Forza Horizon Exclusive Limited Collector's Edition Xbox 360
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Released on 26-Oct-2012
Forza's trademark authenticity hits the open road - and the festival circuit - in Forza Horizon, with open world gameplay and a host of new challenges
Forza's authentic gameplay hits the open road - and the festival circuit - in Forza Horizon.
The hugely successful Forza Motorsport series takes a sharp left-turn away from the traditional tracks of previous entries, and embarks on an exciting road trip, offering open-world gameplay amongst the Rocky Mountains of Colorado - and entry to the Horizon Festival, offering new ways to enjoy the authentic Forza driving experience!
Forza Horizon Limited Collector's Edition Features
Get even more out of the open road with the Forza Horizon Limited Collector's Edition, packed with more cars, VIP Membership and instant access to new features as they arrive!
The Limited Collector's Edition comes packed in custom designed Steelbook, containing the game and your Horizon Festival Ticket to access Xbox LIVE content which includes:
- Launch Day Car Pack (5-car pack*)
- VIP Membership (5-car pack* and VIP privileges)
- Horizon Accelerator Token Pack - Giving player instant access to new cars, map unlocks, fast travel, and popularity spikes.
- Exclusive LCE Car Liveries (5-car pack*)
Top Features of Forza Horizon - only on Xbox 360
- Open road, open world - expansive series-first open world gameplay
- Action racing rewarded - new challenges and rewards await on the streets
- Festival fever - music, partying and cars collide at the Horizon Festival
- Unmistakeably Forza - all the cars and authenticity you'd expect from a Forza game
Open Road, Open World
For the first time, Forza steps away from the track and takes to the open road for expansive new open world gameplay. Set in the idyllic mountains of Colorado, you'll get to experience on-road, off-road and dirt road driving, all with the same level of realism you'd expect from Forza. With dramatic 24 hour lighting that only adds to the realism of your journey, this expansive environment will keep you heading towards the horizon, never looking back!
Action Racing Rewarded
Taking to the road doesn't just mean driving for driving's sake - there's still a lot of competition to be found on the streets of Forza Horizon with new action-based gameplay. Compete in festival events, show off your skills, or go fast and furious with instant street race challenges where your pink slip - and your reputation - is on the line. These challenges aren't just limited to career mode - go online and compete with friends and rivals in a variety of challenges and prove who really is the best behind the wheel!
What's the point of driving without the chance to party away your victories? The all-new Horizon Festival offers just that - a place where music and cars collide, a place where competition meets culture. With some of today's hottest music curated by Radio 1 DJ and Bestival founder Rob da Bank, the Horizon Festival serves as the hub for all your career and online events
The races may be different, but the driving is undeniably Forza. Built with the same engine that made Forza Motorsport 4 such a game-changer for authenticity, Forza Horizon boasts the same graphics, physics and handling, and a diverse line-up of cars to really show it off! For an authentic driving experience, accept nothing less than first place!
*Specific cars to be announced at a later date. Xbox LIVE Membership required to download content. Xbox LIVE Gold Membership required to use some of the functionality.
And so another year gallops to a close, thundering through the ribbon into January on a wave of good cheer and over-eating. And what a cracker of a year it's been for gaming, with all the major platforms delivering some absolutely stonking exclusives along with some truly spectacular blockbusters spread across all formats, like warm butter on the crumpet you're hopefully eating right now to ward off the December chills.
For Xbox 360 owners, it's been the year in which Master Chief finally returned to the gaming stage. Absent for five years - an eternity in games terms - his triumphant return in Halo 4 not only kickstarted the new Reclaimer Trilogy, but also introduced new developer 343 Studios to the series. 343 immediately put its stamp on Bungie's universe, crafting a game with sumptuous visuals and a distinctly personal spin on storytelling, as Chief battles not just to save the galaxy, but his AI companion Cortana, whose code is deteriorating. Add in an exhaustive suite of multiplayer modes, a full co-op campaign, and the ongoing Spartan Ops bonus missions and you've got one of the best games of the series, and of this year.
