5 WAYS ASSASSIN’S CREED ODYSSEY EMBRACES THE RPG GENRE (AND ONE THAT IT DOESN’T)

When Assassin’s Creed burst onto the gaming scene back in 2007, it was a open-world stealth game that put action at the centre of the experience. Over the years though, it has evolved to make that action more in-depth. Last year’s superb entry Assassin’s Creed Origins took the series closer than ever into role-playing terrority, enabling you to hunt down better gear and upgrade your central character.

After going hands-on with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, we discovered that it’s no longer toying with those conventions – it’s fully embracing them. Ubisoft are making a RPG through and through, and it left us more eager than ever to return to the history loving series. Join us as we investigate the ways Assassin’s Creed Odyssey embraces its inner RPG (and one it doesn’t).

1. A choice of characters

Like many role-playing games, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will let the player decide who they want to play as. Players can either choose to be a male or female Spartan mercenary named Alexios or Kassandra. Who you choose as the protagonist won’t impact the story, but player choice will play a huge role in what happens.

2. Dialogue options

Games like Mass Effect are built around their dialogue systems, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey looks to have a similarly complex system. Players will be able to outsmart characters by using their wit, romance them, and learn about the lore of ancient Greece.

3. Multiple endings

The choices you make will have consequences, as there will be multiple endings to unlock in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The branching story will all depend on how the player chooses to clear their missions, and what factions they side with during the Greek conflicts that occur during the story. Multiple endings have been a longtime staple of RPGs, and this is yet another example of Assassin’s Creed embracing its new genre.

4. Sweet romance

For the first time in the series history, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will allow players to choose their romantic partner. That means that both Alexios and Kassandra can choose to woo either men or women. Prepare your cheesiest chat-up lines for potential paramours.

5. Combat abilities

The skill trees return from Origins, but add new combat abilities that you trigger by holding the left bumper (or L1) and pushing a face button. In our demo, we used LB and the A button to perform the 300-style kick that sent our foe flying, and left us wanting to bellow “THIS. IS. SPARTA!” at the poor Ubisoft representative stood next to us.

5.5. Bloody massive battles

But Odyssey isn’t all about stroking your chin over dialogue options or smooching your sweetheart in an olive grove.

Conquest Battles are huge bust-ups featuring hundreds of individual participants. It’s a new way to experience Assassin’s Creed, and a departure from the close encounters that have made the franchise a household name. We can’t wait to see if we can turn the tide of battles in them.

SPIDER-MAN: WHO ARE THE VILLAINS FEATURED IN THE E3 DEMO?

One of the highlights of Sony’s E3 2018 press conference was the villain-filled trailer for Marvel’s Spider-Man. The webbed wonder has always gone up against an iconic cast of baddies, and Insomniac Games is leveraging his gallery of foes to the fullest.

In addition to the incredible trailer, Sony also released a new gameplay video showcasing the game’s boss fight against Shocker. Showing off this many iconic baddies this early shows how Marvel’s Spider-Man is already shaping to be the one of the best videogame versions of our favourite wall-crawler.

If you’re not quite up to date on Spider-Man’s foes, don’t worry! We’re going to go over their comic origins, so you have an idea of what to expect when Spidey swings onto PS4 on the 7th of September.

Electro

Maxwell Dillon received electric-based powers after getting struck by lightning, and eventually wound up becoming a villain by the name of Electro. He’s interacted with a wide range of Marvel heroes including Daredevil and the Fantastic Four, but he’s best known for battling it out with Peter Parker over the years. He’s shown viciously shocking Spider-Man during the trailer, and is poised to be quite the threat.

Rhino

There have been several different incarnations of Rhino over the years, but there’s always one constant: he’s more brawn than brains. No matter if he’s wearing an artificial rhinoceros skin or battle armor, the villain just isn’t very bright. While he has to rely on others for a good plan, Rhino has proven to be dangerous in combat, and can be a powerful part of a team.

