Forza Horizon 4 features many a beautiful landscape from the Lake District in the north of England, to the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh. But how realistic really is it?
We went on a road trip to the real world Derwentwater and found some scenes Forza players will find familiar.
Derwentwater in real life
The real world Derwentwater is a popular tourist destination, particularly among cyclists and hikers as well as nature lovers. We pulled in to take a closer look.
It was a cloudy day when we made it to the Derwentwater launches, but even so the hills behind the lake are a familiar sight. Forza fans will appreciate the detail here, right down to the canoes you can hire and the positioning of the trees on the island.
In the game world, there's a lot more grass instead of the cobbles in real life, but generally this is incredibly close to the real-life vista.
During our visit, Ambleside was incredibly busy with traffic, particularly cyclists. There's a one-way system that makes the village very awkward to negotiate by car.
One landmark that jumped out from the game world as being very true to life is Ambleside Church.
This is quite a distinctive church, with unusual openings up towards the steeple and with very dark brickwork that is characteristic of the area. Its official name is St Mary's Church of Ambleside, established in 1854.
Again, the similarities with the game world are many but there are substantial differences here.
The orientation of the church is different in the game. The distinctive steeple and brickwork show that we're definitely looking at an interpretation of the same building.
Real life roads around Ambleside
Overlooking the lake we found some incredible roads. This one reminded me most of the Ambleside Approach speed zone in Forza Horizon 4:
My MX-5 struggled a little with the steepness of the ascent. Once at the summit, we were the only rear-wheel drive car among a range of 4wd enthusiast cars. We were definitely the odd ones out next to the Subaru Impreza WRX, the Golf R32, various Audis, and others.
On the way to Ambleside we found a road called The Struggle, which is a steep and dangerous ascent weaving through the Fells. It's bordered by the typical British dry stone walls included in the game.
In general, the trip to the Ambleside area revealed a lot of accuracies in the game world. Of course, elements have been changed to suit the nature of the game and the limitations of the map size, but we were pleasantly surprised at the level of detail Playground Games included.
We're looking forward to seeing the Forza Horizon 5 map and comparing how that matches up to real-life Mexico!