Regular readers of Xbox Enthusiast will know of my love affair with the Forza series. As far as I’m concerned, it is the best racing franchise on any platform. While my personal preference is for the Motorsport flavour of the series I still think the Horizon games are amazing. What’s more, the Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 3 is one of my favourite DLC packs of all time. Safe to say that when Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions was announced during the Xbox E3 briefing, I was very excited. It wasn’t just me, though. I showed the trailer to my 7-year-old (LEGO mad) son and he went crazy about it. Well, Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions is now out and while it is good, I think it is also a missed opportunity. Let me explain.
Is everything awesome?
First of all, let’s talk about what’s good about Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions. With this being Forza Horizon 4, the driving and visuals are fantastic. There are also some great areas in the new ‘LEGO valley’. The Falcon Speedway circuit and Brickchester being particular highlights. All of the LEGO items are brilliantly modelled and constructed. I absolutely love that your character turns into a LEGO Minifigure when driving one of the LEGO cars. The map is also nicely divided into memorable sections. There is loads to do with numerous races, championships, and PR stunts. I also have to give it up to the team for including a nice reference to The LEGO Movie. There’s a new radio station called Radio Awesome that just plays Everything is Awesome on a continuous loop.
We’re gonna need more bricks
The big issue with this expansion, though, is that it just isn’t LEGO enough! There is too much in the game that is just like normal Forza Horizon 4. For example, there are LEGO trees in the game but there are far more normal trees. Why couldn’t they all be made of LEGO? Brickchester has LEGO roads. Why doesn’t the rest of the map have LEGO roads? I doubt it was down to laziness on the part of the developer. The team at Playground games don’t come across as the type of people who don’t give 100%. Did they have to rush it out? That seems crazy as there’s no Forza title coming later this year and they could have launched this in its place. Perhaps they couldn’t get the right feel with LEGO everywhere. It just seems a shame, though, as it could have really set it apart.
Another thing that forces the lack of ‘LEGO-ness’ in your face is the cars. There are only three LEGO vehicles. These are brilliantly designed and look top notch but there are only three of them. Numerous brick challenges require you to drive vehicles other than the LEGO ones. Nearly all of the cars that you will drive past and race against are standard vehicles. I understand that it takes quite a bit of work to create in-game models of these cars but it needed more. There are loads of LEGO Speed Champions sets to base them on. For instance, there are LEGO versions of the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari 458 Italia. The normal versions of these vehicles are already featured in Forza Horizon 4. They could easily have taken the sounds, handling, and performance stats from these cars and just created a LEGO model for them.
Build it up
Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions is a good expansion but it is also a real missed opportunity. It just feels as though they’ve only put one foot in the LEGO aesthetic. This worked fine for the Hot Wheels expansion of Forza Horizon 3. It didn’t feel out of place there because Hot Wheels do create models that look like real cars. LEGO is a bit different. They have nearly all the objects and vehicles that are already in Forza Horizon 4 but they look very different. Robert Downey Jr famously says in Tropic Thunder that “you never go full retard”. Well, in this case, Playground Games should have gone full LEGO.
What did you think of Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions? Do feel it went far enough with the LEGO aesthetic? How do you feel it stacks up against the Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 3? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.