Forza has been one of Microsoft’s biggest, most prestigious franchises for pretty much as long as it’s been around, and it’s easy to see why. Ever since its inception over a decade and a half ago, the series has consistently put out great games in whatever form it’s taken, to the extent that, for the most part, even at its lowest point, it’s been far, far from bad. With Forza Horizon 5 coming out soon and looking extremely promising, here, we’re going to take a look back at all the Forza games to have ever come out, and rank them from worst to best.
#12. FORZA STREET
An easy pick for the lowest spot in this list. Forza Motorsport has consistently offered excellent simulation mechanics, while Horizon is an incredible arcade series, but Forza Street is really neither here nor there. It doesn’t help that it’s a mobile-only title, which means that it’s lacking in the sort of mechanical perfection, polish, and visual fidelity the series has traditionally been known for. It’s an extremely simplified experience that doesn’t do much of anything you’d expect a Forza game to do. Thankfully, it’s not technically a mainline entry, so it’s rather easy to completely overlook.
#11. FORZA MOTORSPORT 5
As the first Forza game to release for the Xbox One, Forza Motorsport 5 was well-positioned to really leverage the new console to deliver an excellent experience, but the game turned out to be a bit of a letdown, especially coming off of the excellent Forza Motorsport 4. It looked great, the audio design was typically excellent, new features like Drivatars and Forzavista were introduced, and the cars felt really good to drive, but the game was crippled by a shockingly small roster of vehicles and a disappointing lack of track variety at launch.
#10. FORZA MOTORSPORT
The one that started it all. The first Forza Motorsport’s legacy is impossible to oversell, and for fans of racing sims, this was a landmark release. At a time when Gran Turismo ruled the roost, Forza Motorsport came along and defied all expectations by not only delivering an excellent racing sim, but one that was genuinely great enough to be able to go up against Gran Turismo and provide some meaningful competition. Being 16 years old and having been improved upon by numerous sequels, it’s a little hard to go back to now, but the game deserves massive props for setting down solid foundations for the franchise.
#9. FORZA MOTORSPORT 6
After the backlash that Forza Motorsport 5 received at launch for its issues, Turn 10 Studios knew they needed to come back strong with a proper statement- Forza Motorsport 6 wasn’t exactly a strong statement that could make people sit up and take notice, but it was an improvement. The selection of vehicles and tracks was much better, the visuals were beautiful, and the career mode and online were a blast. Mechanically, Forza Motorsport 6 wasn’t as polished in terms of its sim aspects as some other games in the series, which made it a bit of an inconsistent experience, but by and large, this was a really good game.
#8. FORZA HORIZON
Forza Horizon was an interesting and risky experiment for Microsoft’s racing series. After having made a name for itself with four excellent racing sims, with Forza Horizon, the series decided to do something different, delivering a more arcade style of racing in an open world environment. It’s fair to say that the experiment worked out, thanks to excellent driving mechanics and a world that was an absolute joy to simply drive around in. The first Forza Horizon has been improved upon by all of its successors, so by default it feels a little aged, but even so, it’s still a blast to play even today.
#7. FORZA MOTORSPORT 2
Forza Motorsport 2 had a lot of expectations to live up to, not only because it had to build on the success of its groundbreaking predecessor, but also because it was the series’ debut on the Xbox 360, and it succeeded very nearly in everything that it set out to do. It looked and sounded gorgeous, its tracks and cars were brimming with details, the roster of vehicles was vast and varied, and the mechanical polish and sheer range of customization options in the game were staggering, especially for its time.
#6. FORZA HORIZON 2
Forza Horizon 2 didn’t have the novelty factor of the first Horizon game, which meant it didn’t make nearly as big of a splash as its predecessor did, but it was more than a worthy successor, and an excellent evolution of the series’ open world arcade racing branch. The freedom and arcade-style racing that Horizon 1 established were taken to even greater heights in the sequel, while the open world featured here was also absolutely gorgeous and just a pleasure to drive around in. Sadly, the Xbox 360 version of the game as a bit of a mess, to the extent that it almost felt like a completely different game.
#5. FORZA MOTORSPORT 3
As great as the first two Forza games were, it was with Forza Motorsport 3 that the series really came into its own. Turn 10 established the formula that the series would continue to be built on for years to come, and it was with Forza Motorsport 3 that the franchise really solidified its identity and emerged as a true and proper contender to the racing sim throne. Excellent cars, tracks, driving mechanics, career mode, and more came together to deliver what was and still remains one of the best racing sims of its time.
#4. FORZA MOTORSPORT 7
Forza Motorsport hit a relative slump in its Xbox One era, but at least it ended strong. Forza Motorsport 7 wasn’t perfect, no – the microtransactions at launch, for instance, were a bit of nuisance – but in most ways that matter, this might just be one of the best renditions of the Forza formula. Visually spectacular, absolutely overflowing with a ridiculously large selection of vehicles, packed full of content that could keep you busy for dozens upon dozens of hours, Forza Motorsport 7 was a great return to form for the series. Driving mechanics were more polished and refined than ever before, the career mode was excellent, the progression system was genuinely engaging, and the introduction of dynamic weather was an exciting new addition.
#3. FORZA HORIZON 3
Like Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon really hit its stride with its third instalment. The first two Horizon games are spectacular open world racers though, so that should tell you something about how good the third one was. Australia was an excellent open world setting, not just in terms of size, but also in terms of variety, while the driving mechanics were also better and smoother than ever. It was with Forza Horizon 3 that many started wondering whether the spinoff Forza series had surpassed the mainline games, and it’s easy to see why- this is easily one of the best racing games ever made.
#2. FORZA MOTORSPORT 4
The absolute pinnacle of the Forza Motorsport line of games. Turn 10 kept on consistently improving on the formula with each progressive game in the series’ earlier years, and with Forza Motorsport 4, ended up crafting a veritable masterpiece. Excellent variety in tracks and cars, a ridiculous level of detail that exhibited a true love for the craft, the most polished driving mechanics the series had ever had up until that point- for all of these reasons and more, Forza Motorsport 4 is not only the best Motorsport game, it might even arguably be the best racing sim ever made. It’s that good.
#1. FORZA HORIZON 4
When Forza Horizon spun off from the mainline series, no one could have expected that it would go on to surpass the Motorsport line of games. By the time Horizon 3 came out, the subseries did start hinting at that level of quality- and with Horizon 4, it just blew everyone out of the water. Open world Britain is beautiful, massive, full of varied sights and sounds, and densely packed with a vast variety of consistently enjoyable activities, from excellent racing events to buying houses to competing against Drivatars to just aimlessly driving around the open world. Add to that the ingenious seasons mechanic, which completely changes the world in fundamental ways, and you also get an insane amount of dynamism in the experience. Forza Horizon 4 is easily one of the best racing games ever made, if not the best, and we’d be lucky to see Horizon 5 coming anywhere close to that level.