As a kid growing up I was always a sucker for the racing style video games versus some of the other fantasy style games. Everything from the classic Pole Position to Cruising USA to Mario Kart and many others. As the gaming systems got better and better, so of course did the games. You had your choice of the more simulation style games like Gran Turismo and Forza or the arcade-like Need for Speed, Midnight Club. The arcade games were usual more fun overall, but the more realistic games seem to be a little more rewarding when you finally figured them out.
When Forza Horizon was first released I was immediately hooked. It seemed to be the perfect combination of the realistic simulation driving with a dash of arcade feel to dramatically increase the fun factor. Turn 10 and Microsoft Studios have designed these games so any skill level of player can enjoy them. If you’re a beginner you have the option of turning on a whole list of drivers aids like ABS, traction control, stability control and full driving line including brake points. If your grandpa, or maybe your 4 year old, wants to play you can even turn on assisted steering and braking that almost plays the game for you.
But you can also turn everything off making it essentially a full simulation where where you have to modulate both the throttle and braking according to the situation. Especially when your driving cars like the McLaren P1, LaFerrari, Koenigsegg, and even the brand new Lamborghini Centenario, that also happens to be the cover car, and roughly 346 more that come standard with the game. That’s actually 150 more than Horizon 2, plus there are of course hundreds more available through the DLC (downloadable content) that usually cost a few dollars per car or up to $49.99 car packs. All of which have been very meticulously designed to resemble the actual car as much as humanly possible.
The level of detail in these games are absolutely phenomenal. In the first release the entire map was an exact replica of the roads found in a section of Colorado. They laser scan hundreds of miles of roads to make it as real as possible, and it showed. The second was the same only based somewhere in Europe and it was equally as good as the first, if not a little bit better. Now the third release is around the corner and it appears as if Turn 10 and Microsoft have taken it up a few notches with this one. Its said to be based out of Australia and the map size will be double what it was in previous versions, which is pretty impressive considering how big they were.
One of the many beauties of this game is the open play format, you can go anywhere, do anything you want to do. You are playing a character that is attending what could only be described as a music festival, but for cars. There are usually about 200 races you can compete in for the main story line, but when you factor in the online play and other achievements within the game, we are talking about countless hours of game play available.
Going back to the level of detail, one thing that blew my mind when I read about what game designers had done to ensure the most realistic game possible. Apparently there was a team that spent an entire year filming the Australian sky with specially built 12K resolution camera equipment so the developers could essentially create a clone for lack of better words. I can’t even fathom the amount of data that was collected for that one thing, and that’s just the sky. That level of detail was apparently taken to the geography as well. Its supposed to closely resemble Australia’s diversity of canyons, beaches, rain forests and of course the Outback desert like conditions. It appears as if they will be including a trophy truck in this edition, most likely will be a DLC vehicle but smashing a TT through the Outback might just be worth a few bucks.
The game is scheduled to drop September 26th of this year and will be available for the new Xbox One S that’s supposed to support 4K and also for Windows 10. If you happen to own a 4K compatible TV you are in for a treat, its been reported that there will be an enormous HDR light source that touches everything in the game environment which will translate to some incredibly vibrant colors. Once the game comes out we will do a full review, but if it tuns out to be as good as it appears to be, and better than its predecessor, then it will most likely take the spot of best racing game ever made.