Horizon: Forza’s younger, party-going and less pedantic brother.
When NFS made Shift and Shift 2, which were respectively great titles, they obviously didn’t realise Forza and Grant Turismo had the simulator style nailed down. Upon playing one of the Shift’s I always felt as if something was missing or rather NFS was not suited to the simulator genre.
Thus, Forza, a simulator, shouldn’t be able to pull off arcade-styled driving and as it turns out it doesn’t. Before any Forza fanatics lose their cool and lynch me allow me to explain.
The Forza series is the best simulator driving set of titles on Xbox and in some cases has even been used to train drivers for certain tracks. So, when Microsoft announced that the next Forza would be an open world, arcade-styled title I immediately had my doubts. Unfortunately the aforementioned doubts came to fruition. There is no one single large problem but rather many tiny ones.
However, this is still a Forza title and the developers are renowned for their attention to detail. The graphics for instance are superior over the recent NFS Most Wanted title. The grade of quality is undoubtedly tremendous and will have you ogling for many hours.
In addition the soundtrack is equally awesome and features: Mord Fustang, Arctic Monkeys, Avicii, Feed Me and many more. This coupled with a party themed atmosphere makes for an exciting experience.
On top of that you have the utter pleasure of selecting your favourite car and if your favourite isn’t on the roster yet then don’t worry as their will be DLC packs that will eventually incorporate it. Once you have acquired your dream vehicle then simply head over to the garage and modify it to your heart’s content.
That being said this is where I start to encounter those niggling issues. If you switch off every driver aid and set everything to simulator it just isn’t as realistic as Forza 4, which is understandable due to it being the open road with traffic. For example: overcorrecting a power slide does not occur as easily and the game makes even the hardest setting seem a watered down version of the actual thing. I want to be on the edge of losing the back end and thus have no one else to blame but myself when I wreck my car, instead Horizon keeps me looking good. It is like winning a 100m sprint but everyone else’s laces were tied, a technical win but not an exhibition of your skill or lack thereof.
Then there is the storyline which is like any other racing storyline: start from the bottom, work your way up, meet the girl organising the races, win races and the girl, race the top guy and be the new champion…all very exciting if you have never played any of NFS titles.
Forza Horizon is a fantastic title, there is no doubt that if NFS didn’t exist Horizon would be utterly perfect. Unfortunately for Forza it does and so Horizon is just another spin-off of a franchise that has a thoroughbred lineage. As Shift was just behind GT and Forza in terms of simulation so is Horizon behind NFS in terms of arcade.
If you are an arcade-style racer fan then it might be best that you go for NFS Most Wanted but if you are a Forza fan then there is no substitute. If you like having two epic arcade-style racers then get them both, you won’t regret it.
Forza Horizon Rating: 7/10
Check out the Forza Horizon website: Forza Horizon