theonetruetom's Forza Horizon (Xbox 360) review

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Doesn't do the Forza name justice

Where do I start? umm... The arcadey feel of this racer is 100% proof positive that it is NOT a Forza game. It's more like Need For Speed XVVII at this point, with a garish color scheme designed for bros who wouldn't know a Jaguar XJ from an Aston Martin or a Porsche 914 from a Triumph (or more likely, "old crap" in their words.) The single player NEEDS to have the option to change cars without fast traveling twenty minutes from the race I was checking to see whether or not my car would be adequately tuned for (or pay credits to use an outpost) Also, the car selection is absolutely horrifying (although I was pleased to see the "barn find" mechanic, that's a neat way to get access to some of the more classic cars in the game, and my fanatical obsession with Lancias has been sated somewhat--but where's the other classic, the 037?)

The driving physics feel like they were designed by an 8 year old who got tired of not developing the reflexes to succeed at any other racer and decided to make cars turn a hairpin at 100mph, with under- and over-steer not being adequately modeled in the slightest. The open-world game design is okay, but it's offset by the abysmally fudged physics. Opponents (specifically AIs) very often make slingshot recoveries.

There are some redeeming qualities about Single Player that give this game a 2 star rating in my book rather than a .5 star. The open-world, "go explore" setup is new and fresh to the franchise. The barn find concept is pretty neat, and not knowing when the next one is available is neat. Showcase events are fun, at least the ones where you're racing (random aerial vehicle vs. car). Off-asphalt racing is a first for the franchise, and it's really not as fun as I thought it would be. Gran Turismo did dirt AND snow racing far and away better than this game.

And now we come to the biggest problem of all. Multiplayer. Ho. Ly. Crap. Other than voting on the car class of the next race in the lobby, MP is quite possibly the worst I have ever seen in a racer. Forza 4 had lobbies that were for one game mode and one game mode only. Horizon's "playground" lobbies (I played mostly Virus tag and Soccer in 4) rotate between King (which is Tag Keep the IT to people who play 4), Infection (Virus tag) and Cat and Mouse. I *hate* Cat and Mouse. And I really don't like Keep the It all that much. Let me have an Infection lobby in the "official" playlists so I can join other players and just play the game mode I'm interested in. The lag is awful. I have a fast connection and usually don't get players driving on top of my car or whipping around 80mph corners at 150 and bouncing up and down halfway through the pavement in 4. This was all over in the MP lobbies I joined in Horizon. There are entirely too many hiding spots on the maps that come up in Infection and King which wouldn't be bad in and of itself. But you can't see the location of infected players on the minimap when you aren't infected, and you can't see the location of uninfected players when you are.

TL;dr: The good: Offroad racing. Showcase events. Barn finds. Open world design. Voting on next car class in MP.

The bad: Fudgy physics engine, slingshot opponents, randomized mode MP lobbies, terrible lag.

The verdict: This game does not deserve the Forza name. It's a Need for Speed clone with more interesting cars. I know it's designed to get new blood into the Forza genre, but all it's accomplished is ruining the franchise with a steaming pile of crayon physics and badly executed MP. If you know about what Forza is, don't buy this. If you don't know what Forza is, buy Need for Speed or Ridge Racer or whatever NFS clone is currently around. Don't buy this.

3 Comments Refresh
Posted by eristic

You know this game branches away from the Forza racing simulation formula right? Seems you walked into this expecting a different game and now you penalize it because of your fault.

Edited by bondbill

Having read this review I have to ask, are you playing the same game as everyone else? I'm supprised you're expectations were another Forza series driving sim as they have been pretty clear for some time this wasn't just another driving sim. They are also clear this is a more arcade and easy to approach game which still if you want to go down the rivals route has a serious element to it when shaving off those seconds per lap. The car selection is plenty for this type of game and the forza series has some of the best made DLC plans for any game with plans to release 6 cars per month.

The game distances itself from any need for speed series with its fine polish and robust gameplay, while arcade in style and lighter control mechanics are default have you changing the difficulty settings, try manual, turning abs and traction off for a more typical forza experience.

I do agree the multiplier element could do with some more tuning and improvements to free roam but I'm shocked that someone who sounds like they enjoy racing games is telling others not to buy Horizons!

Posted by honkyjesus

I played NFS Most Wanted Criterion right before this, and you are giving Horizon far too much credit to be compared to anything NFS. I bought Forza 3 a few months ago and love it. The problem with Horizon is it does a silly carbon copy of games like Dirt and NFS, all while setting up this silly out of date storyline in the single player.

By itself, it just isn't a very good game. Forget being compared to better games, it really isn't even deserving of it. It is like Michael Bay teamed up with Nickelodeon to create the simplest racer ever.


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