Scorpion

While investigating Spider-Man, private investigator Mac Gargan winds up being the test subject for an experiment that leaves him with the abilities of a scorpion. While incredibly powerful, Gargan is being driven insane by the transformation. In the comics, he eventually becomes Venom, although we doubt you’ll be seeing that version of the character in the game.

Vulture

A businessman turned criminal after experiencing financial difficulties, the Vulture is able to fly thanks to a specially made suit. He’s become one of Spider-Man’s most fearsome foes over the years, as we saw in last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he was played by Michael Keaton.

Mister Negative

The alter-ego of philanthropist Martin Li, Mister Negative serves as a terrifying crime boss of New York City. He’s able to use two different energy powers (called lightforce and darkforce) that allow him to corrupt matter, and insert energy into various objects. He’s able to fully manipulate his surroundings, and can even change a man’s personality similar to his own split-persona. Spidey will have his hands full with him.

Shocker

Herman Schultz is a lifelong criminal that got sick of getting put in prison (who can really blame him?), and decided to build a custom suit. His specialized armor allows for him to send out shock wave attacks. This isn’t only helpful when combating heroes like Spider-Man, but also for opening bank safes.

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT CHANGES IN FIFA 19

Are you ready to play on the biggest stage in club football? FIFA 19 is adding the Champions League to its roster, along with a range of brand new features, improving the action up and down the pitch.

We’ve put together a handy guide that shows just what has changed in this latest edition of the popular football series. It will take a look at some of the biggest changes: from the introduction of new modes to tweaks to how the game is actually played.

1. New Champions League mode

The biggest piece of news is the introduction of the Champions League. Players will now be able to compete in European competitions, in the hopes of emulating legendary winners like Real Madrid, Milan, and Bayern Munich.

This news also comes with the inclusion of the Europa League and the Super Cup too, which will no doubt further excite fans of European football. To go along with these new modes, players can expect an alternative commentary team of Lee Dixon and Derek Rae for European games, and the official match presentation of the tournaments themselves. This will help to capture the magical atmosphere of playing in the Champions League and beyond.

2. Dynamic tactics

Tactics have also been given a bit of a reimagining this time around. Dynamic tactics allow for a few different approaches to handling formations and different play styles. These will offer players a deeper level of customization prior to the game, with a range of attacking and defending methods available from the outset to players across any approach.

There are also a number of new options for in-match adjustments too, so that you can respond to any situation the match may throw at you. It’s a welcome change and one that players will no doubt get some good use out of when their team ends up going behind.

3. Timed finishing

Another huge alteration that you can expect from FIFA 19 is the addition of timed finishing. When you press the shoot button, you will now have to press it twice, with the second press deciding its power and accuracy.

It’s a big change from previous entries and one that will give players much greater control over how they finish an opportunity. It will apply to everything from headers to long shots from outside of the area.

4. Active touch system

It’s not only finishing that’s changing either. The Active Touch System will also change how you strike and receive the ball, offering more involvement and a much wider variety of tools.

For instance, when receiving a pass, you can now do a disguised touch, flick up volleys, and skill specific animations like the Neymar Trap. It’s just one more addition that’s giving players a greater control of their movement and fluidity on the ball.

5. Increased animations

Previous entries in the FIFA series have used Real Player Motion Technology, but FIFA 19 will take it much further than ever before. It will introduce a bunch of new animations for all positions to give players more character and a greater level of physicality.

Enhanced animations will include tactical shielding, impact balancing, and physical jostling, to name a few. Good luck!

Pre-order FIFA 19 at GAME now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REMEDY’S SUPERNATURAL SHOOTER CONTROL

Control is the latest mind-bending third-person action game from the acclaimed developers of Alan Wake and Quantum Break, Remedy Entertainment. Announced at E3 2018 with an incredible cinematic trailer and a brief gameplay tease, we just had to find out more about this mind-bending experience.

Fortunately, help was soon at hand. We managed to grab a brief moment with Thomas Puha, Head of Communications at Remedy Entertainment, who gave us a greater insight into the world of Control and what we can expect from this ambitious third-person action gem.

