Breaking away from the traditional Forza style of racing sim the Horizon series adds an element of boganic hoonism to the racing mix, and if you’re not sure what boganic hoonism is, then let me enlighten you. Drifting, destruction, near misses and getting air are all considered “having style” and are worth points towards rewards, which suits my driving style just perfectly. Now there is of course a racing element where you need to finish at the top to earn big and progress through the game but don’t let that put you off.
Taking some elements of racing sim and some elements of an arcade style of blatant disregard for personal safety and property makes for a fantastically good time. Those wanting serious racing have plenty to do and when it gets too much they can unwind with a blast through the vineyards or a high speed run along the motorway.
In offline gaming mode you also have the benefit of the rewind button that has featured throughout the Forza series. This makes up for those moments where you miss one corner and the whole race turns to custard. Hit rewind and try that corner again but this time using the brakes.
There are also the “Barn Finds” which will be announced on occasion and offer you the chance to find an old beat up classic in a barn that you can have restored to its former glory.
In fact there are a lot of different tasks to complete along the way which makes for an endless amount of fun gameplay that incorporates all different vehicle classes and types of racing. From classic old cruisers to high end 4×4 rally events and ultra-high performance supercars there’s something here for everyone.
The Forza Drivatars are back as well and make for some quick levelling up and cash flow by taking on head to head challenges whilst cruising around the open world map. If you have friends that have played previous Forza games you will find their names attached to AI controlled cars driving around and if you pull up behind them you can challenge them to a point to point style race where the first to the finish wins and you can get there any way you like.
The game is set in a world modelled on the South of France and Italy. The advanced lighting and weather system beautifully recreates the feel of the region and adds realistic characteristics to the way cars look and behave in different conditions. This means it’s going to be slippery in the wet, dusty in the dry and difficult to see when driving towards the setting sun.
My experiences so far with online racing have been limited as I don’t have many friends with the game just yet and have been more than happy working through the single player mode. From what I have done online though I can say that it’s a whole different vibe knowing other humans (I use the term ‘humans’ loosely) are at the controls of the other cars I’m racing. A bit glitchy at times with opponent’s cars flicking from one place to another on the roads in front but generally very playable. This is probably a sign of people’s internet speeds more so than their racing speed.
There is a ton of customisation available from paint jobs to decals to tyre pressures and spring rates. Find your perfect car, make it look how you want and tune it to perfection. All your settings can be saved and applied quickly so having set ups for different racing styles is easy.
Make sure to use your map and plot a course to your next destination but remember to hit those fast travel and XP boards along the way. You’ll be glad you did.
All in all this is a solid driving game with a huge catalogue of vehicles and a racing experience to suit pretty much any car fan. The Horizon series continues to find a perfect balance between serious racing and balls to the wall stupidity.