Playground Games delivered a little holiday treat for Forza Horizon 4 fans in the form of the Series 17 update and with it a brand new game mode that wasn't exactly expected but adds something new to the mix.
The Eliminator is essentially Forza Horizon's take on a battle royale, with 72 players entering the arena and only one emerging victorious. It's hardly 'combat,' but your objective is to either avoid your opponents or simply take them out of the game.
It's a very different take on multiplayer in Forza Horizon 4, and if you've been away for a while, it's undoubtedly worth jumping back in to check it out. I have one main concern, but for the most part, it's a lot of fun to play.
Battle royale like no other
The general principles of traditional battle royale games are found within The Elimination. You get to choose where you start, there are loot drops (in this case, better cars) strewn across the map, and there's an ever-shrinking circle that you have to stay inside. And like traditional battle royale games, your opponents can 'kill' you, and you're out of the game.
The formula is familiar, as in some ways are the tactics you'll need to deploy to be successful. If you're stuck in the lowly Mini Cooper, you'll be wanting to avoid getting challenged by someone in a Porsche, for example. The PUBG equivalent would be trying to take out an opponent with a level 3 helmet and an M416 with just a crossbow.
So, just like every battle royale game, there are tactics involved. You need to keep your eyes peeled for car drops to keep improving your ride if you're going to be able to win challenges.
That's the other tactical side to Eliminator. You can either try your best to hide to avoid confrontation (a good tactic if you're in a slow car), or you can challenge other drivers to races within the arena. The winner stays in, and the loser is out. And of course, you've got to keep inside the giant, ever-shrinking circle while you're at it.
In essence, Eliminator combines a battle royale with a free-roam rush, with each point-to-point race vital to secure the W by any means necessary. But with 71 opponents, there's no shortage of potential challenges, all with the same goal of reaching the final batch of cars and emerging as the winner.
Matchmaking will make or break it
So here's my main concern with The Eliminator: Matchmaking. Getting into multiplayer games in Forza Horizon 4 can still take quite a wait, and that's with much-reduced numbers. And even with the early surge of players jumping into the new mode, I've still been waiting what feels like long enough to get bored and quit out.
Playground Games obviously has access to data that we do not. Still, the multiplayer experience as a whole has been my least favorite part of Forza Horizon 4 ever since it launched. Much work has been done since the early days, and it is better now, but here we're talking about getting 72 players into the same game. Or rather, if it can fill up with 72 players; the last game I played had just over 50.
And, in the long term, that worries me a little. Hopefully, it's all going to be okay, but one easy way for folks to get bored is to leave them sat waiting in lobbies and not getting games, or dropping into a game that's only half populated.
Good time to come back to Forza Horizon 4
The Eliminator is a solid addition to Forza Horizon 4, and if it's been a minute since you've played, then it's worth coming back for. It has its own progression system and achievements, and by just completing one round, even if you don't do that well, you'll be rewarded with the legendary Toyota Supra.
Achievement hunters will find plenty of reason to play The Eliminator as well, with some relatively easy to tick off, others will be much more of a challenge. In any case, if getting Gamerscore is your jam, there's plenty to do.
It's also positive to see fresh content still rolling along every month. The first year of Forza Horizon 4 was pretty big, with monthly updates joined by two big DLC packs. In lieu of there being no further expansions confirmed, players will be looking to new modes like The Eliminator throughout year two, just so long as the player count stays up.
King of the ring
Still the king of open-world racers
If you still haven't dropped into Forza Horizon 4 yet, it's never a bad time. With regular updates like The Eliminator, this big open world always has something to entertain.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine