Forza Horizon 3

Xbox One, Windows

Developer: Playground Games


Background

Developer Playground Games delivers the third entry in the highly regarded racing franchise. After participating in Horizon Festival in Colorado, France and Italy, this installment sees the much loved festival head into the wild outback of Australia. Released to the Xbox One and Windows platforms on September 27th, 2016. Jump into the beautiful scenery and action of the Horizon Festival once more.


Story

This installment of the fast-paced racer, sees the player in a new role as the director of the festival as opposed to just one of the racers. The goal is not to be the best competitor at the festival but to compete in PR stunts and races to attract a larger audience and expand the festival to new heights. Using your arsenal of mechanical beasts, you will race in all manner of landscapes through out Australia. You will setup festival plots in numerous locations around the country and work to upgrade and expand each location by obtaining fans through your races, stunts and skills.

The various festival locations include:

  • Surfer’s Paradise: a cityscape that includes high traffic and tight turns. Perfect for those who crave the thrill of weaving in and out of traffic,
  • The Outback: dunes of sand and sprawling open fields where all you have to do is dodge trees. The best place for achieving that freeing feeling as you drive at 150mph+ over each hill.
  • Byron’s Bay: The first home of the Horizon on Australian soil. Race through the open road and transition to the coastline as you race up the beach watching the sun on the water as you kick up sand.
  • Yarra Valley: Race across the sprawling vineyards of Australia with the plains painting your eyes with a vibrant green, or race through the rainforest on dirt tracks weaving in and out of the trees.

Upon the expansion of these festivals, you will unlock more and more races and stunts to partake in throughout the surrounding area, allowing you more fun and more chances to view the environment. If you aren’t having as much fun alone then you can join an online adventure and partake in games and races with friends and strangers. This allows for the further connecting of the gamer community.


Small Beauties

Another aspect that Forza Horizon 3 nails right on the head is the small details about driving. My personal favorite little tidbit is the rain. Everything about the rain only serves to further the beauty of the game even in its smallest aspects. When the time came that a storm rolled in, I found myself marveling at the the raindrops as they hit my windshield and rolled off out of my view. However, when it comes to driving and racing, there is one thing that must always accompany the speed, and that is the radio.

Forza Horizon 3 has 8 different radio stations that you choose when to sign according to your own musical taste. Each of these stations comes with their own DJ and the realism of these DJs really is just something to marvel at. They will often talk on the radio in between songs talking about the happenings on the island, any barn find rumors they have heard, as well as commenting on whatever crazy PR stunts you have recently pulled. If the built in radio stations don’t excite you then there is one more station for you to listen to: Groove Radio. With Groove Radio you can sync up your own tunes and play them in game to maintain the realism but have a little more control over what plays. Finally we come to Forzathon, the limited time events that come with limited time unlocks and very large discounts on the items that apply. This helps to keep the game fresh even though there is probably a 100+ hours of gameplay available on this game, who doesn’t like more content and events.


Car List, Bucket List

Forza Horizon 3 has no shortage of automobiles for you to commandeer and conquer the outback’s greatest races in the way you want, with the machine you want. There are literally hundreds of cars for you to try out, buy, win, and sell. You can upgrade and tune your cars to fit your needs and make them way more competitive against better cars.

If you are looking for something a little more demanding yet freeing in your gameplay then look no more then the Bucket List challenges. These numerous challenges beg the question, if it was your last day on earth, what would you do and what would you do it in. These challenges are spread all out through Australia and will task the player with completing certain challenges with certain cars. Some of these tasks will involve breaking a certain speed limit or making a certain amount of points off of a stunt jump in a specific car.


Verdict: 9/10

As a person whose only previous positive experiences with racing games came from Mario Kart and Sonic and Sega All-Stars, I was of course skeptical of this game. I had not had a good time playing any realistic racing game during my entire gaming career, and yet here we have Forza Horizon 3 that took me and tossed me into the genre with an interesting story, entrancing graphics, a seemingly unending supply of activities, and of course a wide selection of cars. This game let me dive right in without a chance of hitting the bottom. Forza Horizon 3 is one of the most expansive and visually appealing games I have ever played. If you are fan of racing games in any respect.

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