Forza Horizon 3 Review: A Driving Masterpiece
FORZA HORIZON 3
- Giant open-world
- Huge car list
- Gorgeous visuals
- Top-notch soundtrack
- High specs needed to reach 60 fps on PC
- Too much DLC
If you're looking for a driving game this fall, Forza Horizon 3 offers one of the most exhilarating and satisfying racing experiences around on console or PC.
The Setup: Australia is your oyster
Each event gets a different marker, and when you complete the more that are currently availble, more pop up.Past games had you taking part in the Horizon Festival as a racer. But you know what's better than being a participant? Running the show yourself, because not only are you the person in charge, you're also its biggest star. That means you can set up races the way you want, or take part in preset courses that have you driving through cities and blasting through off-road courses. You can also complete Bucket List challenges, which, like the name implies, are life-defining events that are impossible to resist, such as racing trains and jumping over rivers.
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After every race or challenge, your feats will earn you cash (for buying new cars and parts), experience (for unlocking new skills and abilities) and the loving adoration of new fans. The better you drive, the more fans you get, and eventually, when you have enough, you'll be able to expand the Horizon Festival to additional venues. This lets you explore various regions across Australia, from the great Outback to the wine country of Yarra Valley to the coastal cities (such as Surfer's Paradise). And I can't stress this enough: every inch of it is beautiful.
Look and Sound: One of the prettiest games on the Xbox One
Even though FH3 is locked to 30 frames per second on consoles, it's rock-solid, so you never have to worry about lag making you miss the apex of a turn or low-res textures that don't do Australia justice. Even when you're between challenges driving from event to event, there's always something to look at, and the way landscapes shift from rural to urban while you're driving by at 200 mph is downright mesmerizing.
Simply gorgeous.In addition to the stunning visuals, Horizon offers a wonderfully curated selection of radio stations , ranging from local Aussie bands to the classical works of Mozart and Tchaikovsky. I tend to favor the Horizon Pulse and Future Classic channels, as they bang out hits from electronic bands, including Justice, Digitalism and home country favorites like HWLS and Ladyhawke. However, if you're not a fan of the songs in the game, you can always use Microsoft's Groove Music service to create the playlist you really want.
Your Crew: The best support a racer could ask for
Running the biggest racing celebration in the world isn't a walk in the park, so you'll get help from an essential trio in Keira, Warren and Anna. Keira is your guide across Australia. She will help you expand the festival to new locations and give you details on upcoming events.
Silly crowdsourced skins like this show how Mario finally makes his way onto the Xbox.Warren is the man with the wrench who is charge of your garage and will recommend new cars to buy or help you tune up the ones you already have. He'll also help you out with Barn finds, which are lucrative cars hidden throughout the country. After you stumble onto them, Warren will fix them up good as new, so you can take them to the streets.
Finally, Anna is the automated Siri-like assistant that will help you plot courses from event to event, and let you know which ones you might like best. I love that Anna can differentiate between the various types of challenges (races, stunt locations, bucket lists, festival events), so that you’ll never feel pressured into doing challenges that don't suit your taste.
Photo mode, drone mode, speed traps, there's so much to do.And if you want to race with others, you can party up and do pretty much anything you can do with people on the net, or team up with some friends and take part in a co-op campaign, too.