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Forza Horizon

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
Microsoft Studios
Star Rating: 
9 out of 10

Pushing your Xbox to the red line.

The Pitch: The first foray of the Forza series into the racing arcade realm, Horizon sets its street racing action against the backdrop of a music festival in Colorado that just can’t help but draw some of the hottest cars in the world—and some drivers who consider speed limits to be suggestions.

What It Really Is: Microsoft’s flagship racing series (RIP Project Gotham) has always been known for its realistic physics in pursuit of true racing simulation. Forza 4’s physics are present here but have been given a major overhaul to inject a double dose of arcade flair. The result is a game that takes some of the coolest cars in history and lets you attain them through a wide variety of racing, drifting, jumping, and plain-old coasting through the expanses of Colorado wilderness. The backdrop of the Horizon Festival is a flimsy excuse for a plot but the implementation of a huge variety of races and missions more than make up for that. Horizon is a racing game that’s firmly grounded in a gearhead’s love of cars; “barn find” cars hidden in the landscape are almost as exciting to find in Horizon as they are in real life—but Forza tops off the tank with so much style that gamers can appreciate it even if they can’t tell the difference between a Hemi and HDMI. Ready-Made Press Blurb:Forza Horizon is like a big block after an oil change: fast and smooth.” –

Fun Fact: “Speed traps” scattered throughout the map let you leave high-speed bookmarks in your friends’ games. We like to set the bar low so our friends feel good when they top us....because we’re thoughtful like that.

Who It’s For: Racers rejoice: Forza’s move into the arcade realm is proof that the series can deliver high revs on a track AND on the street. If Microsoft Studios decided to start down a road of an annual switch-off between sim and arcade racing, we’d buckle up for that ride right now.