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‘Fortune Island’ Is An Expectedly Awesome Expansion To ‘Forza Horizon 4’

‘Fortune Island’ Is An Expectedly Awesome Expansion To ‘Forza Horizon 4’

The game’s first significant chunk of DLC brings thunder and lightning, treasure, and the Northern Lights.

Mike Diver

Mike Diver

'Forza Horizon 4' is one of the best video games of 2018, and the Xbox-exclusive (okay, okay - Windows, too) open-world racer received its first proper piece of DLC a few days ago, on 13 December, in the shape of 'Fortune Island'.

It's taken 'til today for any of us at GAMINGbible to take a spin around this new offshore playground, but now that we have: ooof, what a terrific addition to an already awesome game. We've (*I've*, hiya) only stuck a couple of hours into its new challenges, but so far, it's proving itself just as satisfyingly superb as the main game.

The player has to head to the east coast of the main game's Britain-y map to take a hovercraft to the intimidating cliffs of Fortune Island. Once there, they're treated to a familiar race to the festival site, with on and off-road sections and plenty of opportunities to crash through shipwrecks and leap off ridges. So far, so we've-seen-it-already.

But then, wow: thunder, lightning, and the mood of the game totally changes. 'Forza 4' might have its seasons, with the map shifting from snow-covered fields to in-bloom beauty via the a healthy dose of British drizzle. That can be spectacular, but this is something else.

A fork of lightning strikes a tree, sending it crashing into our path - scripted, of course, but another new detail of this wonderfully rich game to be impressed by. And then comes the jaw-loosening moment as your opening-sequence convoy bursts free of a forest, and leaps into a scene dominated by the Northern Lights. Playground Games, honestly - this is spoiling us. An aurora borealis to rule them all (in virtual, video game terms, at any rate).

To be brutally honest, there are moments in 'Fortune Island', as there were in the base game, where the gorgeousness is actually a little distracting. But the jagged mountain at the north of this island setting makes navigation easy enough without relying on the mini-map. And the various races that begin to pepper proceedings, while often more compact-feeling due to the reduced square-mileage of the landmass we're bombing around, quickly comprise the comfy cycle of progression and upgrades that 'Horizon' fans will know well enough.

Forza Horizon 4 - Fortune Island
Forza Horizon 4 - Fortune Island

What's definitely new is the treasure-hunting side of 'Fortune Island'. You're given a couple of clues each time - the result being a chest laden with credits, the first a whole million of them. The first clue will be written, and ever so slightly cryptic - and the answer to it will almost always be to use a certain vehicle to complete a particular challenge, like hitting a drifting score with [redacted for spoilers]. Then comes a picture clue, and a rough area is marked on the map, rather like a barn rumour. Head to the zone, snoop about to find a view that matches the picture, and smash through the chest to get those sweet, sweet credits.

So it's not quite more of the same - but even if it was, 'Fortune Island' would still be welcome, given the goodness-me brilliance of 'Forza Horizon 4'. There's another hefty DLC addition due for mid-2019, and if it's half as rewarding as this one (already is) - with its seaside villages and sunken settlements, aggressive peaks and snaking trails - that inevitable all-extras-included, 'Game Of The Year' version of this is going to be an essential late-gen purchase for 2020 or so.

Could Forza Horizon 4 make GAMINGbible's Games Of The Year list? We'll be running our top ten - in no particular order - from 22 December, on our Facebook page. Be sure to follow our favourites - and let us know what your own essential games of 2018 have been.

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Topics: Xbox, Playground Games, forza