Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Available For: Xbox 360
Developer: Turn 10
Age: 3 (PEGI)
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Forza 4 is long over the horizon, and Forza's latest offering has raced into sight. Taking a massively different route to previous games in the series, Forza Horizon hurtles towards the more arcade style of racer.
That doesn't mean there are ridiculous nitrous oxide boosts, Ben-Hur style spiked wheels, or stupid car jumping hydraulics. The mechanics and the call for precision handling is as prominent as ever, but the drive-anywhere-do-anything attitude of proceedings is enough to subtly take the simulator edge off. It's Forza - but not as we know it.
Set during the Horizon Festival, a music and motor festival taking place in Colorado, USA, the game’s open map spans miles of road with races of variable rules and difficulty. There are rally races, drift races, point-to-points, eliminations, and more. Some races even use a mixture.
Players climb to fame by winning races and driving skilfully, and as progress is made, new wristbands are rewarded providing access to more prestigious races.
Forza has always been famed for its incredible wealth of cars and the customisation available for each - it's no change here. Different cars are needed to cope with the many different terrains available. Players can use the auto-tune option for a quick and easy upgrade, but those who don't mind getting dirty under the bonnet can tweak each and every part to suit their need perfectly.
The usual Forza racing lines are back to provide intuitive and accurate guidance around the course. The veteran driver can turn them off to earn more cash, as can be done with any of the assists. The harder the difficulty, the greater the reward.
Colorado’s envisioning is simply stunning. The lighting effects are breathtaking as day turns to night and then back again. I find myself constantly fighting the urge to pull up on the side of a cliff and take in the amazing sunset. Driving by obliviously would be criminal.
But the visual excellence doesn't end there. Whether looking at the surface of the road, the reflections on the car, or even the trees and shrubbery in the distance - everything is pleasurable on the eye. There really is no racer that looks quite as amazing as this.
Multiplayer is seamless, with all kinds of options available. Courses can be chosen, race modes set, and restrictions put in place.
Forza Horizon has it all. There's the mechanics of one of the best racing series of all time, shifted seamlessly into a sub-genre with beauty, excitement and panache. It may not be as long as other Forza games, but it's a welcome breath of fresh air.
Horizon is the best arcade racer in years - perhaps even ever.
SCORE: 9 / 10
PROS: Beautiful, exciting, vast, varying and comprehensive - it's the full package.
CONS: It's not as long as other Forza games - it's still pretty huge though.