Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)
Forza Horizon is a strange beast. On the one hand it's got Forza in the title, so you'd be forgiven for assuming that the realism and endless tinkering possibilities are present and correct. On the the other hand it's a pedal-to-the-metal arcadey racer with thrills and spills aplenty, almost more reminiscent of Need For Speed than the series from which it takes its name.
There's a story of sorts (the purpose of which continues to elude me) but it's accompanied by a wide array of events and challenges that you can select at any time, giving a sense of freedom to your driving. The physics, as you'd expect, are top-notch, and although the handling is more forgiving in some ways than the ultra-realistic original Forza version you would be foolish to expect an easy ride. The online racing is well crafted and sits comfortably alongside the single-player experience, although the offerings are, to be honest, rather meagre compared to the SP.
Visually the game is fantastic, with great pleasure to be gained just from driving around looking at the view(s). Discovering a new location and exploring roads less driven are joys in themselves. This is a game that easily swallows hours of play with no apparent effort.
Forza Horizon is a great game that offers something for racing veterans and newbies alike. Those expecting something similar to the last Forza title will be disappointed, so if you dig the realistic angle you might want to look elsewhere. But if you're looking for something a bit less arcade-like than NFS this is well worth checking out. 9/10