An In-Depth Look at Forza Horizons @ E3 2012

The general consensus at the table by the window was that the overall experience of driving in an open-world environment that in addition to presenting some of the most spectacular scenery that you could ask for, it being a mixture of terrains including plains, mountains, hills, and everything in between. They shared that the game includes pretty much every example of road type in it that you can actually find in the area of the world in which the game takes place -- which is Colorado in the USA. The different challenge levels between highway driving, city driving, and off-road driving in the country and wilderness (and they did confirm that there is a fair variety of off-road driving routes and surfaces) means that the game is going to offer players an exciting range of driving experiences.

One question that we wanted to ask and that we kept coming back to was the setting in the game, which if it is actually like what was explained to us consists of a sort of melding of traditional car culture activities, as well as an artificially structured set of activities, from showing your car off in the parking lot of the festival site to pitting it against cars driven by AI drivers with whom you have developed a rivalry that easily leads to unofficial interaction that is not part of the semi-official festival racing events.

Forza Driving -- Over the Horizon
The hands-on demo at E3 showcases the different modes that are available in the game, most notably arcade style (which means lots of assists) and simulation mode, which pretty much means that you will find yourself in control of every aspect of the process. At E3 the basic demo consisted of the drive from where you start to the festival location -- which while it was fun barely allowed for us to really open up the car and see what it could do.

The game was played with the standard gamepad controller and not with a racing wheel, but thanks to our long experience with other racing games and the difference between driving using the pad and driving using a wheel and pedals suggests that the fun will exponentially increase using the wheel in combination with the simulation mode, but at the same time the arcade mode of driving fits the gamepad much better, since the extra effort of using the wheel actually would potentially detract from the experience.

A very enthusiastic preview of the pre-order bonus offerings for Forza Horizon from YouTuber UpsideDownAce, who has a well established reputation on the video sharing service for his intense and emotion-centric reviews, previews, and commentary and for being something of a motorhead.

One of the consequences of the current generation of game consoles being near their end-of-life was a much more subdued E3 when we compare it to previous years. Even compared to last year the excitement levels were lower this year, we suspect due to the fact that there were no massively game-changing titles on the way -- as much of the excitement for the other games on display at the expo was naturally subdued due to their being next series offerings. For instance it would not be fair to characterize gamers at the expo as not being excited about the next Hitman, the next Halo, the next Assassin's Creed, because they were and are, but the list of "next games" honestly felt endless, and because they are sequels that represent games we already know what to expect from, the excitement levels were sensibly diminished.

When the subject was a new offering -- or what is being experienced as a new offerings -- and the subject was games like Forza Horizon, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, The Last of Us, and Injustice: Gods Among Us, even though some of those games have tenuous attachments to established game series' they are also unique and beautiful snowflakes in their own respect, and that is reason enough to be excited.

In the months following E3 much of what we learned unofficially and through our contacts with insiders who we interacted with outside of the official event has been verified, and in addition to that new information has been obtained that continues to flesh-out the game and its importance, and we suspect how it will be received by the gaming community -- and while much of that information is covered by embargo, what we can say is that Forza Horizon is certainly a mixed bag. We have absolutely no doubts that it is going to greatly disappoint the hard core Forza Motorsports gamers who are hoping for the next game in that traditional series with only the name being different, because Horizon is certainly not that. On the other hand gamers who come willing to be pleased will find much to be pleased about, and that is saying something.

October is not far away, and we have been told that in the weeks that span the here and now to the date of its release more and deeper information will be offered, and when it is you can be sure that we will share it with you, but for now you can take our word that you will not have to feel bad about feeling excited about this new racing game!

Posted: 20th Aug 2012 by CMBF
Forza Horizon, Xbox 360, E3, 2012,