Forza Horizon – Review
Follow Genre: Racing, Arcade
Developer: Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: 360

Forza Horizon – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Mix of arcade and realism
Bad: Not a full simulation game like the other Forza titles
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0
(0 votes)
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Forza is commonly known as a realistic simulation game. The previous games have always stood for quality and kept you occupied for hours. this game however is a new twist in the franchise and will revolve around street racing. Will this be a wise choice from Microsoft? Or will this game just be remembered as the little brother Forza used to have? For all the racing fans amongst us, keep in mind that Forza Horizon is an Xbox 360 exclusive.

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Story:

The story in Forza Horizon is a basic one at best but one that fits the game perfectly. You play as a pretty unknown driver that manages to get one of the last spots in the ‘Horizon’ festival in Colorado. This is a racing event for those who want to prove themselves amongst the greatest drivers there are. Your goal is to defeat Darius Flynt, the driver who managed to win the Horizon festival 3 times in a row. Basically it’s a story about an unknown guy climbing the ranks or a ‘student beats the teacher’ kind of thing.

Graphics:

What you’d expect from a racing game is that the cars are very detailed and true to how they are in real life. Forza Horizon pretty much did a perfect job on how the cars look. They look amazing as if you’re actually watching a movie starring loads of cars you could only dream of. The only weird thing about the cars is that even though most cars aren’t made in countries that have their steering wheel on the right side, they for some reason do. A minor mistake in detail which will not bother you. If it does – be sure to demand justice when you get out of your cave.

There has also been a decent detail for damage to the cars – when you crash when driving around you will see damage appear on your car which is sometimes a little mild when crashing into a tree driving top speed with your car. But then again driving around in something that only had 1 wheel left would start to get annoying really fast.

The game situates itself in Colorada – an ideal place for street racing. Again the designers of the game tried to make a Colorada as true to the one in real life. The backgrounds look stunning and the overall details are quite nice. Sometimes the buildings, fences and trees might look a bit simple but I doubt you’ll be watching those when driving around in your car going around 300-400kmph.

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Sound:

As on the previous aspects again Forza Horizon did a good job when it comes to sound aswell. During your free roam and your races you are able to choose from different radio stations that suit your style of music. They are easily switched with the D-Pad but for some reason are very slow responsive when actually switching. A minor glitch but tends to be annoying from time to time. Overall the soundtrack is great, the music gets you pumped up enough to drive even faster and take that extra risk aswell. The game also provides us with the option to turn on/off the MC that goes with the radio station of your choice. I personally like the personal touch of having a ‘real radio experience’, but it’s nice they thought about being able to turn it off when it does not fancy your style.

One thing I regret and again maybe a minor thing for some. Seeing I received the Dutch edition all voices were done in Dutch. When I actually want to play the game in English I have to adjust the setting of my entire console before this is actually possible. A simple menu inside the audio options would have been so much cooler because I can imagine most of you who aren’t native English speakers love to have a racing game in English. Don’t get me wrong the voices were done great in my native language but still it’s something we’re not used to.

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Gameplay:

Forza Horizon drops you in a semi-open world. You can pretty much drive where you want and when you want to. Except for the fences that seem to be unbreakable and the invisible walls around trees and big shrubberies. (Those pesky knights who say ni!) Every road is already open when you are selected for the horizon festival which is great if you want to start practising driving around on different types of road. Every road type will drive differently and ofcourse if you happen to go offroad your car will also respond differently than on a normal asphalt road. Also keep in mind like in the other Forza games the designers made sure that every car drives differently like the cars would in real life.

The game is pretty much a climb to the top kind of game. You start out in the lowest class, which is represented by a color of bracelet. You will need to earn enough points to progress to the next bracelet to get a new set of races you can enter to earn more points and so on. Finishing first in festival events will also mean you will earn more points and more money ofcourse. Each bracelet has it’s own specific rival which will always earn you some extra cash and when you have earned enough points for you next bracelet – he or she will challenge you to a duel which gives you the chance to win their car. The normal festival events are still on the normal road but side roads are blocked off and the roads are cleared of traffic to create a legit racing experience which still stays true to the normal Forza style.

Outside of the normal festival events you will find the ‘illegal street races’, showcases and Horizon outposts which are great to earn some extra money, discount or even new cars but these do not give you any points to receive your next bracelets. Basically these are just for cash, cars and glory!  The street races are still comparable to the normal festival events but they will earn you a lot more money and you will have to race your opponents on streets which aren’t blocked off from other side roads and that still have traffic on them. An extra challenge but that’s what this game is all about – showing your street driving skills. The showcases are inserted to earn you that extra buck, earn some popularity and keep a nifty car in the end if you finish first. Then last but not least we have the Horizon outpost which can be used for ‘quick’ travel if you don’t like to drive around to much. The quick travel fee might be pricey if you are low on cash but you are able to earn yourself a discount (or even 100%) when you complete the events they have in store for you. This basically means break 1 speed limit, do a fotoshoot and do a skilldrive in which you have to earn points by performing tricks.

These ‘tricks’ can be performed outside and inside actual races or events to gain more popularity and when gaining ranks of popularity this goes paired with – yes you know it – some extra money. This pretty much means drifting, reckles driving and so on will earn you more popularity and money. In the end your goal is to become number 1 in the ranking, so making a name for yourself surely fits in that profile.

On the map you will find a central hub with several locations you can visit, like a shop to buy new cars, your personal garage, the location where you need to pick up new bracelets and so on. If you’re a fan of customising your cars you will spend a lot of time in this area of the map. The fun part about the game is that when you create a paint design for a car you can sell it online for ingame currency. Who knows your design might earn you enough money for a few fancy cars.

Forza Horizon will release a hefty amount of DLC – which means more cars for everyone! The sad part however is that the cars cost a decent amount of Microsoft points and these will only be interesting for the real car freaks amongst us. Each monthly release so far came with a free car to download which can be found in the shop in the local hub later. Ingame you also have the choice to buy cars with ‘coins’ these can be purchased with real money, a small point I can’t really appreciate that much, but then again – ‘shut up and take other people’s money’, might be in order here.

All of the above can be enjoyed in multiplayer – sadly no split screen in this game though. I might be old fashioned but I enjoy company when gaming. Personally I spent most of the time playing single player but multiplayer will add another dimension to the game which will be appealing for most players when they completed their story. For those who enjoy challenges when playing ‘offline’ – after each event you will get a challenger which you can beat for a little extra money. A small extra dimension but surely an appreciated one.

Conclusion:

Forza Horizon surely is a game worth getting if you’re a fan of racing games, like arcade games or just want to try out a new genre. An important point that wasn’t really mentioned above is that the game is very accessible for pretty much everyone, be it high or low experience with racing games.

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