The Forza Horizon series is widely considered to be the best in the open world racing genre. But which gameplay features make it so outstanding?
Photo credit: Microsoft / Playground Games
Iconic and beautiful settings, a gigantic car pool and open worlds with countless opportunities for racing, drifting or just having fun: there are a lot of reasons why racing fans love the Forza Horizon games. Since its inception, the franchise has produced some of the best gameplay features in the history of open world racing games. With the fifth installment hitting the market on November 9, it is time to take a look at the coolest parts of the Forza Horizon games so far.
The search for classic cars through barn finds
Since the very first game, barn finds have been a part of Forza Horizon. Barn finds are abandoned cars which players can find in undisclosed locations. These vehicles – just like barn finds in real life – are mostly true gems of bygone eras, classics cars like the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, the 1927 Bentley 4 ½ litre or the Jeep Willys MB. Adding these to your garage or driving them around the area is pure joy for every car enthusiast. And in addition, barn finds are a great reason to explore the off-track sections of the map.
The changing of the seasons
Throughout its history, Forza Horizon has made giant leaps in terms of environmental development. In its second instalment, dynamic weather was introduced, making Forza Horizon 2 the first of any of the Forza games to include this feature.
Just four years later, not only the weather but the seasons would change for all players in Forza Horizon 4. This meant that, for example, during the winter season you were able to drive on a frozen lake which had been impassable in other seasons. The changing seasons kept players interested over a long period of time by adding and removing certain racing opportunities and changing the rules and feel of the game in general.
Creating art in the livery editor
In Forza Horizon, it’s not always just about your car’s performance but about its look as well. The Forza franchise has always provided players with a solid set of painting tools. However, not even the developers could imagine the incredible liveries some community members were about to create.
The Mandalorian, Hellboy or even the Mona Lisa. Talented artists have turned almost every motive in art and popculture into a livery. One artist called PTG Fox even started animating in the paint booth, spending months to create short clips with the Forza livery editor. If you want to dive deeper into the topic of livery creation, read our portrait on PTG Fox here.
A shared world with other players
Exploring and racing is most fun when you do it together. In Forza Horizon 4, developer Playground Studios introduced the shared world as a new feature. When cruising through a fictional version of Great Britain, players were now able to drive alongside friends or strangers online. You can also sweep the streets as a convoy and easily enter races together.
Additional events like the “Forzathon” would also bring new challenges alongside, for example breaking the speed trap on a certain street section. The introduction of the shared world marked another big step in the evolution of the series as it was finally pushing the game’s identity towards the online experience.
The lively open world
Within the last few years, a lot of games have suffered from maps becoming bigger and bigger. Games like Metal Gear Solid V, Mafia 3 or Mass Effect: Andromeda were big disappointments because developers failed to fill the ever-growing worlds with life and interesting missions.
Forza Horizon, however, has accomplished the opposite: delivering a world rich in variety and detail, while growing bigger with every new edition of the game. From beautiful landscapes, to changing seasons, a broad set of missions and races and other drivers crossing your path in the shared world: Forza Horizon actually feels alive and as if there is always something new to discover, even after a lot of playtime. The open world thus has become the key selling point of the franchise and its biggest strength.
Forza Horizon 5 is sure to add some new cool features as well. Head back to OverTake for more Forza Horizon content in the coming weeks!
What is your favorite feature in the Forza Horizon series? Tell us your opinion by leaving a comment down below or send us a tweet @overtake_gg!