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Captain N's Games of the Decade #4

On 02/27/2020 at 01:29 AM by Captain N

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Games of the Decade #4/Blog a Day #27

Hello everyone, how are you?

If there is one thing that racing games do well is that they are great at showcasing the graphics of a console. As I mentioned previously how a racing game on this list looks great even after all these years. When I got a 360 in late 2011 I was excited at the games that I haven't tried on it, so for the remainder of 2012 I was trying to get my hands on various games I wanted to try. Fast forward to late 2012 and I saw a trailer for a game I absolutely wanted to try on it and that game was none other than Forza Horizon.

Forza Horizon

                                            Music selection in the game is so good

Backstory time: I have played a variety of racing games and I am no stranger to the Forza games. The very first Forza game I tried on the 360 was Forza Motorsport 2 and that was such an old game. I'm not one for racing sim games but even I found the game to be fun despite its age. I saw the trailer for Forza Horizon and I saw that it was different from the Forza Motorsport games, the biggest difference is that it was an open world racing game with beautiful environments.

I didn't get the game right away so fast forward to 2016. I had tried a good number of racing games since and I tried games like Burnout Paradise which was fun and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit from 2012 and while fun, wasn't quite what I was looking for. I actually got Forza Horizon as a birthday gift back in 2016 and was wondering how it was since I was kinda burned out on racing games. Was the game good or did it crash and burn?

In Forza Horizon the game has no story mode but rather your Career throughout the game, but I suppose that kinda counts as a story of sorts. The game takes place in Colorado and has you participate in the Horizon Festival, which is a music and motor racing festival and you must race to rise above the ranks to challenge and defeat the current Horizon Champion and become the new Horizon Champion yourself.

Forza Horizon is a racing game at its core, you'll be participating in a number of races from lap races to sprint races. The game is a open world racing game but one thing I love is that you are not racing across the map like Burnout Paradise or NFS Most Wanted, but rather you races in closed off segments of the open world map. Think of it like in NFS Underground 2 where you drive to a race and and the race takes part in an area of the map, it works just like that. But there are also various other events to participate as well like events that has you race helicopters and planes which is really different from other racing games but really cool.

Forza Horizon

       It's really beautiful seeing those mountains in the distance while you drive a high speeds

In the game you need to increase your popularity in order to participate in races. To do this the game introduces a skill based system that rewards you for driving aggressively which involves drifting, doing stunts in races, jumping over obstacles and many more. You can chain up in a combo for more points which in turn also awards you with more money when you finish a race. You can also buy, sell, and customize your cars. There are a ton of cars to choose from ranging from some classics to some modern cars. 

The best part of the game in my opinion is the open world map. It never feels there for just the sake of having an open world map in the game and I can tell you that the environments in the map are beautiful. The game's map also has things to do as well like smashing through signs that net you discounts for buying things in the game, to A.I. races that kinda work like the ones in Burnout Paradise where you race from point A to point B. There are also Speed Traps around the map which you can record your fastest time for others to beat. Also hidden along the map are barn finds, which are cars in derelict conditions which is a real thing i real life. You can restore and keep if you manage to find one in the game.

"But Captain N, where can I play this game?" On the 360 but I have some rather bad news. The game has since reached it's "End of Life" status as of October 20, 2016 meaning that the game and its dlc has since been delisted from the Xbox Store. Due to that the game is really hard to find at a decent price brand new but if you don't mind a used copy, then you can get it for under $20. The game also got a 4K support update on Xbox One so no doubt that is the best place to play it if you don't have a 360. 

Forza Horizon

             I was able to fulfill my dream of using my beloved AE86 in such a great game

Final Thoughts: Forza Horizon is definitely the best open world racing game I have ever played, no game comes close to it from the ones I have played. It had everything I could of ever wanted in an open world racing game and even things I didn't know I wanted but appreciate that they did. It's not just about pure racing as you can compete in various other events and you can do more things around that open-world map. Horizon straight up feels like an actual music festival with all the music and the selection of music is really good, you can just switch from any of the 3 radio stations and they all play different music. Or you can do what I did and eventually added the Initial D soundtrack later on which matches this game so well. Thank You developers for allowing me to do that.

I was really burned out of open-world racing games, the NFS game from 2012 was good but it wasn't quite what I was looking for since it felt like Burnout Paradise, just without the stunts and crashes. I suppose because I went to try it out sometime after I finished plaything through Burnout Paradise, so it probably added to me getting burnt out. I did love Burnout Paradise though don't get me wrong. NFS just hasn't been the same since 2010's excellent Hot Pursuit, every NFS game since Hot Pursuit just wasn't good and felt the franchise had lost its way. Maybe I was getting bored of the whole "illegal street racer" thing. But Forza Horizon completely blew me away and had exceeded all my expectations. It's that good and for me it set the bar high for open-world racing games. I'm well aware there are more Horizon games but yet to try them, don't have an Xbox One.

One of the best parts of the game in my personal opinion is just getting out there and just drive on that beautiful map. I would just choose a car and just drive around to admire the beautiful Colorado scenery whenever I wasn't racing and just needed a break from the action. Trust me, there's nothing like driving around at night in this game while listening to the music from the radio stations while seeing all the lights from the Horizon Festival in the distance. Heck one day I wanna go to the locations they used for inspiration in the game and just drive around like on a road trip.

Forza Horizon

           It's not always about the destination but rather the road you took to get there

There's just something oddly nostalgic and magical about this game, I had tears in my eyes when I was looking for the song that I was going to choose for this post. I feel like the game came at a perfect time in my life in 2016, as I met a new friend shortly after finishing. Was it a sign? I like to say it was.

Well that's it for this one. Stay tuned for number 3 after I finished coming back from this drive...



Super Step Contributing Writer

02/28/2020 at 05:30 PM

I really want to play those games. 


03/02/2020 at 08:13 PM

I was looking for a racing game I liked since Burnout Revenge when I was given Forza Horizon on a Games With Gold month. I tried it thinking it was going be another sim game like Forza Motorsport but a few minutes in I knew it was just the racing game I was looking for. I told Mark to try it at once and soon we were both ripping through Forza Horizon 1-3 and then got 4 day-one. It's got that right combination of actual racing challenge and zany over-the-top stunts that I like. But my favorite thing, like you, is just driving around the environment. I always get that All Roads achievement early on. 

I've also picked out my favorite car, the BMW X5 SUV, but there are so many cars in this game. There are a lot of great ones. 

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