High-speed thrills and spills in driving game Forza Horizon

Oct 24, 2012

Gamers with a need for speed and gorgeous scenery should take it for a spin

What you need to know
British developers Playground Games make their debut this week with a new motor-racing video game, Forza Horizon, for Turn 10 studio's Forza Motorsport franchise.

The spin-off game is set at a fictitious car-racing event called the Horizon Festival, in Colorado, USA. It features an open-road environment, while incorporating many of the gameplay elements of previous Forza titles, such as a wide variety of cars, realistic driving physics and high definition graphics.

The aim is to progress through the game by acquiring tokens for driving fast, winning races and performing driving stunts. Released 26 October.

What the critics like
Forza fans, rest easy, says Felix Atkin in The Observer. While Horizon has sacrificed real-world circuits, the Forza heart beats on with exceptional driving physics in an open-world scenario with "stunning vistas" and "frequent breathtaking moments".

This is "the most beautiful console racer" available, says Jason Evangelho in Forbes. Horizon has the simulation roots of action games like Need for Speed with "insanely gorgeous scenery" and real-world handling.

"If driving like a hooligan without having to face any consequences – in cars you'll never be able to afford – sounds appealing, then you'll love Forza Horizon", says Steve Boxer in The Guardian.

What they don't like
Playground Games has trotted out pretty much every adrenaline-junkie stereotype for the game's storyline, says Andrew Laughlin on Digital Spy. "These cookie-cutter characters spend more time tediously boasting than they do actually racing." Do we even need stories in racing games?

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