Forza Motorsport
Image Source: Turn 10 Studios

Forza Motorsport vs Horizon: All Differences, Explained

It's a race to the top!

It is no surprise that ‘Forza’ actually means ‘strength’ in Italian, as this racing sim has become bigger and better since it was released over two decades ago. The series continues to be one of the most successful motorsport franchises to date, with many entries enjoying praise from fans globally. Its two main series, each with multiple titles released over the years, are Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon. But what makes these two games different?

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Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport Differences, Explained

Finding Horizon 3 Festival Site in Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon: Image Source: Playground Games

Forza have brought us two excellent racing sims, Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon, and each series stands out in its own unique way. There are key differences between the titles, with one appealing to a more traditional crowd and the other existing for pure, unadulterated entertainment.

The one you should choose will depend entirely on what you are looking for in a racing game, so we have laid out how Horizon and Motorsport differ from each other in specific areas.

Style

Forza Motorsport keeps its focus tuned to closed circuit racing on both real and imagined tracks. The tracks are straight up regular tarmac experiences with realistic handling and appealing to the more serious racing fan. If you prefer a more serious, disciplined, and professional race, then Forza Motorsport is the best choice.

Forza Horizon is a more of an entertainment-based racing sim where the handling is less rigidly authentic. The races are more diverse than in Motorsport too, with an open-world style focused more on fun than realism. This title may well appeal to slightly younger gamers, but it is by no means a kids game.

Gameplay

Forza Motorsport is quite traditional in its approach to the gameplay. There are the usual mode choices such as Time Trials, Drag Races, and Circuits, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a professional racing game. The moment to moment gameplay for Motorsport, meanwhile, is all about realism, precision, and being the best driver you can be. Progression is all about striving for perfection from yourself and your car, but more on that later!

On the other hand, Forza Horizon brings mayhem to the racing world with a variety of gameplay modes including open-world races and goofy challenges with tricks and jumps. As mentioned before, Horizon focusses more on entertainment rather than accuracy, so its no surprise the gameplay reflects that with a slightly looser understanding of driving and physics.

Saying that, they do still try to keep it in the basic realms of reality; just with a creative twist, let’s say. Even the progression has a streak of silliness running through with the need for ‘accolades’ and adoring fans.

Forza Motorsport Takes to the Racetrack This October
Forza Motorsport: Image Source: Turn 10 Studios

Cars

When it comes to cars, Forza Motorsport has a great range of real models to choose from. Its roster spans the classic 1970s McLaren M23 to the powerful 2023 Lotus Emira. The cars available are all real-life vintage and modern motors, and are as close in specs to their real world counterparts as possible. The further you progress, the more amazing motors you can purchase.

Forza Horizon also has a really decent range of cars, but to a much larger scale compared to Motorsport. This is mostly down to the fact the car list includes a whole host of fictional cars. You can race with the Aston Martin DB5 for one race and then move onto using the Hot Wheels Bone Shaker. The more you play, the more ridiculous the vehicles you can unlock.

Tracks

As for tracks, Forza Motorsport brings accurate and professional racing with an amazing range of licensed real-world circuits as well as fictional racetracks. There are famous racing circuits such as Le Mans and Nürburgring, as well as the fictional but functional Maple Valley and Grand Oak Raceway. Although there are only 20 full circuits, each is reimagined in multiple ways to create fresh and fun experiences. Every race is also affected by changing weather and temperatures, keeping the realism at its core.

Forza Horizon brings a little more of an arcade vibe to the Forza name with an open world street-racing style system. There are circuit races to participate in, but these are set on public roads and not in recognizable tracks. There is also the choice to compete in rally style races, or even point-to-point type competitions, all set in the fictional open world environment.

The open world style lends itself well to a more relaxed approach to the generated race tracks, and lets players drift and jump to their heart’s content.

Forza Horizon 5 Race
Forza Horizon: Playground Games via Twinfinite

Progression System

Forza Motorsport’s progression system is based on how well you drive as well as how well you do in the race. It isn’t just enough to come in first place; you also have to make sure you perfect that turn, and accelerate at the precise moment. All of these elements earn you Car Points (CP). The closer you are to perfection, the more CP you will earn to spend on that specific car.

Those points are then spent on parts which will upgrade that car to become faster, better looking, and with increased handling. As is expected with this title, the progression is focused on a more realistic way of upgrading your vehicle and becoming a better driver.

Forza Horizon has a progression system based on gaining Accolades and unlocking fun, new events and amazing vehicles. Accolades can be won by racing, cruising through the streets, and participating in tasks and competitions such as online racing. Accolades are then spent on upgrading or unlocking areas, expanding the game even further for the player. As well as Accolades, players can gain Skill Points and experience.

This is a more traditional type of progression you’ve probably seen before and is based around levelling up as a racer. Each time you gain experience and skill points, you level up. When you level up, you gain a spin of a wheel which grants you a reward like a new car or a decal.

Those are the main differences between Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport. We hope this guide has gone some way in helping you decide which title you will choose! We recommend eventually getting both though, as they are completely different animals and will suit whatever mood you are in.

For more Forza hype and news, check out our guides below. Otherwise, stay tuned to Twinfinite for all the latest news and coverage related to your favorite racing games.


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Author
Rowan Jones
Rowan is a writer from Devon, U.K with a BA in Education Studies. The first video game Rowan fell in love with was Treasure Island Dizzy on the ZX Spectrum but has since progressed to bigger and better titles. She has been writing game guides for mobile and console since 2020 within Gamurs Group. Rowan has a love/hate relationship with Dead By Daylight and a completely healthy obsession with Fortnite.