Halo wasn't the only Microsoft legend getting a makeover in 2012. Forza Horizon took the imposing racing simulation and gave it a funky mainstream twist, combining developer Turn 10's impeccable vehicle physics with an open world underground racing vibe. Everything from drift racing to hardcore rallying is covered as you roar around a virtual Colorado racing festival, looking for events and opportunities to show off your talent behind the wheel.
The wonderful land of Albion also showed off a new perspective in Fable: The Journey. This Kinect-fuelled spin-off from the superb RPG series puts you right into the action as a young boy, separated from his tribe and forced to travel across this magical land alone as dark forces gather against him. Using precision motion control, you steer your wagon, fire off spells and even look after your loyal horse. It's an unusual game, offering an experience far removed from the other Fable titles, yet it's also one of the best Kinect games. Immersive and packed with genuine challenge, it's a good sign that motion gaming doesn't have to just mean simple mini-games for little kids.
Definitely not suitable for little kids was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Previously a well-deserved smash hit on the PC, the game crossed over to consoles exclusively for Xbox 360. This was no mere half-hearted port either. Czech developer CD Projekt went out of its way to recreate the game specifically for a console audience, adding four hours of fresh questing content, as well as new cinematics. The result was one of the best role-playing games, not just of 2012, but of all time. A thorny, challenging adventure set in a bawdy, complex world torn apart by racism, political strife and class war.
On the digital frontline, the Xbox continued to thrill. World conquering epic Minecraft came to consoles just for the 360, allowing a whole new audience to experience the genius of Mojang's communal block bashing and building. No surprise that it quickly became one of the most popular online games, challenging even the heavyweight shooters. Indie hit Fez got critics hot under the collar too with its mind-bending puzzle platforming action, and knockabout motocross romp Trials Evolution offered gamers the chance to punish their ragdoll rider in the year's biggest highs and most hilarious fails.
Xbox owners weren't left out when it came to multi-format releases either. The brilliant Borderlands 2, with its lunatic mix of co-op action and loot-swapping mayhem, is what your Xbox LIVE Friends List was invented for, while the online action of hits such as FIFA 13 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted made the most of Microsoft's ever-evolving digital community. Even the biggest game of the year had something extra special for Xbox players, as Activision announced that all the DLC maps for Call of Duty: Black Ops II will be exclusive to Xbox 360 for a limited time.
And that's just this year. Where will Xbox be in another twelve months? Will there be a new console to save up for? How long will we have to wait for Halo 5? And what will developers do next with the controller-free Kinect? One thing's for sure, it's going to be an amazing ride finding out.
The Open Road Dream
Forza Horizon is something of a rarity - a racing game with real-world driving physics and a real world to drive around in. Well, almost. The game gives you the US state of Colorado as your playground, but it's a miniaturised version, with the state's vast plains, canyons and mountain ranges reduced to a more manageable map of stunning scenery and winding roads.
There have been plenty of open-world racing games before, most of them lightweight and fun games with arcade-style handling, like several entries in the Need for Speed series, or Burnout Paradise. But none have managed to to combine this kind of setting with the realistic car handling of Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport before - although the rough-round-the-edges Test Drive Unlimited games were a pretty good attempt.
The appeal of taking to the open road in a simulated version of your dream car is obvious though, and at last it's been fully realised. As an offshoot of Microsoft's Forza Motorsport circuit racing series, Forza Horizon takes the amazing technology of those games - beautiful graphics, intense handling, impeccable car models, a wealth of performance upgrades and great online modes - and sets them free on its wide-open map.
Festival Of Speed
The game has a story, of sorts: you're a new competitor at the Horizon festival, an event that combines music with motor-racing. The setting's well realised: you can tune into three distinct radio stations with cool playlists put together by Radio 1 DJ and Bestival supremo Rob da Bank, and the festival installations dotted around Colorado, with their crowds, tents and laser lighting, definitely look the part. The story sections, as you hunt down a series of silly rival racers, are pretty cheesy, despite some no-expense-spared animation and voice acting . Thankfully they don't get in the way of the racing.