“We really wanted to make a game that has that Remedy action, that Remedy flavour,” says Puha about the game’s direction. “And we wanted to make something far less linear, so Control is a lot more of a sandbox type of game.”

Control, in contrast to Remedy’s other games, will be a much more open-ended experience for players. Puha compares the game to ‘Metroidvanias’, suggesting that players can revisit locations after unlocking new abilities to access new areas and explore. This is a new design approach for the studio and one that will let players dictate their own pace a lot more.

As for the story, Remedy are wary of revealing too much, but they did give us a little insight into our protagonist and the central location, the Oldest House.

Puha refers to this setting as “the home of Federal Bureau of Control”, who are a paranatural investigation group. At the start of the game, it’s revealed that monsters called the Hiss have infiltrated the location and killed the director of the Bureau with disastrous consequences.

“You play as Jesse Fadens who has had a very kind of troubled mysterious past,” Puha explains. “Something has happened in Jesse’s past that has now led her to the Oldest House. Why? You will find out obviously when you play the game.”

According to Puha, Jesse will have to go deeper into the Oldest House to undertake an almost ritualistic process to become the new director and take on the Hiss.

An exciting feature that we do know more about is the abilities in the game, which were shown off in the trailer. Jesse will have a number of telekinetic abilities that allow her to fight off the Hiss including the ability to levitate, throw items in the environment, and formulate shields with debris. There will also be another option available to players though, that Puha tells us more about.

“Jesse has something we call the service weapon, which is again like a supernatural transforming weapon,” he says. “It transforms into different forms. And it’s kind of up to the player how much you want to use the gun and just for the gunplay as opposed to using abilities.”

The term the team are using to describe this style is ‘new weird’. Essentially, this means that they are adopting a more modern take on the mystery genre that doesn’t necessarily go out of its way to explain too much. There are bunch of new influences that have informed this direction across multiple mediums and art forms.

“The term ‘new weird’ is the one that we use,” he explains. “That gets thrown around when we talk about Control. When Sam start writing the story and our game director Mixu started kicking around ideas, they really liked the book Annihilation.”

At the moment, there is still a lot to learn about Control and we want to keep it that way. Remedy Entertainment’s game has really piqued our interest with its bold cinematic trailer, heavy dose of mystery, and the promise of greater player freedom. Puha tells us that they’re only showing a small section of the game at E3 2018 and that we’ve only really a fraction of what the game has to offer.

“We’re only showing like a pretty small glimpse of the Oldest House looks like. It’s not just office spaces and things like that. It’s like the core of the building is kind of stable. The further you venture into it the crazier it will get.” We can’t wait to find out how crazy things will get when Control heads to consoles next year.

Pre-order Control at GAME for now!

7 REASONS WHY CYBERPUNK 2077 WILL BLOW YOU AWAY

The Witcher developer CD Projekt RED are finally starting to reveal more about their next role-playing game, Cyberpunk 2077. It’s set to be a decidedly different experience from their fantasy games, and early trailers already have us itching to venture into its world.

While there’s still more questions than answers regarding the game, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about it after it’s grand unveiling at E3 this week. Here are 7 reasons why Cyberpunk 2077 will blow you away.

1. It’s CD Projekt RED’s spin on first person games

Excitingly, Cyberpunk 2077 will play decidedly different from the developer’s past titles. This will be a first-person shooter, but they aren’t completely getting away from the role-playing elements that have defined their previous work.

Players can use bullet time to slow down combat, and specialized bullets can be equipped that bounce off walls and into enemies. It’s bound to be a different type of shooter, but one that’s decidedly CD Projekt RED.

2. Customize Your Hero

V won’t be your standard role-playing game protagonist. The mercenary can be completely customized by the player. Everything from the character’s gender to their body type and class will be up to you. This allows players to potentially create a cyberpunk version of themselves or produce their wildest creation. V isn’t so much a creation of CD Projekt RED, but of the player themselves.

