Xbox 360 Review: Forza Horizon

Is something good on the horizon?

The Forza series seems to get better and better with each new game, Forza 4 was critically acclaimed and definitely took the crown as the best racing simulation out there, leaving Gran Turismo in the rain. Can this open-world version be a good step for the series?

It’s clear that Horizon is more of a spin-off than just Forza 5, the tracks are gone and instead you are driving through the roads of Colorado. You’ll compete in events to gain wristbands, which will unlock more events and so on. There’s a big focus on online, even during the single player races as you’ll see ghosts of your online friends during races, making the challenge more personal as you try and beat them as well as win the race.

The different styles of events really do mix things up, some will pit you against a plane to see who’s fastest and others will put you through the streets with plenty of traffic and obstacles in your path. There are also a number of co-op objectives for a group to do, not to mention multiplayer modes like Infection which are still as fun as ever. Horizon does seem to feel a bit arcade-ish compared to its predecessor, but it’s still a solid experience from start to finish.

There are also a number of collectables scattered around the open world, including billboards for upgrades and discounts, as well as barns with hidden cars. There are simply tons of things to do in Forza Horizon, plus it will be fully supported with new content over the coming months. You can still fine-tune your cars and customise them to your liking, but the process isn’t quite as deep as Forza 4. The rewind feature does make the game incredibly easy and the game isn’t that difficult, even with assists turned off, so it lacks the challenge of the last game…and yet, Horizon is a compelling racer full of content.

It may lack depth compared to the last Forza, but Horizon does everything extremely well. The cars handle wonderfully, though damage to cars is a little curious…like crashing into another car on the highway won’t wreck your vehicle, you’ll just bounce off it and carry on, plus you can always rewind if you spin out of control. A day and night cycle has been added, but there are no tough conditions to endure like rain or snow, which is odd considering the game is set in Colorado…

The music in the game is a nice mixture of festival tunes and the voice-acting is pretty good. In terms of visuals, Forza Horizon looks as stunning as the last game, Colorado looks great and the cars are a joy to look at. The framerate is constant and the load times aren’t too long, it’s one nice looking package.

The Verdict

While it may not add much new to the formula, Forza Horizon is one hell of a racer. It has tons of events and challenges, as well as upgrading cars and finding collectables, not to mention all the multiplayer modes and ghosts to beat. It may not be Forza 5, but it’s damn good nonetheless.