The newest Forza game to hit shelves will be going under the name of Forza Horizon. Developed by Playground Games, it is being touted as an open world addition to the ultra realistic racing franchise. After the games' dubstep heavy introduction at E3, it’s easy to understand why you may be sceptical about picking it up.
Picking up the controller at Eurogamer - which was easy enough considering the booth was emptier than a cocktail bar in Burnley - I was put through my paces in a 2-3 minute race with 11 other AI racers. I was immediately concerned.
I got off to a bad start; admittedly, this was due to my poor driving abilities, but thing’s soon got worse. The handling on the game feels dreadful. My car didn’t feel like it was driving on a lovingly laid tarmac road. It felt like I was driving on an ice road that had been coated in oil. The car felt lifeless, I couldn’t feel any weight in the turns and it reminded me very much of a virtual Slip ‘n’ Slide. I know Forza Horizon aims to be an arcade racer, rather than a realistic one, but that doesn’t wholly explain my discomfort with the driving style.
Thankfully the game looks better than it plays, even though that isn’t saying a great deal. The lighting is the star of the show; sunlight bursts through trees and reflects off the beautifully recreated curves and grooves of the supercar you’ll undoubtedly be driving. The vehicles themselves, while not mind blowing, are recreated faithfully inside and out. The surrounding environment around you is serviceable, which realistically is all that it needs to be as you won’t be paying it much heed whilst you tear down the road.
After my brief sessions with Forza Horizon I am at something of a loss for words. The time I had with the game should serve to wet my appetite. Unfortunately, it has had the adverse effect. I was approaching this game with sceptical optimism, but now I’ll just be happy if I never have to see it again.