3. Night City is an incredible open-world

Night City, California is a sprawling metropolis that is comprised of six different areas: City Center, Watson, Westbrook, Heywood, Pacifica, and Santo Domingo. Each of the different locales have a distinct look and feel that players will have to get a handle on. Exploration is handled both on-foot and in vehicles. Players can take advantage of future technology by letting autonomous cars drive from one area to another so they can focus on combat.

4. Your choices will matter

Storytelling has always been one of CD Projekt RED’s strong suits, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt showcased how impressively the developer can handle branching storylines. They’ll be attempting to do the same with Cyberpunk 2077, but on an even greater scale. The studio has confirmed that there will be multiple endings and different story outcomes to experience. Player choice will play a vital role throughout the game, and it will ensure that no two playthroughs will be exactly the same.

5. Get implants to learn new skills and languages

While plenty of role-playing games have skill trees with no in-game explanation, Cyberpunk 2077 will have a good explanation for V to learn new abilities over the course of the game. These additional skills will come in the form of cybernetic implants that can be purchased. Players can use them to decipher languages that NPCs speak. The better the implant, the more accurate the translations will be.

6. Different types of damage to avoid and inflict

Combat will be a highly strategic affair in Cyberpunk 2077. One major aspect that players will have to deal with is the four types of damage that need to be avoided and afflicted: physical, thermal, EMP, and chemical. Players can identify which enemies do what type of damage by using their scanning ability. This becomes a core part of combat that players will have to master if they wish to be successful.

7. There’ll be plenty of post-release support

Hidden within the recent E3 2018 trailer was the announcement that Cyberpunk 2077 will follow The Witcher 3’s footsteps in terms of downloadable content and post-launch support. That fantasy RPG wound up receiving 16 free DLC packs, ranging from alternative character looks to a new game plus mode. Few studios support their games this ardently, and it’s certain that players will be going back to Cyberpunk 2077 for months after release.

HANDS-ON WITH THE TERRIFYINGLY GOOD RESIDENT EVIL 2

The Resident Evil 2 remake was one of the surprise announcements at this year’s E3, with a trailer during Sony’s conference delighting and terrifying us in equal measure. We had the chance to go hands-on with this updated horror classic, which instantly proved to be a massive improvement over the original.

It brings the game up to scratch for modern consoles, while still remaining faithful to that claustrophobic atmosphere established in the original three Resident Evil games for PlayStation One. Here are five reasons why it’ll be a must for Resi die-hards and novices alike.

1. A new perspective

Anyone who has played the original Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation will remember its fixed camera angles, which gave every new environment a feeling of unease, but the series has slowly evolved away from. The remake follows suit with an over-the-shoulder approach similar to Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Revelations.

This gives the players a better awareness of where they are in the level, but without sacrificing on the horror atmosphere. The camera will still only cover a small fraction of your surroundings, meaning zombies can still sneak up on you if you’re not careful.

2. Characters get a visual upgrade

The most obvious upgrade, apart from the change in perspective, are the visuals. Resident Evil 2 Remake looks stunning and takes full advantage of the RE Engine that was previously used on Resident Evil 7. S.T.A.R.S rookie Leon S. Kennedy and RPCD officer Marvin Branagh looking much more realistic.

An impressive layer of detail has been given to everything from their clothes to their facial movements, in a move that will surely grab people’s attention… Unfortunately, this will also apply to all of the monsters in the game too, meaning that you will encounter a constant barrage of nightmarish beasts while roaming the streets of Raccoon City.

3. The Police Station is even scarier

The Police Station is an iconic location in the Resident Evil franchise, appearing in both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. In the remake, it returns, but with a widespread visual upgrade across the board.

The layout is still largely the same with the same large reception area and narrow, claustrophobic hallways. However, everything just feels that much more dangerous, highlighting the chaos that must have ensued after the T-Virus escaped the Spencer Mansion, reaching the city.

Blood splatters the walls and there is a much greater emphasis on the lighting in the game, with areas mostly blanketed in darkness until you shine your light across them.

