Despite my license plate in Forza Horizon 4 proudly labeling myself as "DRFTQU3N," I am really anything but. I suck at drifting. And yet here I was, on a steep incline of Fortune Island, drifting my way up and down a hill over and over again as other players who were much better drivers than me passed me by. At one point, I counted ten other Ferraris on the same stretch of turns trying to beat this particular challenge, because we knew that in the end, it would result in the location of a nearby treasure chest. Cha-ching.
This is the biggest new thing in Forza Horizon 4's first major expansion, Fortune Island. The DLC plops you onto a new location where, well, fortune awaits. Most of the treasure lies in chests scattered across the island, which you find through completing riddles, getting a photo of the chest's location afterwards, and then crashing through it. Riddles are never too hard to figure out, and result in using a specific car to complete a challenge. Your reward for successfully solving riddles and finding chests is always steep too: one million credits. There are ten in total stretched across Fortune Island, making them the most popular challenge players are racing toward because they're shiny and new.
As a result, Fortune Island has a weird flow. It felt like everyone on my server was chasing the same goal, so most areas I'd head to for riddles would be popping off with other players. The riddles, meanwhile, are pretty straight forward; the aforementioned one bids you to drift around the Needle Climb—which is easy to assume is the big mountain in the distance—with an "Italian four-five-eight." I scoped my Italian car brands, and stumbled upon just what I needed: a Ferrari 458.
Then here we were, myself and about a dozen other Ferraris (and a limousine, for some reason), drifting up this long twisty-turny stretch of road. With slick racer gloves on the wheel, I screeched around the tight turns of the Needle Climb, sometimes spinning out into the grass and failing, where I had to roll back to the start again to retry the drift challenge. It took me awhile to overcome it, as I am no drift queen nor "Count Driftula" as other characters call me, but the rest of Fortune Island's mysteries were mostly no problem at all. Rich as hell and hungry for action, I drove across the island aimlessly, hopping into races as I saw fit.
This is where the disappointment settles in though: Fortune Island just isn't that interesting of a location. It favors off-roading more than anything else, which is customary for an island with a scary mountain and a lot of mud and dirt roads. It may trick you into thinking it's exciting from the first time you wash ashore, in an opening sequence reminiscent of the main game's opening. In a lumbering Dodge RAM, you barrel through the rainy island with your annoying friends barking in your ear about Horizon's ongoing Island Conquerer races while lightning strikes in the distance, sometimes knocking down giant trees. Soon, the Northern Lights light up the sky, making for a beautiful view as you propel your Dodge RAM off a cliff. And then the sun rises, and all you see is dirt and rubble. But at night, it's beautiful.
Fortune Island feels surprisingly small, despite being touted as the biggest Forza expansion yet. Along my travels I made the usual pit stops at Beauty Spots, where I could admire my customized character doing a stupid dance stationary, and the occasional race. At one point, I cranked up the classical music radio station as Claude Debussy's "Clair De Lune" was playing and drove straight off a cliff, wondering if I'd be able to skirt a lower cliffside just to see something different, but instead it faded to black and I was plopped back on the road where I belonged. Bummer.
The Fortune Island expansion is one of those no frills DLCs. It's more of the game, with a new locale to boot. If you exhausted all that Great Britain had to offer, luckily there's now this remote island a racing-rave festival has decided to uproot and call home for dozens of Ferrari drifters. As for me, I found myself a little homesick; I missed the green pastures of condensed Great Britain. Where I could near-miss some deer here, I missed dispersing flocks of sheep when I decided to smash through a fence. Fortune Island's silhouette may be striking, and at night its teal-streaked skies might be a sight to behold, but otherwise the landscapes are dull and semi-familiar. You find yourself missing the more varied environments of the mainland.
I can see myself returning to Fortune Island when spring passes and summer settles in, as per the weekly seasons; winter, in particular, might make Fortune Island a lot more interesting, offering snow beyond the drizzles of it at the highest peak. But for now, I've solved the majority of its riddles and I've seen most of what it has to offer. I'm good.