The lights are on
Forza Horizon is a big game with lots to do, and it would be great if you had a co-pilot to help you around the game's virtual Colorado. Check out how SmartGlass tries to fill that role in Forza Horizon.
First of all, setting up SmartGlass is easy. The slight caveat here is that you need to use the same Windows Live/Gamertag on the remote device (PC, tablet, phone) as your console. For most this won't be a problem, as it's simply a matter of plugging in the email and password of your Gamertag on the remote device.
BTW, we connected to our 360 with a Windows 8 PC. The iOS app for SmartGlass isn't available at the time of this writing (and Android isn't confirmed yet), although the features on it are the same.
Once you've installed and started up SmartGlass on the remote device, you must click into the game you're going to synch with in the app's main menu. There are other things here such as separate menus for featured items, media content like TV shows and movies, and a list of recent games.
Once you're in the game itself, you can see your Achievements, set a beacon invite for friends, see the game's extra content and DLC, and take a look at a list of supposedly related games.
Synching up with Forza Horizon didn't take long, and once you are, the game's map will appear on your remote device.
You can zoom in/out of the map, filter the events you want shown on it, see the game's controls layout, and also center on your location. The map records where you are in the game in real time, and it's cool to see the map's GPS track you as you drive around in the game.
You can set routes to any event on the map via the remote device, and you can see that event's info, like how many credits you'll earn if you win. You can also set a route to a location on the map via your device (and vice versa), and it will show up on the in-game map. The one thing that will only appear on the in-game map but not on SmartGlass are the barn find areas. These are grey circles on the map where you've been told you can find abandoned cars if you search for them.
While not having to pause the game and dive into a different menu to look at a map is undoubtedly handy, it's also not that convienant to take your eyes off the road to look down at your phone/tablet/PC. You might have to pull over on the side of the road to look at the SmartGlass map, but doesn't that defeat SmartGlass' ostensible convenience of not having to go into a pause screen in the first place?
I guess you'll have to enlist a co-pilot to help you SmartGlass your way around the game. Lucky them.
SmartGlass for Windows 8 and Forza Horizon are available now.
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