Review: Forza Horizon 3, racing through the land down under

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Forza Horizon 3 Lamborghini on Beach

Forza Horizon 3 Lamborghini on Beach

Forza Horizon 3 is the latest game in the series from Playground Games and they went for broke. More cars, a massive map, improved character customization, drop-in co-op and more, make this the biggest and most ambitious Horizon game to date. It’s also one of the most amazing looking games I have seen on the Xbox One.

The Forza series of games is well known and much loved by fans. The Forza Motorsport games, are the cream of the crop when it comes to racing simulators on Xbox. Whereas the Forza Horizon games offer an open world experience and can also cater to a more casual racing fan, while also proving a great racing games for die hard driving game enthusiasts. The first game in the Forza Horizon series was released in 2012 and follows a fictitious racing racing festival called The Horizon Festival. The first game had the festival set in Colorado and the second game Forza Horizon 2 had the festival set in Europe, mainly Northern Italy and Southern France.

Game Details

forza-horizon-3-coverPlatform: Xbox One, Windows 10 PC
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Genre: Racing, Open World
Modes: single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

The latest game in the series brings the Horizon Festival to Australia. Since this is the newest release in the series, it is the biggest game in the series with an open world map said to be twice as large as the previous games map. Forza Horizon 3 also feature 350 cars, available right from when the game launched. Also unlike the previous games you will be not only be participating in the Horizon Festival, you will be also one of its organizers. This means not only can you customize your character but many elements of the Horizon Festival as well.

Forza has so many cars and so much customization

forza-horizon-3-details

The Horizon Festival is an amazing showcase of not only racing event but also amazing cars. They have got cars in this game, from every corner of the globe, every single one of them replicated with such care and rendered splendidly on the Xbox One. The cars available in the game range from European supercars to American muscle, neither those your fancy how about some hot hatchbacks or hop in a dune buggy and race across the beaches of the Australian gold coast. Regardless of what kind of driver you are there is a car here for you in Forza Horizon 3 and a perfect event for you to drive it in.

Along with all these amazing cars comes lots of customization. There is a lot to list so I will forgo all the details, but there is tons there and more than enough to keep you going long into your racing career. Along with the car customization, character customization has been improved from the previous game.  Granted it’s not much but still a step up, before in Forza Horizon 2 there was a single default avatar, whereas now we have a list to choose from along with a decent list of names, male, female and some fun nicknames too. It’s not amazing but honestly we are not here to make the perfect driver avatar after all.

A setting like no other

Forza Horizon 3 Chopper Buggy

Every game in the Forza Horizon series brings the festival to more expansive and breathtaking vistas. Forza Horizon 3’s Australian landscapes are absolutely amazing, even when blazing past at well over 300 kph. Every detail they added to the world brings this game to life, be it individual houses in the residential neighborhood, to the amazing sunsets on the coast the world they created is as vast as it is detailed. Even though the game is locked at 30fps on Xbox One, it looks fantastic, but for those pure racing fans you can really push the frame rate and graphics with the PC version, since Forza Horizon 3 is also available on Windows 10.

Forza plays great alone or with friends

Even with all the cars, customization options and the amazing world, if the game didn’t play right, we would have some huge problems. Luckily that is not the case with Forza Horizon 3. All the cars handle great which is no surprise for a Forza game, however the game’s biggest strength play wise, lies in you being one of the event organizers. The game knows what kind of cars you enjoy racing and tailor the events to play to your strengths, however you can skip what the game wants you to do completely rescript the event itself. Using this feature, Horizon Blueprint, you can select all aspects of your ideal event. The weather, the time, the type of competition and even the name are all customizable. You can even complete events your friends have customized for rewards as well.

forza-horizon-3-gameplay

You can experience everything the game has to offer completely solo with no penalties whatsoever. However a game this big and beautiful is best played with friends. Forza Horizon 3’s multiplayer is seamless drop in/out multiplayer, which also now includes co-op career play. This means you and friends can complete events together and they will remain unlocked across both multiplayer and single player game modes. As an added bonus you can play cross platform from Xbox One to PC.

A step up in authenticity

tmx-pro-in-boxIt’s worth noting I spent most of my time playing Forza Horizon 3 with the Thrustmaster TMX Pro Racing Wheel for Xbox One/PC. This steering wheel and pedal combo offered an easy way to get a much more realistic feeling and was totally supported by the game. Even though playing with a controller is a great experience, going the extra step not only felt more legit, it also made me a much better player, as events I thought I could never beat when playing with a controller, were no challenge when I was behind the wheel and pushing the pedal to the metal.For more information on the Thrustmaster line of racing wheels check out my more in depth review here.

Final Thoughts

After playing Forza Horizon 3 as much as I have lately I can honestly say I was hooked. The open world format very much fit my style of play, as the more simulator style racing games get boring fast in my books. The setting was amazing along with all the cars, everything in this game speaks volumes on the care and attention to detail this team put into making this game. If you play one racing game this fall Forza Horizon 3 should be it.

+ Amazing graphic and settings

+ So many cars

+ Great single player and multiplayer experiences

OVERALL

Gameplay: 5/5

Graphics: 5/5

Sound: 4/5

Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5

Overall Rating 4.75/5 (95%)

Being a child of the 80s Brad grew up playing any and all video games he could get his hands on from the 8 and 16 bit era. As he grew older, video games turned into a life passion. He now works as the QA Lead for one of Toronto’s leading mobile developers. Aside from playing any and all video games he can fit into his hectic schedule, Brad is also a DJ. He enjoys playing some of today’s latest and greatest electronic dance music at clubs here in the city.