And the racing is nothing short of superb. That trademark Forza handling is in there in full and can be adapted to suit you with a wide range of assists and difficulty settings. Whether you go for easy riding or tough simulation, a pad or a steering wheel, it always feels great and lets you have a bit of fun with the car, but it will bite back - unlike those arcade games, it's easy to lose control if you get too cocky on these wild roads.
Where the game really wins out over the regular Motorsport games is in variety. There's off-road racing for rally cars, SUVs and all-wheel drives. There are point-to-point races on sweeping freeways where you rarely have to brake and can sustain speeds of 150mph for minutes at a time, if you can weave through the traffic that is. And there are tight little circuits on town streets that more closely resemble the Forza experience you're used to.
Alongside the regular races, there are Showcases which play out like Top Gear stunts (in which you might race a plane or a hot air balloon), showboating skill challenges for drifting and near misses, speed camera records to go for, and more relaxing activities like hunting classic car wrecks, or photo shoots. All of it is brilliant fun, and all of it has been structured into a satisfying career with a good difficulty curve - unlike the Motorsport games.
Forza Horizon's Colorado may not be the biggest game-world you've ever seen, but it is one of the prettiest, with the game engine doing a great job of drawing the rolling foot hills, dusty red-rock canyons and majestic Rockies, as well as the gleaming car bodies. There's a spectacular 24-hour cycle too, and night racing is a real thrill.
It's a pleasure just to explore, and although fast-travel is possible, to begin with you'll mostly enjoy travelling to and from events in your favourite car. You'll meet other racers on the road, and can challenge them to one-off races on random routes too if you like.
The car selection is great - not as huge as Forza Motorsport 4's, but with a few tasty new additions and lots of exotic supercars and classics to collect. Lots of these production road cars make more sense on Horizon's open roads than they ever did on racing circuits. You can customise your car with paint-jobs (which you can buy from other players or make yourself) and performance upgrades in true Forza style, although the option to fine-tune your setup isn't there.
The only slight disappointment is multiplayer. Although Forza Horizon has the great Rivals system from Forza 4 for challenging friends to time trials, and decent options in the race lobbies (including some fun casual games like cat and mouse), it's hard to imagine it attracting the dedicated racing community of the main games - and it would have been nice to see more options for multiplayer gaming in the open world.
Hopefully these will be added (along with weather, and a bigger game world) in a sequel. But it's offline that Forza Horizon really excels at - in fact, it's the best single-player racing game in years, probably since the great Project Gotham Racing series bit the dust. It's a must for petrol-heads and racing game fans alike, and if you're both, it's heaven.
- The full Forza driving experience takes to the open road
- Superb handling, stunning graphics and almost all the options you could want
- Varied racing and activities across a well-paced career that will keep you busy for ages
- The festival story is cheesy and uncool - I mean, Bluetooth headsets?
- The map could be bigger
- Multiplayer feels a bit underdeveloped
Microsoft's prestige racing franchise gets a funky spin-off this week, as Forza Horizon takes the impeccable handling and speed of old and marries it to an openworld free-for-all. Set in and around the fictional Horizon festival of music and motors, it's a fresh take on a beloved series and critics seem to be bowled over by its charm.
Giant Bomb dished out a full five star rating for the game, and praised it for opening the game up to those who prefer arcade to simulation without losing that Forza realism. "It manages to simultaneously feel like a Forza game while also letting in more of what makes racing games fun for all players, rather than staying strictly focused on those of us who want strict simulations of varying realism," says their review.
IGN gives the game a 9/10, declaring "if you love cars, this is essential" while Eurogamer compares it to the similar festival-based Motorstorm and finds in favour of Forza. "It exchanges infinite laps and bottomless grind for an actual structure and a sense of adventure," says the site's 9/10 review, "while mastering its roads requires less practiced skill than it does courage and intuition."
Destructoid is similarly bowled over, adding another 9/10 to the pile and declaring that Horizon offers racing game fans "an exceptional automotive experience that they didn't even know they wanted".
Forza Horizon is out this week exclusively for Xbox 360.
Driving in circles is fun and everything, but nothing really beats the thrill of the open road. Which makes it a bit of a mystery why that's not featured more in driving games that, historically, have fussily kept players on single, un-branching ribbons of tarmac.
