With rave reviews coming from nearly-all notable game collectives, there’s a reason to why Forza Horizon has done so well in bridging the gap between fun open-world racers and a serious racing simulator.

We’ve been playing the game now (quite seriously might we add) on our racing rig, which consists of a Bucket seat and Fanatec Porsche wheel.

The game kicks off right in the action, having you race towards the ‘Horizon Festival’. The car you’re given at the start is always the same, and it’s a pretty sweet Corrado VR6. Tastefully modified too, might we add.

Upon arriving at the festival (that’s if you make it!) you’re briefed on the world that is Forza Horizon. The game functions with an open-world style of play, meaning you’re free to roam the vast hills of Colorado for interesting roads. And we’ve discovered that there are over 200 to drive around, so there’s plenty of exploring to be done.

One cool feature that we’ve noticed in the game is that credits are not that hard to earn. On all previous Forza installments, you had to spend the time entering numerous races to earn coin. And when you want to purchase cars and carry out engine swaps and aspiration conversions, it begins to get pricey.

In Horizon however, you can earn dosh by simply skidding around in free-roam mode, increasing your popularity and ‘level’ with in-game sponsors. Cracking handbrake- initiated drifts numerous times will result in a sponsor awarding you with credits. You’ll find your bank account rising past the six-figure mark pretty quickly.

And what can you do with this money? Lots. There are plenty of cool cars to pick from, and even more modifications to boot. Our 2JZ powered Ae86 (400 odd kilowatts, 900 odd kilos!) has no problem frying 6th whilst earning more money to spend. The game can become very addictive…

The world, or map, is huge. There is no other way to explain it. Thankfully enough, as you discover new places, you’ll come across outposts where you can quick travel to. There’s a catch to the quick travel though – to earn the right to do so for free, you need to complete a set of tasks which always includes a speed trap challenge. Awesome fun.

Modifications have still remained in the game, which is something we were all praying for. On top of that, engine swaps can still be carried out too. One aspect the developers have improved greatly over the previous Forzas’ is the visual tuning department. Matte finishes are now available, and the group vinyl creator is simplified – meaning creating cool little features such as custom number plates is a breeze (or in this case, a cactaur!).

Body kits and the customization of body work have also been slightly altered. You’ll find with most old cars, you can shave the front and rear bumpers to give a clean, period-correct racer look. Purchase a Volkswagen Beetle, head to the ‘spoilers and rear wing’ category, and have a look at what you can do… It’s pretty cool!

These are just some of the awesome features that are inside Forza Horizon, and probably the reason to why game critics seem to love it. It’s a game that sports plenty of re-playability, meaning you can spend countless hours having fun and enjoying the roads – setting your own rules and creating your own races.

Click here to visit the official Forza Horizon homepage.