind it.

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      December 31, 2018 8:50 AM

      9 out of 10 bonglords agree, FH4 is the best Xbox title.

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      December 31, 2018 9:14 AM

      can't help to feel that fh4 was a step forward and a couple back. Especially when it comes to the online play and the club features. Which were both nowhere near as good as 3 was.

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        December 31, 2018 9:26 AM

        The club stuff is weak, but they really need to bring back the FH1 lobby system already, none of the Horizon sequels have had multiplayer that compares to being able to do exactly what you want with like-minded individuals.

        FH4 is fine for coop and random S1-S2 adventure playlist bullshit, but not actual pvp racing with specific setups, car classes below S1, stock restrictions and all that.

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          December 31, 2018 9:45 AM

          https://i.redd.it/9q7zscew80s11.jpg

          Worked great, if I just wanted to do a game of FFA King I could hop right into a full one without any hassle. Same with lower class races.

          The major difference is custom games there went out to everyone playing the game, while in FH4 only the few people on your immediate server can even see the custom events you propose.
          Which maxes out at 72 but usually is somewhere around 30 players, and these are mostly full of folks in the middle of doing their own things and not looking to join PVP at all. I've tried starting a lot of custom events, and the most I've ever seen join from the server is two additional randoms.

          If they could propagate custom games to a master server list and have them show up in the menu for every server and player, and be searchable / filterable and joinable from anywhere it would almost be like FH1 again.
          Probably a bit harder to do than offering a simple lobby system like the main Forza series and FH1 in the first place. And also too late to even bother with at this point.

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          December 31, 2018 9:53 AM

          just the fact that in fh3 you could gift cars to other club members, help them with their tuning setups ect...

          instead the club is just the general "club" feature from the dashboard, which is next to goddamn worthless.

          i wanted to share some of the millions that i earned!!!! lol, no they never rolled back that.