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Xbox 360 racing does not get much better than that experienced in the Forza franchise of games.  Microsoft has managed to produce a series that hits a sweet spot of fun and simulation that satisfies a wide demographic of video game racing buffs.

A new developer, Playground Games has been introduced to take the reins -with guidance from Turn 10, the original Forza developer - of an open-world style racing game centred on a music festival in Colorado.

It is a reasonable premise to base a street racing game on.  The promotional blurb talks about the Horizon Festival as being a celebration of music, style and automotive culture, but the reality is that the Colorado desert around Red Rocks and surrounding towns makes an interesting place to try out some high powered street and off road racing.

The music festival manifests itself in the form of bands such as New Order, The Black Keys, Nero, Empire of the Sun, Artic Monkeys and LCD Soundsystem amongst many others across three in-game radio stations and at specific locations around the map.  The diversity of the music parallels the extent of choices that can be made in the racing.  

This is not like other Forza titles, there are 216 roads in the game to explore, some are winding mountainous highways, some are dirt roads flowing through farmyards and others are pedal-to-the-floor freeways where, seated in the right machinery, ludicrous straight line speeds can be achieved.

Rather than a series of circuit events, the structure of horizon is free-form.  Players can drive from one Festival Event to the next, competing to win points towards a new coloured wristband which in turn (in a true music festival way) opens up further events on the map.



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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.