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Forza Horizon 360 Review - -
Forza Horizon
Reviewed by
Ash Pinch
Forza Horizon 360 Review. 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.

Gameplay 9.7
Graphics 9.5
Sound 9.5
Value 9.0
Rating: PG
Review Date: Nov 2012
Ash Pinch


Forza Horizon

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.

The 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.

Along 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.

As is 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.

The 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. 

There 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 and cash.

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. 


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