Review By: Colby A. Martin (@Goblowsoup)
Developed By: Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios
Published By: Microsoft
Every now and then a racing game catches mainstream attention, and usually those games are original and exciting. As I’ve written before most simulation racers are boring, lack identity, and fail to give a purpose when you race. Forza Horizon does everything it can to make up for those faults while keeping its simulation roots.
In Forza Horizon you start out as a no-named young buck trying to make his way into the Horizon Festival. Luckily they don’t bore you with the details up front since they throw you straight into a race that leads you straight into the festival. Here you are welcomed and take a look at your new car, which trust me, you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as you can or at least upgrade it.
From here you can cruise about Colorado looking for barn finds, racing random festival opponents, going to other events, or just driving like a maniac hitting speed traps and doing wicked power slide. Also enjoy looking for upgrade signs and doing PR stunts for Fast Travel discounts. Because you can do all of these, the open-world allows it, and you’ll always have something to keep you busy.
Luckily the music options are good as well, however they do tend to repeat themselves a lot and you’ll easily get annoyed if you don’t like dubstep. From Skrillex to Neon Trees the options are a plenty, but luckily the music seems to go with the game and keeps you immersed in the action.
Forza Horizon stays tight with its roots while adding an arcade style to it. Each car handles differently and the same physics as Forza 4 are in the game. There’s two methods of racing too, you can alter it for the hardcore racer or make it for the beginner. Between the Simulation and Normal steering modes, anyone can handle an overpowered race car. Other options like Traction Control, Racing Line, Break Assist, and opponent difficulty allows you to adjust the game to your liking.
One gripe I have about Forza Horizon is the inability to tune your car. While I understand that they surely removed this so that the average race fan wouldn’t have to deal with tuning their cars, it would have been a nice feature for someone who really wanted to race at a more hardcore level.
Forza Horizon looks to have some long-term stay, however with the slew of racing games coming out this Holiday Season it might be tough. Monthly Rivals, Leader board Rivals, and the ability to tune, upgrade, and complete challenges gives you plenty to do. Add this to a deep multiplayer that has races, free roam challenges, infected, cat and mouse, and king modes, Forza Horizon gives you enough to keep busy.
Unfortunately most of the races in Forza Horizon will seem fairly easy on normal if you’re a seasoned racer and the jump to Hard or Insane should be enough of a challenge for you. Once you’ve raced everything on Insane though, you’ll run out of things to do. Hopefully the coming DLC packs will keep you occupied.
A lot of people are saying Forza Horizon is beautiful, and that it is, but it isn’t the prettiest environment I’ve seen in a racing game. Most of the graphics seem to have a bit of a filter on them creating a blur. This was probably done to keep the environment smooth while going 180 mph down the highway.
Cars are extremely detailed, and the option to look around the inside of the car is still there, but the detail isn’t as good as it was in Forza 4. Again, little details for car enthusiast are missing, but the overall package is solid.
Overall though, Forza Horizon stands out in every aspect. From the graphics, the gameplay, and the sound. Everything is done wonderfully and exciting. Forza Horizon is one of the standout titles of 2012. Even if you aren’t a fan of racing games, you’ll find quality entertainment in it. I should point out that leveling is fairly quick, as is earning credits, however I think this is a good idea for an arcade racer since it tries to keep non-gamers interested. With all of this in mind, I suggest you go out and buy Forza Horizon as it is an early favorite of my Holiday Must-Buy’s. Forza Horizon gets a 9.5 out of 10 (Excellent).