E3 2012: Forza Horizon Hands-On


So there are new things on the Horizon for the Forza series. This time around they’re changing things up and making an open world game. It’s also been handed off to a new developer for this entry, Playground Games. This has understandably caused some trepidation amongst fans of the series. So should you be worried?

Be assured, you should not. One thing that must be stressed here is, this is NOT a switch to an arcade racer. In fact, it’s not built from the ground up. Forza Horizon uses the same racing engine from Forza 4. Not only that, but all the things that make Forza 4 a great game have been wholly ported over. So the cars drive just as realistically, you can customize as much as before, and you can trade sell and buy as always. So what’s changed?

Well, really what Forza Horizon does is add to the formula. Instead of being entirely menu based, you now have and open world to explore. Much like other open world racers, as you got from place to place you can discover new events and races. Instead of progressing linearly through a season, you can free roam and race when and where you choose. Or if you prefer just roam about in your badass car. One other change, since this is an open world, is that some races now feature oncoming traffic. Whether you feel this is a frustration or a challenge will likely depend on how you like your racers. Personally, I didn’t find it an issue.

I managed to do a full race and acquitted myself well. The game felt familiar and the racing felt right. It felt like Forza, as it should be. The rewind feature is there if you need it, and the cockpit view was beautiful and very detailed. If you’re a fan of the other Forza titles, Horizon is a departure, but the core gameplay that you enjoy is all still there. So you likely should give it a shot. If you’ve been holding out on Forza for a more arcadey title, this isn’t for you. However, if you want a racing sim with loads of customizability and an open world, Forza is pretty much your best bet.

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