4. Reworked dialogue

During our hands-on, we get to hear how the dialogue has been updated to provide what Capcom are describing as a “deeper narrative experience.” For instance, your introduction to R.P.D cop Marvin Branagh is much more dramatic in this new version, as he crashes a steel shutter onto a Zombies head before wheezing “You’re safe… for now.”

5. Zombie limbs will fall off if you shoot them

Another advantage of the new engine is the ability to push the gameplay even further, as it is now possible to shoot zombies limbs off. This is something we’ve seen before in the later Resident Evil games, but it is now rendered in breathtaking detail with viscera and wet gore spilling from the stumps of limbs.

Shooting off limbs will also provide a nice, tactical advantage for players, allowing you to shoot off an enemy’s legs to slow them down and so on.

We can’t wait to head back to Raccoon City on the 25th of January next year.

Pre-order Resident Evil 2 at GAME now

5 REASONS FORSAKEN COULD BE DESTINY’S GREATEST EXPANSION YET

We got to go hands-on Destiny 2’s Forsaken expansion at E3 2018, and it looks like it could be the greatest add-on yet for Bungie’s first-person shooter. Not only does it introduce two gorgeous new locations to explore, but it adds in plenty of post-game content that will change how players forever play Destiny. It’s a huge step forward for the series, and our early impressions left us eager to play more

1. The Tangled Shore

One of Forsaken’s new areas is the Tangled Shore. It’s an absolutely breathtaking asteroid wasteland that is located within The Reef. Smouldering fires and artful piles of destruction decorated the ground, and it was quite the sight to see.

We also got to visit the Prison of Elders during a jailbreak, seeing all of Destiny’s enemy factions going at it with each other. It was fascinating getting to see all of these iconic groups duking it out, and shows how the dynamic changes when multiple factions come into contact with each other.

2. Brilliant Bows

We had a chance to try out two new weapons during our hands-on session with Forsaken’s campaign. The first was the Arsenic Bite 4B, an agile recurve bow that rewards every hit with a decreased draw time.

But it’s when we equip the new legendary bow, Trinity Ghoul, that things get really exciting. Every time you land a precision shot with this elegant instrument of destruction, your next arrow will be enhanced with a devastating chain lightning effect. In practice, the result is (pardon the pun) electrifying, as you switch between careful headshots and crowd-clearing high-voltage blasts.

3. Lasting consequences

Forsaken won’t be your run of the mill expansion as it will shake up the greater Destiny universe. The latest trailer shows that the wise-cracking Cayde-6 meets a gruesome end. It’s a shocking way to kill off a character that has helped serve as the heart and soul of the game, but Bungie is insisting that this isn’t a marketing ploy. There will be long-term consequences from Forsaken, and that makes it a must-play for fans of the series.

4. Gambit changes the game

Gambit isn’t just a new mode – it’s an entirely new concept that combines the A.I. blasting fun of a Destiny campaign with the competitive intensity of the multiplayer Crucible. Two teams of four face off against AI enemies in separate arenas, and the first team to summon and kill their stage’s boss baddie will be declared the winners.

That might sound straightforward, but Gambit is no simple race – it’s a delicate balancing act between risk and reward. So, do you charge into battle against into your AI enemies in an effort to secure victory more quickly? Or will you spend your time invading your opponents’ stage instead, sowing destruction and distraction as they duke it out with their own AI foes.

It’s the digital equivalent of hopping out of a car mid-race just to dig a big pit for your rival to drive into, and just as devilishly satisfying as you’d expect.

5. New Supers for Each Sub-Class

While there aren’t any new classes introduced in Destiny 2’s Forsaken expansion, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to learn. Each of the nine sub-classes are getting an additional super ability, which will help change the flow of combat. This will help freshen up the gameplay, and allow players to use their class of choice in a brand new way. The top-notch shooting has always been one of Destiny’s strengths, and getting more ways to experience it is never a bad thing!

