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Forza Horizon Review: It’s A Party, It’s A Race, And It’s A Fantastic Time!

Forza Horizon Review: It’s A Party, It’s A Race, And It’s A Fantastic Time!


Forza Horizon Review: It’s A Party, It’s A Race, And It’s A Fantastic Time!

Forza Horizon
Playing On: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft
Game Type: Racing

Forza Horizon takes the Forza series in a new direction with an open world to explore and the opportunity to be the top racer at the Horizon Festival. Forza Horizon stays true to the same driving experience that you had in the previous Forza titles, but the racing and your surroundings are completely new. No longer are you tied to a race track for now you have the open Colorado roads as your new racing grounds. What you’ll experience right away is a large map to explore with beautiful settings and surroundings. You can take the open road to many specific and distinct locations. You’ll be able to see lakes, mountains and a dam, just to name a few things, while driving along straight or curvy roads. The open Colorado roads available to explore are vast and will take time as you visit each location. It’s a lot of fun to experience everything in the game whether you take the time to explore it all right away without reason or by visiting each area as you unlock new events by progressing in the game.

As you dive into Forza Horizon, you’ll find yourself racing to gain free entry into the Horizon Festival, a festival that is basically a huge party with its own unique scene for drivers and their vehicles. Once you are a participant in the festival, you’ll be given a beginner’s wristband that allows you into only a few Horizon sponsored events. In Forza Horizon, it’s important to win and be impressive while doing so. As you win events you’ll earn points that will eventually give you access to another wristband. This is a main occurrence in the game. You’ll win Horizon sponsored events, earn points, and then receive a new colored wristband that will then give you access to even more Horizon events. The reason why you need to impress while winning is to increase your popularity ranking and as you improve that, you’ll be given rewards/bonuses by sponsors. It’s always nice to have multiple ways to earn cash for new cars and parts.

Forza Horizon – Street Race: Highway 33 (Gameplay Video)

Speaking of cars and parts, Forza Horizon stays true to that aspect as well. Located at the Horizon Festival Headquarters, you’ll be able to access all your Forza essentials. This includes the autoshow to purchase new cars, Dak’s Garage where you can upgrade your vehicles, paint shop, marketplace and Race Central, where you pick up new wristbands and access the leaderboards and rivals. Finally, you can also access the Car Club where you can create or join a Forza Horizon car club which you and your friends can access. The Car Club is great for friends where you’ll be able to share cars, compete against each other, or even go up against other car clubs. All in all, it has everything you need, ready and waiting for you at the Horizon event headquarters. Once you’ve done a lot of racing, I am sure many of you will spend a lot of time in the autoshow purchasing your new car and then upgrading it to perfection in the garage. Then of course the artists will once again be happy with the paint shop and I can’t wait to see what all comes from that.

Forza Horizon is still Forza, but there is much more action in this open world for you to explore. The racing is more exciting than ever before in this new setting. Maybe, it’s just because it is different than normal, but the fact remains that we have a new course to race, in a totally unique setting to the Forza Motorsport universe. A lot of your races will be point to point, but you’ll also have plenty of lap races as well. The set-up is good because you need to participate in the Horizon event races to earn points to progress and while that is important, it still doesn’t pay as good. At least not once the street races open up for straight cash only. The Horizon events keep it safe and on a specifically laid out course, but the street races have no rules to winning that cash and they take place on the open roads without warning – this means traffic. So while it’s important to complete all the Horizon events to progress, you’ll still want to do all the street races, especially when you need the cash, and it’s a wild ride when you are dealing with oncoming traffic.

Traffic is one of the biggest additions that makes Forza Horizon that much different from your regular racing events of the previous Forza titles. It increases the tension and excitement and makes the action more fun when it comes to racing and winning. You’ll be dodging regular and oncoming traffic while racing alongside 7 other drivers. Thankfully, the side of the road doesn’t affect your speed too much as you’ll probably need to use it on a few occasions to avoid cars and other racers. Plus, you can drive through most things, but not everything. Also, be careful you don’t hit a bump, because some of the roads in Forza Horizon can have the tendency to cause you to lose control. Still, all of that just continues to add to the fun factor that Forza Horizon offers.

