Forza Horizon vs. Forza Motorsport: Which is Better?

Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsports have long been the heavyweights in the racing game genre. While both are under the 'Forza' banner, they provide notably different experiences for players.

Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon are two of the most popular Xbox Game Studios racing game series. Each features a ton of high-octane sprints, sleek cars, and custom liveries. This article will demonstrate the differences between Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon and will help you decide which one is right for you.

While both Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport offer immersive simulation experiences, the differences between them are noticeable. Forza Motorsport is more serious and focuses on realistic racing physics closed race tracks, while Forza Horizon offers more entertainment with its sandbox style and easier handling.

Forza Horizon vs. Forza Motorsport: Which is Better? 6

What Is Forza?

Forza is the flagship series of Microsoft’s racing franchise. It combines impeccable open-world racing with brilliantly designed mechanics that factor in terrain, weather, and handling of its 500+ cars.

For those diving into the adrenaline-packed universe of racing video games, the name ‘Forza’ likely rings a bell. Developed by Xbox Game Studios, Forza has established itself as a premier name in the genre, offering players a spectrum of driving experiences that cater to both casual gamers and hardcore car enthusiasts.

At its core, the Forza franchise can be divided into two distinct realms: Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon.

What is Forza Motorsport?

Forza Motorsport offers players a simulation-based experience of driving high-speed vehicles on renowned tracks. The game is known for its meticulous attention to detail, including intricately detailed car models, authentic driving physics, and pristine recreations of globally celebrated race tracks. It is the go-to game for those seeking an immersive and challenging driving experience akin to what one might experience behind the wheel of a real supercar on a Grand Prix circuit.

What is Forza Horizon?

Forza Horizon, on the other hand, takes place in vast, fictionalized landscapes based on real-world locations. The game blends realism with arcade elements, allowing for a laid-back yet engrossing experience. Dynamic weather, day-night cycles, and exploration make Horizon a playground for all types of gamers.

Overall, Forza is not only a racing game but also a celebration of cars, speed, and exploration. It offers something for everyone, from purists seeking an authentic track experience to those who enjoy a cross-country drive under a setting sun. Its versatility and depth make it a must-try for anyone interested in racing games.

What makes a good racing game?

Everyone has their own taste when it comes to racing video games. Some people love the feeling of being fully immersed in a realistic simulation, while others just want to experience the thrill of speed and excitement. What’s important is finding a game that strikes the right balance between fun gameplay, cool features, and eye-catching graphics.

Differences Between Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport

The main difference between these two Forza series is that Forza Motorsport is a more serious legit simulation racing game that uses closed circuits, real and fictional. The Forza Horizon games use open worlds with tons of different events to keep players engaged.

For instance, in the latest entry, you can play at a music festival that takes place across the map and enjoy dozens of radio stations, Top Gear-style showcase events, and more. The maps are huge in the Forza Horizon series, with many square kilometers of pristine scenery to discover and explore.

The cars also have a more forgiving handling model that makes the game easier to pick up and play. Nevertheless, crashing into things will still damage the car and affect its performance. You’ll earn car points for your driving style and level up your vehicle over time. However, some of the most impactful upgrades, like engine swaps, require higher levels.

FeatureForza HorizonForza Motorsport
GameplayOpen-worldTrack racing
Driving physicsArcadeSimulation
FeaturesExploration, customizationCompetition, tuning

Open-world vs. Track Racing

Forza Horizon offers players an open-world experience, allowing them to explore vast terrains, cities, and natural wonders. The joy of exploration and the freedom to roam are paramount. On the other hand, Forza Motorsport emphasizes track racing. Here, precision and understanding the circuit are crucial, offering a more structured racing experience.

Arcade vs. Simulation Driving Physics

Forza Horizon leans towards the arcade side of driving physics. While it remains grounded in reality, the focus is on excitement and fun. Forza Motorsport, in contrast, is a simulation. Every aspect of the drive – from the grip of the tires to the weight distribution of the car – aims to mimic real-life driving, providing a challenge for enthusiasts.


Both games are lauded for their impressive graphics. Forza Horizon paints a picturesque open world, with day-night cycles and dynamic weather. Forza Motorsport offers razor-sharp details on tracks, cars, and even pit stops, prioritizing the realism of a professional racing setting.

Art style

While Forza Horizon adopts a vibrant and often dreamy palette to emphasize the beauty of its open world, Forza Motorsport opts for a more realistic art style, highlighting the grit and intensity of track racing.

The Circuit Vehicles Liveries & Customization

As with previous Forza games, the more you drive a particular car, the more you’ll level it up and unlock more performance parts. In addition, both Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport allow players to apply custom liveries to any vehicle they own, although this feature is slightly more extensive in the former.

Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport reboot looks to be the most realistic racing sim the series has ever seen. It’s a serious racing game that prioritizes the granular details of how cars handle and drive, including tyre and fuel wear. Even simple changes like turning on the traction control or adjusting suspension settings make a difference. Forza Motorsport also adds proper pitstops to the mix, a major change that gives players a true sense of race strategy and makes for an utterly immersive experience.


Forza Motorsport takes the cake when it comes to realism. The cars’ intricacies, from their sounds to their handling, are carefully replicated. Forza Horizon, while realistic, often allows for more fantastical moments, like racing against a train or a jet.

Conclusion: Which game is right for you?

Deciding between Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport depends largely on personal preference. If you’re seeking an exciting, free-roaming experience with arcade-style fun, Forza Horizon is the pick. However, if you’re a racing purist looking for a deep simulation where mastering every nuance of a car and track is paramount, Forza Motorsport is the choice. Both are shining examples in the racing game genre; it’s all about what revs your engine!

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