Xbox One, PC; Playground Games/Microsoft
This full-throttle trip on iconic British roads is a tourist board’s dream, with perfect weather and no nimbys to spoil the fun. Take time to enjoy the views
The UK is not exactly famous for its wonderful roads, but there are no two-hour traffic jams on the M25 or dispiriting stretches of the North Circular in Forza Horizon 4’s Britain. This is the Britain of romantic comedies, postcards and, one presumes, Brexiteers’ imaginations. It is an idealised, compressed representation of our island comprising the Cotswolds, the Lake District, acres of beautiful woodland, the Highlands, Edinburgh, the east coast and the moors. There’s no urban sprawl, no rubbish suburbs and, perhaps most attractively of all, barely any people. In Forza Britain, instead of toiling in the gig economy to make your extortionate rent, you are gifted a house for helping out with some stunts on a movie shoot.
The game even turns our weather into something beautiful. As the seasons change, so does the climate and the nature of the light, along with the driving conditions. Edinburgh’s New Town shimmers in pale spring sunshine, and in winter the snow in the Highlands sucks all the light out of the sky. The cottages in Ambleside are prettiest in the summer, when the trees are so bracingly green you can almost smell them. If you have a 4K television, this is what it was made for. Now and then, such as the first time I drove past Edinburgh Castle in the perfect twilit blue of a summer night in Scotland, its beauty made me quite emotional.