In the newest “Forza” game, “Forza Horizon,” the series took a new direction. Instead of being a “Gran Turismo” simulation-style game like the previous “Forza Motorsport” titles, Playground Games, the development team, decided to take a nod from EA's “Need for Speed” series combining racing culture and street racing into one package. While this package has been seen countless times before, “Horizon” pulls it off with excellent controls.
Taking place in the Colorado Rockies, this stunning location is the backdrop to the Horizon Festival, a “Fast and the Furious” type event full of modded vehicles of all kinds including the beast known as the Ford Raptor. Once at the festival, point-to-point, circuit and challenge races appear on the official docket. On the unofficial docket, drivers challenge each other as they drive by each other on the hundreds of miles of roads and compete in underground races which sometimes end with drivers losing their cars to their winner. Speed traps and zones litter the landscape and compare your speed with your friends' speeds. Since these are more personal, this become more addictive than the races.
“Motorsport's” realistic controls are directly transported into “Horizon,” thanks in part to Playground Games' affiliation with “Motorsport's” developer, Turn 10 Studios, for the game. The fluidity of these controls work so well that gamers who have never played a sim-racing game will adjust within a few minutes. This bold move takes this arcade racer from being just one of a million similar arcade titles to one of the funnest experiences of the year.
This new take for the “Forza” series allows arcade-style racing game fans to have the “Horizon” series while simulation-style fans have the “Motorsport” series. With the simulation controls having been ported directly to the arcade “Horizon” game, some new players may take up the “Motorsport” games who would have never touched those before and vice versa. For that and many reasons, “Forza Horizon” goes down as 2012's best racing game.