Review: Forza Horizon
When Forza Horizon was announced people didn’t expect it to be an arcade racing game, think of Horizon as a love child of earlier Need For Speed titles and recent DiRT titles. This may not go down well with fans of the Forza series but it certainly packs a punch. Horizon is based around a festival (called Horizon funnily enough) in Colorado, 70 main events to take place during the festival and there certainly is a lot more stuff to do outside of the main events.
From the outset it’s quite clear that Horizon has concentrated a lot on the soundtrack, artists such as Dizzy Rascal, Avicii and The Lostprophets feature quite heavily bringing the true festival sound straight to your car whilst weaving around the busy streets of Colorado. There are 3 radio stations to choose from while driving, Horizon Bass Arena which concentrates on bass heavy genres such as dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass, Horizon Pulse specifies in indie styled festival favourites and finally we have Horizon Rocks which hands your ears a tasty sound of rock obviously.
Controlling the radio is quite simple, the cars will have a preset station designed to suit the car, for instance jump into a Mustang and you’ll be greeted with Horizon Rocks or take the wheel of a Mitsubishi Evo and feel the bass from Horizon Bass Arena. To change the station simply press left or right on your d-pad, for me the fact the music stays playing while in races really helps me get into the zone of high-paced racing, unlike one of the genres rival franchises (I’m looking at you EA).
The graphics have also taken a step forward, character models have seen an improvement giving them a much more life-like feel that could certainly rival a lot of first-person shooters on the market. Photo mode is a great feature, fans of the series will be accustomed to the function but with some beautiful backdrops it certainly makes Horizon stand tall above the rest. The cars look as realistic as they will ever get during this generation but the customizations is where it really shines.
I used to love customizing my cars in earlier Need for Speed titles but Horizon offers something a little different, cosmetic items are no longer cosmetic, for instance if you want to fit a body kit to your brand new RS 2000 then fine, do it but be warned the weight of the items will actually affect your car’s performance so you need to counteract your cosmetic purchases with performance upgrades to make sure you stay ahead of the rest of the racers.
Forza now offers free-roaming across the city, no Forza game has ever offered this freedom before, it could’ve been boring but by exploring you can find new locations, hunt down cars that need restoring, these are hidden in barns, and run into advert boards to earn discounts at your tuning garage. This makes the game a little more interesting and offers a well-earned break from high adrenalin racing. You can also choose to challenge other racers by simply getting behind them and pressing X.
There are several types of events to get involved in, a majority of these events are sprints and circuits but the real gems are hidden in special events, these events will be offered to you from sponsors and see you race against planes, helicopters and even hot air balloons, you get handed a car to drive and if you win you get to keep the car, not something you’ve seen in any other race franchise.
All in all Forza Horizon may not be the racing simulator that everyone has grown to love however it builds and improves on the arcade racing system with added extras that truly make it a genre defying moment. It’s hard to find anything to dislike about the title and it’s extremely hard to put down, even now as I write my review I sit here wanting to get back on the track to become #1 at the Horizon festival.
Review: Forza Horizon Results
What we liked:
Realistic racing and great open world driving
Plenty of events to keep you entertained
What we disliked:
Sat-nav system often resets for an unknown reason