My first formal introduction to the Forza series was 2016’s Forza Horizon 3 when it was finally brought to PC. Before that, I’d played a slew of open-world racers and just a variety of other racing games in general. But, no title that I could think of came close to the sheer wide scope of Horizon 3’s car list. It taught me that too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad.
The game contains over 350 cars in total. These from ancient classics to modern hypercars to, seemingly, just about everything in-between. Before playing Horizon 3, I was used to racing games containing racing cars, but Horizon 3 seemed to include just about any vehicle Playground Games could get the licensing rights for. These ‘joke vehicles’, as I refer to them as, gave me a good laugh at first. Like: “Why am I puttering around in some one-cylinder monstrosity on wheels that looks like a toilet? You know what, who cares?”
It didn’t bother me much at first, but eventually, as my car list grew, I became lost in it all. I sifted through my garage, highlighting specific vehicles that I genuinely liked, and just ignored the rest. Eventually, it came down to just cycling through the same handful of cars depending on what I felt like driving, or what a specific type of race called for. But this was just the beginning.
How Did This Get Here?
Moving onto Forza Motorsport 7 the following year, I noticed that Horizon 3’s vehicle roster was mere child’s play. Its simulator cousin contains a whopping 700+ vehicles. Like, seriously, who is going to go out and pick up every last one of those cars?
I didn’t notice it at first, but as soon as I encountered some of the same ‘joke vehicles’ from Horizon 3 with other odd additions like a Ford Utility Van, a limo, and some off-road buggies, and rally cars, that’s when I became a little annoyed. Due to Motorsport 7 being a strictly sim-racer with circuit tracks, a lot of the car choices, like the aforementioned off-road vehicles, seemed like total fluff. It came off as the developers at Turn 10 flexing their muscles in terms of licensing rights, trying to use up every possible offer on the table for the sake of slapping “We have over 700 cars!” in the marketing material.
Now we have Forza Horizon 4. I’ve been playing the full game since last week thanks to it being a part of Microsoft’s new Xbox Game Pass service. I had honestly forgotten that Game Pass is compatible with Windows 10, so I started the trial and was off to the races in just a few hours. Horizon 4 is a true gem, which I will get into more-so when I complete the full review. But just like the other Forza titles, its car roster is kind of bloated.
Horizon 4 contains over 100 more vehicles than its predecessor (450+). So far, I’ve found plenty of fun cars, such as old favorites like the Nissan 370Z and Ford Cosworth. There are also some new toys like the Jeep Trailcat and McClaren Seneca. But, once again, the ‘joke vehicles’ have made a return. Since I’ve only been playing for a few days, I haven’t run into too many of them. But there’s already one sitting in my garage, completely untouched. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll keep it there. Maybe I’ll throw a super over-powered engine into it to help it drive more than 30MPH? Or I might just throw it up on the auction instead to make a few quick bucks. But either way, it just slightly annoys me that it’s even in the game.
All The Licensing Agreements In The World
Again, the Forza teams are clearly very friendly with car manufacturers since they’re able to score all these licensing agreements. It’d just be nice if they chased after cars that most players would actually have a desire to drive. There are still hundreds of truly decent choices, but the others really do just come off as being unnecessary fluff. Like, come on, there isn’t even a single Tesla in Horizon 4. Yet I can drive the fever dream that is a P50?
What really made me realize that the Forza titles have “too many” cars is how you’re often given a car seemingly just because. In the Forza Horizon titles, there’s the ‘Wheelspin’ mechanic which acts like a slot machine (though you always get a prize). In Horizon 4, the prize wheel is filled with a variety of miscellaneous items like random horns and items to customize your character with, but there’s still a good chance you’ll end up winning a car. Rather unsurprisingly, my garage has been filling up pretty quickly due to the Wheelspins alone.
But even beyond this mechanic, the game also throws vehicles out to you as you win events and level up. I can say the same for my experience with Horizon 3 and Motorsport 7; my garages are filled to the brim with all sorts of vehicles, a lot of which I don’t even know how or when I got them. Sometimes I just poke through and literally all I can think is: “Wait, when did this get here? What even is this?”
My garage in Forza Horizon 4 currently has about 30 cars. I can tell you that I’ve probably only been driving about five of them on a regular basis. For the most part, it’s like you don’t even really have to bother actually spending money on buying new vehicles. You know you’re going to get new ones on a regular basis anyway (unless you want something specific). This is in stark contrast to other racing games like The Crew 2 where it can sting a bit to spend all of your hard-earned cash at once on that specific dream car you’ve been eyeing for a while. But, apparently, the Forza devs wanted to give us all relief from that, since it’s basically turned into an Oprah show: “You get a car! You get a car! Everyone gets a car!”
But, hey, at least I can now live out my childhood fantasies in virtual form. If you were anything like me, perhaps you and your friends had huge swaths of toy cars from Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and others. So, I guess Forza is just like that. Some things really do never change…