Just finished off the Forza Horizon 4: Lego Speed Champions Expansion, or at least the main race event progression. Still got a bunch of the block challenges to do, which I think I'll give a shot, but I'm not sure I'll completely finish. I've been trying to keep up 100% achievement completion on this game as they've been releasing more stuff, so I'll have to clear up all that stuff if I plan to do that. Also with the previous expansions to these games, I've included them with my completed games total for the year, but with this game I've decided to stop doing that, so I'm putting my thought here instead.
But anyway, it was pretty fun. It's another pretty substantial addition to the game, as these DLCs tend to be. This one obviously draws pretty close comparisons to FH3's Hot Wheels DLC, as it's another deviation in to an outlandish concept that helps give a sense of fun and creativity to the game. And both being based on toy properties too of course. The new environment is pretty impressive, but feels slightly lacking in some respects. All the Lego everywhere is a lot of fun and makes for some interesting places to explore, given the breadth of stuff they have to draw from. The rendering of the Lego itself is fantastic too. They really nailed the look of those bricks, right down to the tiny imperfections due to the molding process. The NPCs standing around in the world also animate with that stop motion look from the film. Almost everything is to a perfect scale, and the new Lego cars are pretty amusing and drive well. It's full of great little touches.
But that said, not everything is made of Lego, in a way that's sometimes a bit disappointing. There are a lot of wooded areas that just use normal trees, and that seems a bit out of place and odd right next to all the Lego trees in the same areas. The Hot Wheels expansion also had a mix of toyish and realistic props, but that felt more natural, as it felt like a track that a kid might lay out in a garden or something. That's not something generally done with Lego. But on the other hand, the Hot Wheels environment didn't have anywhere near as much variation as this. There's only so much you can do with orange track and a few dinosaurs. While this Lego setting has so many different props from a wide variety of sets that gives different areas more of a unique personality. It also meant this DLC has more areas that were good for drifting, as there are several spots that have a brick-like square grid area, and some places that are a more flat open area where you can mess around as you please. While in Hot Wheels you're basically forced to go in the direction of the track ribbon, without many tight or medium corners good for drifting on. On the other hand those wild tracks looping around in the air and such were more distinct from the main game than this Lego area is. So maybe that gives it more value on that comparison point.
I'm also not quite sure the idea of this Lego DLC is as appropriate as Hot Wheels, and it makes me wonder what this means for the future of these games. Thinking less about the experience of the DLC itself, and more what it represents, Hot Wheels fits the idea of Forza more, and it was a genuine surprise at the time. In comparison, this Lego DLC can't help but come off just a little bit more cynical. It's impossible to really tell what the process behind how these things came to be, but the former seemed like it was a natural fit and a fun, new idea. But then the latter makes it look like they wanted to replicate that and went shopping around for what toy property they could license. And having used what may have been their best option already, they were forced to go with something less natural. And if this is just going to be the future of these games from now on, that makes it feel a bit limiting to creativity. Having to base ideas around what toy they can make a tie-in for, rather than something else they might want to experiment with. The novelty is bound to wear off at some point, and the appearance of it just being a toy ad will come through stronger.
I didn't really want to spend so long on that last point to be honest, but that's what was going through my mind, so there it is. Despite that though I liked this DLC a fair amount, and it's a nice addition to the game. It adds something significantly different and is a nice change of pace from the main game, and is impressively crafted.