Forza Horizon marks a massive turning point
in the Forza franchise. Horizon is the fifth instalment in the series
and shifts the action into the open-world. Up until Horizon the action
was strictly limited to circuit racing. The move to the open world also
sees a complete overhaul in the Forzaís image, with the series arguably
becoming another annual release title.
story focuses on completing in the Horizon Festival, a series of races
that focus on getting a set number of points from races to earn
different armbands. With each new armband allowing access to the next
group of races, with the next tier races allowing higher level cars to
be used. These races occur on closed roads with supporters looking on
from behind the barriers. This is where the main story takes place and
each stage of races features its own obnoxious rival to defeat. The
term story is used loosely, but there is enough there for a game where
the cars are the stars, money is no issue in Horizon so there is plenty
to spend on crazy cars with wild upgrades.
with the festival races there are also illegal street races and also
promotional events. Illegal street prices are more or less the same as
the festival races but with traffic as an added obstacle. The promo
events are something completely different. One of these promotional
events involves racing against a plane. These are fantastic. They
create a completely unique vibe for Horizon. These races are unlocked
through completing driving stunts that make you more popular. The whole
feel of Horizon is completely unique and is highly enjoyable.
Driving physics is really what the franchise is known for. I was
concerned that the physics would be watered down to accommodate the open
world setting. My fears were swiftly removed when I was able to
customise the difficulty in a similar manner to previous installations.
There is still a monetary bonus for turning off aids and increasing
opponent difficulty. The only watering down is that now there are no
options to change the car settings, such as spring rate or gear ratios.
This does fit in with the feel of the game, this was only rarely missed
when certain car niggles would cause problems. The car customisation is
still up there with the best, the option to swap aspirations and engines
is still present for those so inclined.
to be expected, the game looks stunning. The open world, although
sometimes feeling a bit lifeless, looks great. The draw distance is
excellent for a 360 release and with the roads feeling almost endless
creates a map that feels expansive. There is an option to fast travel
to certain locations but sometimes the fun is in the journey. The car
models look great too, and this was the only game that I have driven
around in third-person, just because it all looked so picturesque.
There are some cars driving around that canít be bought, as there are in
some races too. It can be frustrating being beaten by a car that you
canít buy for yourself.
cars in Forza sound fantastic. The cars all sound great, with the
Ferraris giving their distinct whine or the classic V8 groan. The cars
all sound distinct and this makes the ope world all the more enjoyable.
The music is also a standout; there are three radio stations on offer.
There is a rock station, dub step/dance music and also a pop/dance
station. The stations also feature interviews with the rival drivers.
The station seems much focused on a new driver to the Horizon festival
though, as do the rival drivers.
is a lot of races here overall, most of these are festival races with a
few of the others also available. You can also challenge other drivers
cruising the world that can be challenged. There are signs that can be
smashed to earn a discount on parts and PR stunts to discount fast
travelling. Overall there is a lot to do here and it all feels much
less repetitive than circuit racing. On the higher difficulty the
opponents are also ruthless and without the optimum car you have a very
tough time winning. There are also online races that can net bonus cars
Initially I was very sceptical about Forza Horizon, but was pleasantly
surprised once I started driving and entering races. They have managed
to keep Forzaís strengths while transplanting this into an open world
setting. Only the hardcore will have issues with not being able to
adjust the camber and spring rate of your cars, but the rest of the game
truly makes up for it. There is also less cars than Forza 4, but the
cars that should be there, generally are. Horizon is possibly one of
the best open world racers available.