FORZA HORIZON ★★★★
12 cert, Microsoft Studios/ Playground Games, Xbox 360 The Forza games have always been meticulous and playable, but by moving beyond the racetrack, Forza Horizon has given the franchise a welcome change of direction. This open-world racer kicks off in summertime Colorado, where road races are in full swing. Climb the ladder and fame, money and cars become available. As well as countless vehicles and 216 roads, Forza Horizon has some unique garnishes, such as Kinect voice commands and “rewind”. Not everyone likes the latter, but I do. Forza Horizon is developed for and by petrol-heads, with elaborate upgrades, admirable attention to detail and a rich online world. But Clarkson levels of knowledge are not essential; it’s a perfectly fun game if all you want to do is burn rubber. Speedy, user-friendly and beautifully presented, Forza Horizon is also a nice choice for winter gaming, thanks to its sunburnt setting, music-fest backdrop and desert vistas.
JOE GRIFFIN MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER ★★
16 cert, EA, PS3. Also Xbox The newest instalment in the Medal of Honor series continues the present-day trend for the once historically focused series. Pitting itself against the like of Call of Duty is a brave move. Warfighter isn’t bad. It manages to tick all the boxes in terms of explosions and gunfire, and memorable monickers for the main characters. But you just feel like there’s something missing. You don’t learn enough about Preacher to care about him or with anyone he comes into contact . Warfighter is adequate but nothing spectacular. You’ll probably enjoy playing through the campaign – if you can ignore the occasional bugs – but there isn’t enough to make this stand out from the genre pack. When Medal of Honor first hit the shelves, it was compelling; Warfighter just doesn’t come up to the same standard. The multiplayer mode is infinitely better. Get stuck into the online mode. CIARA O’BRIEN