There have been exceptions, though more often than not they've been noble failures. Take Test Drive Unlimited, Eden Studio's eccentric racer that burst onto the scene before any of our Xboxes had even had a chance to red ring. Its ambition was peerless - exotic cars were hurled against the exotic backdrop of Hawaii while the game was stitched together with fabric borrowed from MMOs - though its execution sadly wasn't.
We're On The Road To Nowhere
Perhaps it was a lack of funds, or perhaps it was a lack of technical know-how. They're two things, however, that the next open world pretender has in abundance. Forza Horizon comes with the backing of Microsoft and all the cash that entails, and while it's the developer Playground's first game there's a serious amount of talent in the new UK studio. Founded by veterans from Codemasters' racing studio, Playground has hoovered up the casualties of the racing scene in the UK, with staff credits including Burnout, Project Gotham and Split/Second.
Not a bad foundation for a new game, and that's before you've even factored in the Forza element. Turn 10, the developer of the mainline Forza games, is lending a guiding hand, and that means that Horizon has a certain amount of polish, a certain amount of depth and a rather large amount of auto exotica to get all hot under the collar for.
And what does it mean for the game itself? Well, Forza Horizon seems to have found the perfect middle-ground between arcade and simulation, and a couple of hours of play reveals a game that's a true pretender to Project Gotham Racing 4's crown as not only the best racing game of the generation, but one of the best racing games of all time. Seriously, it's that good.
You're an upstart racer, entering into a festival of speed that's spanning the entirety of the state of Colorado. It's a bit like the UK's Goodwood Festival but with less mud, less tweed and about the same number of Bluetooth headsets knocking around. There's a self-consciously youthful vibe to the whole thing - the soundtrack's provided by Rob da Bank and there's a handful of excruciating cut-scenes to get through - but that doesn't detract from the real star of the show.
Forza Horizon's cars, as you'd expect from a series of this pedigree, are a joy to drive. The slightly exaggerated handling that's defined Forza actually feels more at home on the open road than it does on a race track - and placed in contrast to other arcade racers it feels as simulation-minded as you'd want to go. There are a handful of assists that can ease the ride, but when they're all switched off the cars are a real handful.
The Long and Winding Road
It's easy to just get lost to the joys of the open road, picking a direction and then burning through one of Forza Horizon's well-realised day/night cycles. There's a smart sense of progression that could mean that Horizon's one of the more engaging racing games in recent years, though, and it's all centred around that music festival.
The festival acts as a central hub from which a series of missions spoke out, and they're quick to usher you through the various flavours of machinery that Forza Horizon offers up. One second you can be driving a Volkswagen Corrado across the freeway, the next you could be tearing up gravel and dirt off-road in a Subaru Impreza.
And even in between the races there's plenty for you to do: cars can be unlocked by finding them in well-hidden barns, billboards can be smashed through and speedtraps allow you to engage in a little competition with your friends, powered by the Rivals system that made Forza Motorsport 4 such a success.
Could Forza Horizon be the game that finally unlocks the potential of the open road? All signs are suggesting that it can - and that in the process it could create one of the finest racing experiences of this generation.
The connection between lavish grown-up driving simulation Forza, and Nintendo's cheery evergreen Pokémon role-playing series isn't immediately obvious, but it's there according to Turn 10, the developer behind Microsoft's best-selling racing franchise.
"I knew that I wanted this car-collecting element to be implemented into the game. What game, especially back in 2002, had inspired collecting more than Pokémon?" the studio's creative director Dan Greenawalt explained in an interview with UK games site Spong.
"It did collecting using a rarity system - through different coloured versions - with a sense that everything felt very natural," he continued. "And actually, there's a really natural sense of rarity in cars. So in Forza 1, the cars had a rarity meter, and you had to pick your region - much like choosing Pokémon Sapphire or Ruby - and that made certain cars more or less rare in the game. That was directly inspired by Pokémon."
So there you have it. Next time you snap up that desirable sports car in Forza, you'll know it's basically a four-wheeled Mewtwo.
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