People come every year to Colorado to participate in the Horizon Festival which mainly consists of expensive cars, hot chicks, douchebags, fireworks and dubstep. At least that’s what they do in Forza Horizon. The (totally unnecessary) story features Mr. Unknown Guy who enters the competition to beat the champion of the last three years. It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll, so the protagonist has to collect wristbands to be the king of the food chain.
You may do this by driving around the desert and entering open or closed track races, face-to-face challenges or participate in illegal pursuits. Some „boss duels” are also present along with showcase missions where you have to race against airplanes, balloons, set up a speed record or take self shots in front of some famous landmark (…seriously). To enter a competition you have to choose a car within the allowed category (sometimes there are also special prerequisites).
Horizon received criticism because it lacks the trademark realistic driving physics of Motorsport games. Actually, by tweaking the difficulty settings it’s possible to find the setup that suits your style best, ranging from NFS-like arcade to manual transmission and no assisting functions at all. The problem is: AI racers seem to make no or very few mistakes so on higher difficulty settings they become unbeatable. As you get closer to the ending there’s also a sudden spike in overall challenge level.
Besides spending your hard earned cash on new cars you can also upgrade them, maxing out their features. An auto-upgrade function is also included for the lazy people though it is an unpleasant surprise to participate in a race with a setup completely unsuitable for that track.
The graphics are sharp, fast and appealing to the eye, the cliffs of Colorado and small towns are an ideal setting and the inclusion of day/night cycles was an excellent idea (some weather changes would be nice, though). Engine sounds are also top notch, hearing your car revving up is a music to the ears, unfortunately the radio becomes boring after a few hours.
Forza Horizon isn’t flawless but it’s an entertaining title with a somewhat open world, many cars and customisable physics. Multiplayer is also fun and challenging.