Forza Horizon – Street Race With An Awesome Near Miss At The End

There are a number of different types of racing events that you can partake in, including showcase events that have you race against things that you never thought you’d ever race against, such as a plane. These events continue as you progress in the game and they provide for a fun challenge. You’ll also be going up against other star drivers of the Horizon Festival and as you do so and show them who is king of the track, you’ll also get the opportunity to win their vehicles. There is a lot of content here that will keep you busy for a very long time. Plus, after you finish a race, any race, you’ll be given the opportunity to race against a rival which is either a friend’s lap time that was better than the one you just finished or someone else that is nearby you on the leaderboards.

Let’s go back to the open roads – they are fun to explore and to race as fast as you can on them. You’ll be able to see a map and set a marker that will show you the direction of how to get to your next race. Also, throughout the map, because it is so large, there are outposts that once you discover will allow you to fast travel to them, at a price. However, you can also fast travel back to the Horizon festival headquarters at the center of the map and have that not cost you a penny. Still, most of you will want to stay on the open roads and drive as much as possible, especially as you continue to work on your popularity ranking.

On the open roads you will also find speed traps and speed zones that add to the fun on the open road. You can try your best and set the highest speed in a speed trap or continue a high speed average through a speed zone. These of course will be sent to a leaderboard that you can see and compare against others who have set their times. This is just another great thing about the open road that you get to explore. I love getting into my fastest car and trying to set an extremely high time on those speed traps. Another great thing about the open road is that they are filled with other racers and at any time you will be able to challenge them to an open road race. So the open road is great for many things, whether you want to explore, goof off, race other racers, test out high speeds on the highway, or try and set high records on the speed cameras – it’s all so much fun.

Forza Horizon – Street Race: Buzz The Hub (Gameplay Video)

The setting and presentation of Forza Horizon really builds up the racing and party atmosphere of this great Horizon Festival, from cutscenes with all the cars and woman, to the music that occupies the three major Horizon radio stations. You have stations like Horizon Bass Arena, Horizon Pulse, and Horizon Rocks… and let me quickly make a play off of that last radio station… Horizon does rock! Each radio station is full of great music for you to enjoy as you move at high speeds. It fits the theme of the Horizon Festival really well, and in addition, each station has some pretty good host DJ’s that talk about the events as you go about your journey. Whether you are a fan of rock or electronic music, it all works really well for racing music and if you are not interested, you can turn the radio off.

There are so many fine details that help make this game great, including good difficulty options to help make the experience right for you. Also, for the stat lovers, there are plenty of stats to keep track of as you play through the game. Like I mentioned before, there is also a popularity ranking system that increases your popularity by doing a number of things and continuing to do them, such as driving at high speeds, drifting, near miss, and combos. The more you play on those, the more your ranking will increase and each time you rank up you’ll receive a cash reward bonus from a sponsor. Then of course you have online play for you and friends. This includes being able to create a lobby for you and friends to meet up in the open world and not specially event races. You can cruise the open world together and have photo shoots with each other’s cars. Speaking off taking photos, all the great options are back for taking video and pictures and then uploading them to the internet.

Forza Horizon – Free Roam and Horizon Event Race (Gameplay Video)

Forza Horizon is a great addition to the Forza Motorsport series as it takes the series in a different direction, but stays true to the fine driving performance that we all come to expect out of our cars. It puts you in a fun atmosphere with great music and beautiful scenery that everyone will enjoy. It also adds even more fun to the exploration with the open roads, plus, you’ll also be able to go on “barn finds” to find old cars which are stored within barns – you keep them once you find them. I really enjoyed the openness of the game, especially when you simply want to screw around; you now have that ability to freely do so. This includes a golf course you can drive on… that’s right! I will go into more detail on that in an article that I will release tomorrow. I will play on the more fun and crazy experiences of Forza Horizon. If you are a Forza fan and worried about where this game has taken your beloved series, do not worry one bit, this is a welcomed experience that Forza fans and all racing fans will fall in love with.

Score: 9.5/10

Andrew Stevens Andrew Stevens is a Guest Editor at FanBolt for Gaming and Technology. He has over 8 years of experience working within the gaming industry which includes time at Bethesda Softworks. His unique view of the industry and passion for gaming can be found within each one of his editorials. Andrew also loves PC gaming and enjoys tinkering with new hardware. He also can’t get enough speed when it comes to racing games and doesn’t mind navigating through swarms of bullets in any shmup. He considers Rez as the greatest game ever. Andrew's opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his place of employment.


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