When it comes to hardcore racing games, there are two big names out there: Forza and Gran Turismo.  Both of them are console exclusives so it’s hard to compare the two, but I find that Forza has the edge.  Now there’s a spin off to the main series, Forza Horizon, I’m thinking it’s the best so far.  Just what is Forza Horizon and why is it so good?


To start with, Forza Horizon is a racing game based around Colorado and it’s an open world racer.  This means that you can drive everywhere on the map, and the festival events aren’t always close together.  The events you can enter are restricted by the colour of the wristband you have.  You can earn a new one when you have enough points and you get points by winning races.  Each wristband has its own famous person to try and beat.  Once you get the next wristband, you’ll be offered a race against them and you get their car if you win.


What makes it great is that it’s Forza.  It’s also done in collaboration with Turn 10 Studios, who make the main series.  This means that it has the same high attention to detail, great racing experience, and realistic physics that fans know and love from the main series.  Whether you’re racing in the events or just cruising around the roads of Colorado, it has the same feel to it that the main games have and it’s just a joy to play.  It hasn’t just stuck to the same formula as past Forza games though, it’s added to it and changed a little too.


One thing that’s been wanted in a Forza game is night racing.  Forza Horizon not only has this but it has night driving too.  As you drive around Colorado the time will change, progressing through day and into night and back into day.  It never gets pitch dark, but it still adds a lot and it makes everything look different somehow.  Running a road during the day is fine, but running the same road at night feels completely different.


And when you get bored of roads you can take your cars off road too.  A lot of the stages are mixed surface, so choosing the right tire for the race is more important than ever.  A race that’s mostly dirt and gravel would be better with lower grade tyres, but a  race that’s mostly on the road will be better with a tyre that has a smoother surface and better on road grip.  As if that’s not enough off road fun, there’s a rally expansion pack coming out in December that will be free to season pass holders, pricing around 1200 or 1600 MS points for those without.  However much it costs, it’ll certainly add a lot of new races and hopefully some new roads too.  I’m hoping that it will include new off road tyres, as that would make off road driving easier.


Talking of difference, there are some changes.  In Forza, you earn bonuses for doing things like getting perfect corners, drafting, and drifting.  In Forza Horizon you don’t have the perfect corner score, but there are a whole lot more, including breaking things and jumping.  The points earned through this will earn you fame.  The more famous you are, the more showcase events you’ll be offered.  These are new and they are great for winning new cars.


Also new is street racing.   Unlike festival events, street races taking place on the roads of Colorado while there’s still traffic on them.  Other racers are more aggressive too, so you have to dodge them, the civilian traffic, and cross the finish line first.  There’s a huge jackpot for the winner so it’s well worth it.  Not only that, but winning all the races at each hub will get you a new car.  I’m not sure how many locations there are for street racing, but each has ten races and you unlock a few at a time as you gain popularity.


Lastly, there’s the music, which is worth mentioning because the Horizon Festival is both for music and cars. In Horizon, there are three stations to choose from.  One for the bass heavy end of the dance spectrum, one for chilled and more relaxed tunes, and one for more rock type stuff.  It’s easy to change between them so you can always listen to your preferred choice.


All in all, this is a great game with a lot of replay, whether it’s the races, beating friends in rivals mode, online racing, or just cruising around Colorado in a nice car for a while.  If you are into racing games, then I highly recommend this.  The demo is only a small part of the whole game, but it has a bit of everything.  Definitely worth checking out if you’re curious or undecided.

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