When it comes to racing games, they can be very hit or miss with racing fans. In the past, there have been some fantastic racing games, like most of the Burnout franchise, Test Drive Unlimited, Forza, and others. There have also been some awful racing games, as well. Often, it can be a matter of preference (arcade vs. sim). I’ve got a few racing games that just sit on my shelf collecting dust. Forza Horizon is the former, not the latter. Forza Horizon, brought to you by Turn 10 and Playground Games, has had me glued to my TV for the past week and a half, and I have no doubt that it will keep me glued for longer still.
Some racing games have stories and plots, but it seems that most of them simply focus on the racing itself. Forza Horizon is one that focuses on the racing. You have a basic goal, which is to beat the champion who has won Horizon for the last couple of years. Take part in races, upgrade your car, and rise to first place at the Horizon festival to get your chance. On top of that, you’ll be able to go online and earn XP, new cars, and money to spend. The gameplay is solid and controls are intuitive and easy to pick up: right trigger for gas, left trigger for the main brake, steering with the left joystick, and a face button acting as the e-brake.
There are many ways to improve your rank, which starts at 250. Drifting, near misses, trading paint with other cars at high-speed, and more will help you move up in the standings. Simply doing tricks helps, but you’ll also be tasked with taking part in races to earn points, which come from point-to-points, racing laps, and even racing helicopters. When you come out on top, you’ll earn points that add up to push you to the next series of events. You start with a yellow wrist band, but as you win races and earn points, you’ll be upgraded to sequential levels, ending with Gold. Think you can get to gold in one sitting? It’s possible, but hard when you keep getting side-tracked with online gameplay. The ability to take a break and free-roam or challenge friends online really enhances the overall experience.
The graphics are absolutely stunning as you make your way through the Colorado landscape. From the starting festival on, you can tell the team spent a lot of time making sure every driveable area was put together beautifully. I’ve had some racing games in the past that require a quick load as you get to other areas of the overall map. Don’t worry about that in Forza Horizon; the entire map is one load area. As detailed as the environments are, the cars are still incredibly eye-catching. On top of the amount of detail that went into the vehicles, the Forza community has gone crazy with vehicle skinning, as you would expect. I do wish the game included a larger soundtrack, since it feels like the tracks recycle quickly. I was still focused on the gameplay, so I didn’t particularly care what song was playing, but it became a little distracting to notice the same song playing again after a short sequence of other songs.
Overall, I’d say this is a game worth checking out. Not a fan of racing games but enjoy just having fun with friends? Well this is the game for you! If your friends are playing this game more than the other games they own there must be something good about it, right? From the brilliant graphics throughout the game as you travel around or as you look at the cars to even the music playing as you drive around you know Turn 10 and Playground Games have done a good job with making racing fans and casual gamers happy.
- Major replay value
- Great online play
- Huge selection of vehicles
- Fun single player experience
- Music seems repetitive
- Larger maps would be welcome
- Pricey season pass
To see where this review score falls in our scoring range, please read our review scale guidelines.
Forza Horizon was provided for review purposes. For more information on Forza Horizon, please visit www.forzamotorsport.net.