Forza Horizon

9 Overall Score
Graphics: 10/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Replay: 9/10

Great for racing fans I Fun multiplayer modes I Gorgeous

Limited Damage I Multiplayer Lag

Written by on October 25, 2012 in [, , , , , , , ]

When faced with the idea of Forza Horizon, it seemed a little intimidating at first. Having a game like Forza and putting it into an open world seems like a natural progression of the series, but I was a worried that the racing would take a back seat to theatrics, like the Burnout series. At the same time I was worried that the fun of having an open world to drive through would be lost on a realistic simulation.

Once I got behind the wheel, all of those fears melted away.

The game starts you behind the wheel of a Viper on its way to the Horizon Festival, a racing event set in the gorgeous wilderness of Colorado. Immediately, you get a feel for what is in store and once you get past what is essentially an interactive cut scene, we meet our real protagonist. Armed with a Volkswagen and a pretty face, you enter the Horizon Festival as a literal no name and if you play your cards right, you (figuratively) leave as a legend.

The main campaign pits you in different events scattered through the map. Winning each event will win you Credits that you use to buy upgrades and points that you use to progress through different skill levels denoted with different colored wrist bands. Like Burnout Paradise, the game is completely open world. Unlike Paradise; however, Horizon gets you around the world easily without having to memorize the map.

In what has proven to be my favorite use of the Kinect voice command capabilities in any game, you are given a GPS to locate the areas that you need to get to. You only have to tell the GPS that you want to go to the next event and it will automatically tell you how to get there with turn-based instructions similar to how a real GPS works. The GPS can also direct you to other locations such as the garage, but the convenience factor of always being able to find where you need to go next cannot be over stated. It is entirely possible to use this GPS by manually going into the map and marking a waypoint, so Kinect isn’t necessary, however I would absolutely use Kinect above the manual option.

The best thing about Horizon is that you are never far from a race. Other than the main racing events that get harder as you progress, you can challenge racers you meet on the Colorado roads, participate in illegal high-stakes street races, or you can participate in PR stunts as you gain popularity.

Popularity is measured by your racing style and not necessarily wins. Burying your speedometer’s needle, driving on two wheels, making huge jumps, and crazy drifts can make you more popular to afford you entry into these PR stunts. If you win the PR races, which can range from racing a specific model car or even against non-cars you win the vehicle you raced in. Other than PR stunts, you can increase the contents of your garage by challenging a star racer to a one on one race, playing online, buying them with in-game credits or as DLC (of course). You can even be gifted cars by the Forza Community Team.

The only multiplayer in the game is online so split screen is not available, unfortunately. When racing online there was a lot of lagging and strange unexplainable instances of cars flying and doing other insane uncarlike things. This limits the appeal of racing online, however the real star of the multiplayer are the Playground games.

The Playground game types are completely out of left field, yet are satisfying and surprising additions to the world of Forza. In these games, you are meant to crash into each other for various reasons. In “ Cat and Mouse,” each team has a mouse racing to the finish line while the leftover cars are cats who try and stop them at all costs. “Infection” is a vehicular take on the zombie mode where you have to survive an outbreak by not allowing the infected cars to crash into you. My favorite of the bunch is “King,” in which you have to try to crash into the king to take his crown and you attempt to avoid losing it. The games are fun, varied, and are gleeful distractions from the more serious side of Forza.

The gameplay itself is the familiar Forza brand of racing. The realistic physics combined with the different car types and customization is the same as you have seen in the previous entries in the series. Also the same is the customizable difficulty that will hold your hand through each race by braking and turning for you at the easiest, to making it more difficult by removing the automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes and power steering.

The cars are definitely the stars of the show in the single player campaign as each vehicle is treated with reverence and respect by the characters. You will find yourself appreciating the individual personalities of the cars and how they feel as you drive.

Simply put, Forza Horizon feels like a “Greatest Hits” compilation of racing games with just enough new concepts to keep me playing it time and again.

A copy of Forza Horizon was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of this review.


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Author: Wallace Phelps View all posts by

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