Can Forza Horizon Dethrone these Racing Game Champions?
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Sep 26, 2012

Can Forza Horizon Dethrone these Racing Game Champions?

A ‘spin-off’ of one of the most successful and most realistic simulation games ever made that sees you taking the persona of a Colorado festival-goer that needs to drive fast and dangerously to gain popularity points and impress the ladies? From the outside looking in, the base idea of Forza Horizon might be enough to make your stomach churn, however when looking beneath the bonnet at this breath-taking open-world driving game, you can begin to realise that from the October 23rd release date, we could be set for something very special indeed.

Still quite grounded in the simulation formula of Forza: Motorsport because of the use of the same engine, downright beautiful car models and handling physics, Horizon builds upon the idea mentioned above and turns it into something you just won’t want to put down – largely thanks to the great driving on offer but also the familiar progression of acquiring newer, better cars with the added impetuous of a storyline that is there when needed but never gets in the way of the Forza focus: the driving. Thankfully, there’s a hell of a lot of that, with the Colorado open-world setting offering some 200+ roads (including dirt surfaces for the very first time!) for you to go head to head against your friends online, or with one of the many challenging AI drivers you’ll meet along your journey that is set against one of the most believable and engrossing backdrops a driving game has ever seen.
But the question still remains… Can Forza Horizon gain a place alongside the standard-setters of the racing game genre? Only time will tell, but as we’ve got some time on our hands before the green light of the release date, why not take a look at the competition lining up on the starting grid?

Forza Motorsport 4

Forza Motorsport 4
Forza Motorsport 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If the Forza series were people, Forza Motorsport 4 would be the hugely successful and famed older
brother, while Forza Horizon would be the younger sibling, clipping at its heels and aiming for the same notoriety and success.
Aside from those sat chained to the PlayStation 3 side of the fence, there’s no denying that right now Forza Motorsport 4 is probably the best driving game money can buy if you are looking for the full-package of ultra-realistic graphics and gameplay combined with a breadth of features and a community brimming with unique tradable cars and skilled opponents. As opposed to its main source of competition (which I’ll move on to in a second), the Forza series is proving itself to be so good because it is continuing to innovate rather than standing still, adding new features and Kinect compatibility to make what was already a great game in Forza Motorsport 3 even better.

Gran Turismo 5

Now if we’re sticking with the metaphor of games being people, Gran Turismo 5/the entire series would be
Gran Turismo (series)
Gran Turismo (series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Forza’s moody neighbour, the one who was sitting at the top of the world a few years ago but is now angrily looking at its loud competitor getting all of the press and recognition. But that’s not to say it isn’t good because it really is as a standalone title and you ignore every last thing about what Forza is doing next door - because when stood against Motorsport 4, it can’t help but look a little dated and sluggish.
For one, certain cars and tracks look as if they were ported from the last PlayStation 2 version, and don’t even get me started on the clunky presentation and menu system! Of course I’m still hailing this as a racing game champion because it is one of the best you can get on the PlayStation 3, but it really does have its faults.

Dirt 3

Great racing doesn’t just take place on the cold hard tarmac, but like I mentioned with the new addition to
Dirt 3
Dirt 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Forza Horizon, it can get even better when there is a bit of dirt involved, and if there is one driving game that knows how to pull it off - it has to be Dirt 3. With its origins in the Colin McRae franchise, the Dirt series gets better with each iteration and Dirt 3 manages to find the perfect mix between being arcade-driven and fun for the casual gamer, but also a formidable test for even the most discerning and technical rally fan.
Other racing games could learn a thing or two from Dirt 3’s near perfect arcade/sim mix and endless variety which can see you aiming to shave a second from your time through a Kenya rally stage one moment, and then wrestling your car around pillars and posts in Ken Block Gymkhana-style the next.
So there you have it, Horizon – the gauntlet has already been laid down, and only time will tell if it can live up to its billing…

Guest Author: This post was written by Richard Paul on behalf of Insure 4 a Day, the one day care insurance company that can help you out if all the gaming has got you in the mood for some real-life driving!