The newest game of this series may have come out recently but the first game is still really fun
Forza Horizon does one very important thing upfront that turned it from a car game I barely spent any time with into one I wanted to keep playing. That one thing is the way the vehicles control. I can like realistic physics on cars as noted by Forza 3 but it isn't something I tend to play often. Yet it doesn't matter here since it is weighted more in the arcade style of racing which lets me drift all over the place with ease. Like any good video game, it does contextualize why you're racing through the deserts and mountains of Colorado. Which is that you're a new racer that managed to sneak his way into the Horizon festival. This festival is a party that celebrates everyone’s mutual love of racing fast cars. The eventual end goal is to crown the best racer in the world and it is up to the player to earn that title. I quite like the bit of flair they put into the start of this game that does a great job of introducing all the mechanics in the game. Would have been nice if they kept that up for a bit longer but whatever this is a game just about racing fast cars after all.
Along with racing trucks and a bunch of other road vehicles. By the time I got to the endgame race I had quite the collection of cars to pull out depending on what I needed per race. Not every event let me use a certain car so by the end it required me to understand how different each car could control. At first, it seemed like they were all similar but quickly it became obvious that a muscle car wouldn’t take turns as easy or a big truck was much better off the road than on. Along with the ever helpful driving line, it was quite easy to know how much I needed to slow down to take turns. Even if I messed up it is possible to rewind time a bit to correct any mistake that pops up during a race. After a while it does feel like cheating but even if those magical powers the normal race AI still required me to race well to earn the gold medal.
All of that sounds great, right? Well, that still leaves out a change of pace in the gameplay since racing a car around a track should get boring after a while. While they don’t really break the racing theme very often Turn 10 does include a variety of goals to compete. With the obvious one being the fan rating that continues to go up whenever the player does something cool. Like an awesome drift that ends with you not hitting anyone will earn quite a few fans if you combo it with other triggers like knocking down signs. The end result of getting your fan meter down to number one is unlocking more showcase events. Which are all mostly dumb but great ideas for races like beating a plane while you're still in a Mercedes. Still, most of the courses that are scattered across the open world are either point to point races against other cars or a small course that requires you to race so many laps around a specified track.
Overall even 4 years later and a console generation later Forza Horizon is still an awesome open world racing game. Sure compared to the later releases it may not have as much to explore or look as nice. Yet with it being the first it set up the gameplay loop they continue to use to this day. Plus if you don’t like a huge open world that has very little to do it was nice that I could easily make my way through the world without using fast travel. So if you're looking for a cheap racing game that still holds up you might want to check this one out.