Racing games like to make a lot of statements. Photo-realistic car models, dynamic tracks and evolving course layouts, authentic engine sounds, revolutionary physics engines, human-like AI opponents. It’s the nature of the genre. Because all of these features are expected out of the best racing games, its no surprise that the good racing franchises are consistently held to the same standards. Racing games are constantly evolving, but rarely do they stray from the course.
Maybe that’s why Forza Horizon is so refreshing. There have been other open-world type racing games before (Test Drive Unlimited, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Need for Speed Underground), but none felt as alive as the Horizon Festival in Colorado does.