Review: Forza Horizons (Xbox 360)

By Wayne Webb

I was genuinely excited by the prospect of a Forza game that was a bit more open world and accessible. As a series, Forza carries a certain cache and reputation, but Horizons does absolutely nothing to grow that reputation, I’d go so far as to say it may even damage it.

By Wayne Webb

I was genuinely excited by the prospect of a Forza game that was a bit more open world and accessible. As a series, Forza carries a certain cache and reputation, but Horizons does absolutely nothing to grow that reputation, I’d go so far as to say it may even damage it.

Forza has a history of good quality, realistic (though not quite ‘simulator’ good), in-depth game play with loads of tuning, options and challenges to make the game satisfying. None of this is in Forza Horizons. It’s as if a bunch of marketing people sat around a table and threw ideas onto a mind map and then made a game. What do kids love? Fast cars, music festivals, respect from their heroes and being desired by hot women with clipboards. Oh and stunt racing, like a car against a plane!

Within minutes I wondered if I had actually put a Forza game in the disc tray or something else. Unfortunately the experience only got worse from there. Horizons (or Lollapalooza: The Game) is more about the experience of being there in Colorado for this laughable festival and its stupid race events than it is about driving. Somehow I can crash through wooden fences, but a small curb on a bridge can stop the car like a brick wall. Then for some bizarre reason a head-on collision with oncoming traffic merely slows you down. I’d expect that from maybe a cartoonish Kart racer, but not a serious car game.

Add to this the silly subplot flirting with the race organizer, the “cool” choice of background music, the dialogue, and an over done sense of personal brands and promotion, left me feeling a little dirty, rather than enjoying the game.

However, for the less picky gamers and the people who prefer style over substance, Horizons does look fantastic. The stunning environment of Colorado is depicted beautifully, and if driving were more of a pleasure I could have eschewed the game elements and just enjoyed the open road. The lighting and time of day changing on you adds that sense of realism that is sorely missing from the mechanics and physics.

I did not get very far into the game. The first stunt race of a mustang (car) against a mustang (airplane) was not a good start – I had no idea of how good I was doing until the finish line so this was the nail in my opinion’s coffin. I have zero desire to load up on wristbands (currency for progression) or find out if the clipboard girl and me ever hook up.

I’d rather play Forza 4 thank you.

Pros: Great graphics, open world freedom to drive, plenty to do
Cons: Physics problems, zero damage and reality does not live up to the Forza name, feels like a marketing department made it, silly storyline and a lame attempt to be cool

2 Shacks Out Of 5

 

 

Leave a Reply