HANDS-ON: SPYRO REIGNITED TRILOGY IMPRESSES WITH ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Fans of Spyro are in for a treat. Toy for Bob’s ambitious remake of the first three games in his, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, is an absolute joy to play, featuring a gorgeous new art style, an improved soundtrack, and the same classic gameplay we adored from back in the day.

We got the chance to go hands-on with the game at E3, as well as sit down with the senior producer at Toys for Bob Peter Kavic. He told us a bit more about Spyro Reignited Trilogy and how they are bringing the games back for a more modern audience.

“It’s really a love letter to fans,” says Kavic, when asked about the team’s philosophy. “We love this character and we have a history at Toys for Bob with Spyro, so the chance on his 20th Birthday to bring him back and the original stories that people fell in love was really alluring for us.” Toys for Bob were responsible for the Skylanders’ games featuring Spyro, so their passion for the purple dragon is clear.

We played a selection of three stages as part of the demo, including the levels Toasted, Tree Tops, and Sunny Flight. All three were quite different from each other, with Tree Tops introducing super jumps and Sunny Flight giving us a closer look at the flying controls. It all felt super intuitive, with Sunny Flight in particular packing a satisfying challenge, even for our seasoned platforming skills.

Arguably the first thing that really stands out about Spyro Reignited Trilogy is the revamped graphics. The game has an outstanding new art direction that expands on the visuals from the originals with new environmental and character art.

When we freed dragons in the levels, we were pleasantly surprised to see that they have new characteristics. The dragon Nevin in the stage Toasted, for example, is now a painter, with his art being scattered around as new decoration for the world. We even managed to find a self-portrait while out exploring. Kavic told us that this would be a thread throughout the different stages and that there would dragons dressed up as Baristas and sculptors too, giving the world more character.

“We were able to really embellish on what the world’s feel like and do things to make them feel more lived in,” states Kavic. He uses the example of the new reactive environment. While running through grass in the levels, it will respond to your movement, something that wasn’t possible in the original games.

This also applies to the music too. Stewart Copeland, the accomplished musician and drummer from The Police, composed the soundtrack for the first three Spyro games. His soundtrack returns, but this time with added layers of reactivity and detail. While traversing the levels, the music will change subtly depending on where you are and what you are doing.

In regards to the gameplay, however, it was more a case of staying the same and trying to recapture the feeling of those first three games. The team at Toys for Bob didn’t have access to the original source code, so they have had to carry out painstaking research in order to achieve this. They used emulators and a tool called SpyroScope, which they describe as a Spyro microscope, to achieve this. It’s safe to say that they have succeeded.

“There’s part of the experience that you just break if you aren’t being faithful,” says Kavic. “It’s really important that we respected those elements. Jump heights, how long an animation plays, how Spyro soars off a super jump: all those things were the sacred elements.”

That doesn’t mean the team haven’t added some modern conveniences. The first Spyro came out before analogue sticks were widely used in games, so the team updated the game to support this control method. As well as this, the team also had conversations about the UI and making sure it stayed consistent and clean across the three included games.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy is everything we ever wanted from a Spyro remake and more. It’s a beautiful and loving recreation of the first three games, bringing them into the modern generation with style. Spyro swoops onto consoles on the 21st September 2018.

Pre-order Spyro Reignited Trilogy now at GAME

GET THE MOST OUT OF CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4 WITH THE PRO EDITION

Activision have announced a new way to get all the latest Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 post-launch content in the form of the Black Ops pass.

Instead of four seperate DLC packs, the Black Ops pass will drop new maps more frequently throughout the year.

It will also include new content for all three of Black Ops 4’s modes. Fans of Call of Duty’s Zombies mode will get to experience the perks immediately as a fourth Zombies campaign called Classified will be available when the shooter launches October 12.

In total, players will get 12 multiplayer maps, four exclusive characters for the battle royale mode Blackout, and four all-new Zombies experiences.

