Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 254 - Forza Horizon 1

Forza Horizon 1 (and to a lesser extent FH2) is usually forgotten when talking about the Horizon franchise, which is a shame because it's really good. Sure, it's not Horizon 3 and 4 beautiful with perfect sim-cade racing gameplay, but it still holds up incredibly well and is loads of fun to play. It also looks surprisingly great on Xbox One X, too. Read more and watch gameplay video right here.

Forza Horizon 1 is probably the most pure of the Horizon games. It is 100% focused on racing and collecting cars. You aren't running the festival. Your rewards aren't freaking stupid avatar clothes that literally no one sees. It's just you and your cars and a quest to race from the bottom of the rankings to the top. The game also has an actual progression system where the races get harder and the stakes get bigger as you play through the game. It really feels like an adventure where your character gets stronger and there's even a "boss" race at the end that is one of the most epic experiences of my entire racing game life.

The other Horizon games started to focus less and less on the pure racing. Horizon 2 introduced the offroad races, which sucked. Horizon 3 was about running the festival more than actually racing. And Horizon 4 isn't about racing at all - or at least the races aren't the focus anymore. I'm sorry, but I actually like racing and not all of the other fluff. 

Even one of the most spectacular things about the Horizon games - the showcase events where you race against a train or helicopter or whatever - peaked with Horizon 1. Back in Horizon 1 they were unexpected and awe inspiring and cool. Then they just re-hashed them in 2,3, and 4 and they aren't remotely interesting anymore. 

Horizon 1 has the most arcade-y gameplay of the series, which I like. I also quite like the map as well. Sure, being plopped down in middle of nowhere Colorado means there aren't really any landmarks or anything recognizable, but it was fine and offers more terrain variety than you'd expect. 

The visuals are also still quite impressive despite being a 2012 Xbox 360 game. It is smooth and clean and nice looking, particularly on Xbox One X where it's surprisingly sharp thanks to an X1X Enhanced upgrade. 

Despite all of this, however, everyone forgets about Forza Horizon 1. It's all 3 or 4 or nothing, and that's a shame. More people should give it a shot. Unfortunately, you can't buy it digitally anymore, but you can get a physical disc for a reasonable price.