Surprise-announced during Microsoft’s E3 briefing last week, Forza Horizon 4 has just received a very playful new expansion: LEGO Speed Champions.
Taking place on a new map that’s brought to life by big, bold colourful bricks, the new DLC adds dozens of new races, challenges, rewards, and a nine-event story campaign. For the price of £16.99 (or included in the season pass), the LEGO Speed Champions DLC adds a hell of a lot to Forza Horizon 4. And, especially if you’re a fan of LEGO, it’s well worth the asking price.
Following Forza Horizon 3‘s Hot Wheels expansion, it was to be expected that developer Playground Games would want to add something a little more outlandish to its game. And LEGO Speed Champions does just that. Rather than introducing a myriad of crazy loop-the-loops and plastic tracks that came with the Hot Wheels expansion, though, this LEGO expansion takes the familiar roads of Forza Horizon and dumps a bucketload of bricks onto them. Some areas of track are made out of the familiar bumpy surface of a LEGO baseboard, but for the most part, you’ll be driving on regular roads, adorned with LEGO houses, LEGO fences, LEGO trees and LEGO animals at either side.
Of course, you get a selection of LEGO Speed Champions cars to drive around, too. It’s a shame there are only three of these in the game currently, but they’re all based on current real-world LEGO Speed Champions sets: the Ferrari F40, a 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally, and a McLaren Senna. They’re each beautifully recreated; made of the exact same brick placement as the actual models. Even the stickers on the models look like stickers in-game. The attention to detail is phenomenal.
Beautiful, too, is the map of the new LEGO Speed Champions island. The map itself is a micro-recreation of the world, made entirely out of LEGO. It’s a shame, then, when you zoom in and join the actual LEGO Speed Champions island, that not everything is made out of the plastic bricks. There are plenty of them, sure, but instead it’s more like various LEGO elements have been stuck on a standard map. After driving through LEGO trees, you’ll hit realistic trees, for example, with realistic grass and realistic roads making up the majority. It isn’t a dealbreaker, but to see a world completely made out of LEGO would have been truly something special.
As a fan of the bricks in real life, one of my favourite parts of Forza Horizon 4‘s LEGO Speed Champions DLC has been seeing various LEGO models recreated in the game. When you start up the expansion, you can see the LEGO Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel and Carousel taking pride of place in the festival – all sets that can be bought and built in real life. And as you drive around you’ll spot other real sets, too: houses, log cabins, spacecraft, pirate ships. The highlight is Brickchester, the main “city” of LEGO Speed Champions‘ map, which is constructed from real modular LEGO sets. There’s the Bank, the Pet Shop, Assembly Square and Corner Café among others. Each is a delight to see, but it left me wanting more. The same sets are used numerous times to create an expansive, although repetitive, town centre. There are absolutely hundreds of sets that could have been included in the DLC, so the selection used felt rather limited.
As for the gameplay itself; well, it’s Forza Horizon 4, so driving and racing is as flawless as ever. The three LEGO cars included are all a pleasure to drive, and when tuned up and turned to four-wheel drive, offer some of the best cars in the game. You don’t have to use the LEGO cars if you’d rather not; any vehicles in your garage can be used to complete the majority of events. Likewise, you can take your LEGO cars out for a spin in Forza Horizon 4‘s Great Britain if you wish to.
There’s a hell of a lot of new content added in the LEGO Speed Champions DLC; so much so that it feels like a fully-fledged racing game all of its own. As you play, you’ll still earn standard Forza skillpoints and credits, but you’ll also be rewarded with bricks, which act as your main progression through the DLC. As you earn bricks, you’ll unlock new extensions to your LEGO home – as well as unlocking all three LEGO cars. By the time you’ve done, you’ll have completed over 200 challenges, put a good 20+ hours into the game, and have a LEGO house that even Dr. Frankenstein would be envious of.
Forza Horizon 4: LEGO Speed Champions doesn’t do anything wrong. Everything that’s there is absolutely stellar; it just leaves you wanting more. More LEGO and more cars. But even with what is there, LEGO Speed Champions is one of my favourite LEGO video game experiences ever, and makes Forza Horizon 4 even more fun than it was before. Even when you’re getting pipped to the finish line at the very last second, it’s the type of game that you can’t help but play with a silly grin permanently glued to your face. If you’re a fan of LEGO, Forza Horizon 4: LEGO Speed Champions is an absolute no-brainer. And even if not, it’s a very fun and colourful way to eke even more joy out of the best arcade racing game of this generation.