One of the ways you can nab the Black Ops Pass is by picking up the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Pro Edition. Not only will you get the base game and the Black Ops Pass, but a number of other goodies as well.

This includes a stylish Steelbook, a Black Ops 4 branded Pop Socket, 10 patches based upon the in-game specialists, and three Zombies-inspired cards. There’s also a sweet bonus for multiplayer as well as players will get 1,100 Call of Duty points!

Whether you want to get the most out of Black Ops 4 from a physical or in-game standpoint, nothing beats the Pro Edition.

Pre-order Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 at GAME now

DYNAMIC WEATHER BRINGS HUGE CHANGES IN OUR HANDS-ON WITH FORZA HORIZON 4

Seasons are coming to Forza Horizon 4 in a big way. Not only does this alteration mean a more dynamic open-world environment, but also interesting new gameplay possibilities too.

At E3 2018, we had the chance to go hands-on with the game to see how this new system affects everything under the hood, as well as spoke to Dan Greenwald, the Creative Director on Forza Horizon 4 to find out a bit more about the project.

We start our demo in autumn, where we are racing an obscenely fast car through a picturesque British landscape against a bunch of other supercars. Tearing around corners, we fly by accurate recreations of British turn signals and speed signs, emerging victorious and lapping up the atmosphere and the deciduous trees and crisp brown leaves littering our view.

“As always, [Playground games] looked at many different places to base the game and the UK really spoke to them,” says Greenwald. “A lot of that was because of those seasons. The UK has four distinct seasons. In many ways, you can say it’s defined by its seasons.”

In Forza Horizon 4, seasons will be synchronized across the community, revolving on an almost weekly basis. This gives players the chance to experience the seasonal environments as a community. Whether you want to sit and watch a particularly beautiful sunset in summer or chase some sheep down some country lane in spring, the option is there to do it with friends. As well as this, no season will ever be the same as the last, with new challenges and events occurring with subsequent changes.

“Every time winter comes back, it is actually different, because there will be new events, new cars to unlock, new things to do, every time there is a new season,” explains Greenwald. “So, the goal is this is a game that you never jump out of. You can stay in […] and live what we call the Horizon life.”

For the purpose of the demo, we are immediately transported from autumn to winter. It’s here where we think the game really shines. A flashy cutscene plays and suddenly we’re in control a huge 4×4 drifting across frozen lakes between pillowy snowbanks. Snowflakes occasionally land on the screen, before melting and rolling away. It’s immediately clear the handling is drastically different, and not just because of the change in vehicle, but because of the huge change in the conditions of the terrain.

“[The trailer] really shows how seasons change everything in the game,” says Greenwald. “And, by that, we mean obviously the visuals, but we also mean the gameplay. How the cars handle and the things that are discoverable.” He gives the example of a frozen lake that might freeze over in the winter to allow you access to new islands.

Next up in the demo, we’re dropped into a hatchback racing against 5 motorcross bikes on a road winding through the woods. It’s now spring and there are bluebells growing in the grass and a sense that winter is far behind. The bikes criss cross through the trees, stamping down the new foliage and we do some sweet stunts off some ramps, before a rain shower kicks up and starts to fog and bead the windows. The attention to detail is incredible and entirely convincing.

So much so, that when we finish the race and start summer, we’re almost glad of the newfound sunshine. Back in yet another sports car, racing through a rural A-road, we once again command a greater view of our environment with the weather conditions no longer impeding our sight. Passing quaint English villages, we try not to crash, as we observe the smaller, quiet details like a signature red postbox, sitting by the roadside. But just in case we do, Forza Horizon’s trusty rewind device makes a return, letting us correct those happy little accidents.

Before we leave Greenwald, we ask him if he’s had the chance to visit the UK recently, and with a grin, he tell us: “I did just go to the U.K. recently, it was on my birthday, I had the chance to drive some McLarens around in the Cotswolds! So in a sense, I got to live the Horizon life and I will tell you… it was amazing.” Having just experienced it in the demo, we can only agree with him.

Pre-order Forza Horizon 4 at GAME now