Forza Horizon 3

When it comes to racing games, Xbox seem to have the market cornered, especially with the Forza series. This series is split into two separate branches, the original Forza Motorsports, a simulation based motor racing game that focuses on track racing, and the more recent Forza Horizon, the more fun, slightly arcade open world racer. Both branches of Forza are exceptionally good, and they take turns at getting a new edition released. 2016 is the year for the third installment of Forza Horizon.

Forza Horizon 3 follows the same basic core features of the previous two games, in that it’s an open world racer, built around the pretense of a festival that celebrates music and cars, and basically , having a good time. The big difference with Forza Horizon 3 is that rather than being a rising star out to prove themselves by beating everyone else, you are the festival director – who also happens to be pretty good behind the wheel. So now rather than having to beat people – though coming first does help – you have to get fans interested in your festival, and by doing so you will be able to open new locations and upgrade existing locations. The opening of new locations and the upgrading of locations has the same effect, unlocking more stuff to do.

All the good stuff is back, races, barn finds, speed cameras and bucket lists. But along with these are drift zones and danger signs – epic jumps that only crazy people would attempt.

Even better is that the game is set in Australia. The map is of course the biggest one yet, and encompass all that Australia is known for, beaches, small towns, rain forests, city streets and of course, the outback. From racing along beautiful sandy beaches to screaming down the main road in Surfers Paradise, Forza Horizon 3 will bring a smile to your face. Unless you hate racing games of course.

With such diverse locations you’d think the game might suffer graphically, but no, it’s down right jaw droppingly stunning. And not just in the scenery, but in the weather and day night cycles. From slipping round wet corners on slick rain forest roads, to racing down towards the beach as the sun rises through the morning mist, you’ll find your self wanting to stop and just taking in the amazing vistas. Forza Horizon 3 seriously looks that good.

And the cars, I could look up and tell you exactly how many cars there are, but who cares, I have 108 cars in my garage currently. I could have more, but I’m having enough fun with the ones I have. And each one handles and sounds different from each other. Better still, you can tinker and upgrade every car in the game. My Bugatti Veyron wasn’t quite fast enough to nail one of the speed zones, so I made it faster. It still needs some tinkering as I’ve found another speed zone that I need to squeeze 1 extra KM/h out of.

Online play has been broadened. You still have the same modes as in Forza Horizon 2, but now you also have online co-op mode for you and up to three mates. This is great because you can play with you mates no matter how far along the game they have progressed – as long as they have unlocked multiplayer – and the great thing with co-op is that you still get to accumulate fans. The only minor issue with co-op is that I was playing with a mate when the game triggered my last Horizon Challenge, and as I was the online leader, the game dragged my mate into the Challenge forcing him to race the last challenge despite only having yet completed the first one in his single player progress. Not that this caused him to miss out on anything else, it was just a bit weird.

Forza Horizon 3 is without a doubt the best balls to the wall fun you can have on the XBox and is by far the best racing game I have ever played.

Rating: G Suitable for general audiences.



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