bill-swift - October 27, 2012
Forza Horizon has to strike that ideal balance between accessible yet authentic racing and giving players enough "stuff" to do so that we're not just mindlessly running races and buying new cars with the prize money. Horizon gets over on the variety of racing-centric activities required and the way that it's all presented. It requires a leap of faith to just go with how the game designers want you to approach this game but if you do you're getting a complete racing experience with authentic automotive brands from top to bottom.
The focus on older --to some vintage-- cars earlier in the game is a nice touch as you'll appreciate upgrading to a Benz or Ferrari later on once you've been grinding an unsexy old Subaru (although they perform as admirably in the game as they do in real life) or Volkswagen for a few races. Managing your in-game currency is once again the greatest pressure a racing game can apply. Do you upgrade your current P.O.S. or save up your nickels so you can by that delicious BMW that will surely solve all of your racing problems. Horizon does a good job of getting you to try new stuff because you simply won't be able to compete for too long in all the available races if you don't either upgrade (using the fantastic quick upgrade feature) your current ride or get a better one.
However non-gearheads will appreciate the beauty, presentation and audio elements of Horizon too. This game meets the high standards racing games have impressive weather effects and little details like being able to see fireworks over the race festivals that serve as gateways to the full racing experience. In fact it's the racing from one event to another that will fuels a lot of Horizon's appeal. Clean driving, near misses and even intentionally crashing into certain obstacles all earn you points while you're on your way to the real race that's going to get you money and prestige --the game's most important currency to your non-descript, silent protagonist. It's almost like you're racing around the menu of what you can do in Horizon.
Get Forza Horizon if you: love cars, love authentic automotive logos including gasoline companies (these days you shouldn't love gas station logos in your games, really), wacky in-game disc jockeys, laying down the best donuts in video games, scenic drives through the country side or if you really like MGMT and related musical acts.
Do not get Forza Horizon if: you can't stand MGMT and related musical acts, racing against competitors and civilians on the same track, battling the popular kids in a subculture, get easily discouraged when information is presented in a non-conventional way, navigating lots of maps, non-descript, silent protagonists or don't like being reminded that your car really is a beater compared to the rides in this game.
Star rating (out of 4): 3 Stars