One of the top automotive game franchises out there these days is Forza Motorsport. It seemingly came out of nowhere to charge to the front of the pack, delivering a wonderful motorsport simulation experience with the mantra to turn car lovers into gamers and gamers into car lovers. for the past few years its been one of the best driving game experiences out there with deep customizability, and attention to detail allowing novice players and experts alike to enjoy it. Forza Horizon marks a departure from that Forza Motorsports series, branching the franchise off into a more accessible emergent open-world driving experience.
They took a group of talented developers with amazing racing game pedigrees, gaven them access to the forza game engine, and loads of resources from Microsoft Studios. After a little time, they came up with this interesting new game. The result is one of the best open-world driving games I’ve ever enjoyed. There have been a number of other games trying to achieve this in the past from Test Drive Unlimited to the Need for Speed series, but for my money, Forza Horizon has them all beat. The game boasts wonderful detail and precision in every aspect with great presentation and manages to stay fresh and fun for hours at a time.
The Horizon Festival makes the perfect backdrop for racers looking to progress through the ranks and become the champion. The festival lends itself not only to the scenery, but even rationalizes a lot of the events and makes everything seem much more natural than it otherwise might. It all seems to come together harmoniously in a cohesive package all set in a fictionalized version of Colorado with more than enough variety to keep your attention.
The graphics in this game are better than I had any right to expect. We’ve seen Forza games on the Xbox 360 before, and they looked good, sure. Forza Horizon seems to take it even further. The game looks superb. The real time day/night cycle is beautiful to watch and once the sun goes down things still manage to feel alive and exciting. Somehow this game even manages to make hot-air balloons floating in the background look exciting - yes you can even see their burners flare up to keep them afloat when its dark out.
I was already a big fan of the Forza series and while this is a definite departure from Forza Motorsports, I found myself enjoying it even more than the other games in the franchise. Most of my time was spent just leisurely driving around the countryside, trying to find stuff or seeing what I could pull off in my car. Sure there were races I could go participate in but Its such a fun game I was able to forget all of that and just enjoy the open road. For that fact alone, I’ve got to give this game a pretty favorable endorsement. It may not be Forza as usual, but if you skip this title, you’ll be missing out.
Forza Horizon was developed by Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios, published by Microsoft Studios, and released across Canada on October 23 2012 for the Xbox 360. Its rated T for Teens.
Celebrate speed, music, and style at the Horizon Festival. Forza Horizon combines legendary Forza authenticity with the freedom of the open road.
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