Forza Horizon 5 puts gamers behind the virtual wheel and transports them to Mexico. That got us thinking about some other memorable driving adventures; whether it’s on the track or out in the wilderness, racing games give players an opportunity to visit familiar and exotic locations.
Where have you been? Where would you like to see the Horizon series go next? Let us know in the comments.
Architecture such as this can only really be appreciated at 150 mph.
Liam | Britain, Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 came along at a time when I was living in Amsterdam, and though I considered that city home, it was nice to be able to revisit Britain in video game form.
While the Lake District inspired vistas and streets of Edinburgh were well realised, I didn’t feel any emotional connection to them. However, much of the regular countryside you drive through in FH4, particularly in the southern areas of the map, looks remarkably like where I grew up in the south of England.
It was a joy to suddenly be able to tear around a landscape so reminiscent of my home. Basic items that I’d encountered many times over the years, such as barriers, road markings and signposts, were suddenly loaded with nostalgia. I even picked some of the more bog-standard vehicles to fully replicate my youth (my household was (and still is) sadly lacking in the supercar department).
I’ve since moved back to England, so all those everyday road items once again seem just that, but it was nice to be able to view them through the lens of nostalgia, if only for a little while. Now, if Playground Games could set the next Horizon game in the Netherlands, that’d be great.
Yep, just like home.
Sam | Paradise City, Burnout Paradise
I’ve never really been into racing games. It’s one of those genres where I’m happy to let entries pass me by, even as they get rave reviews; driving is almost never a central hook, but rather a small component that can complement larger scale projects. One notable exception, however, is Criterion Games’ Burnout Paradise.
In discovering Paradise City I found a playground that was actually fun for my tastes. Speeding down busy roads at breakneck pace, jumping and smashing through billboards, wrecking competitors by ramming them into obstacles - all set to a classic rock soundtrack.
While Paradise City isn’t a real location, like London or Prague, it’s basically an amalgamation of iconic places in the United States. As a result, the game feels like a quintessential North American road trip and is a treat for fans of all things Americana.
Burnout Paradise Remastered makes the modern classic easily accessible, while also presenting the best rendition of Paradise City yet - it’s a win-win situation. Now, if only EA would greenlight a sequel instead of having Criterion helm the middling Need for Speed franchise.
It must be difficult building brand awareness in Paradise City with all the billboard destroying going on.
What's your favourite driving adventure?