Forza Horizon 3 is a new benchmark in racing games. It is, without a doubt, one of the finest racer released this generation. Not only have the developers managed to craft a stellar gameplay experience, they have also succeeded in showcasing visuals that look photo-realistic at times.
Playground Games’ third racing game represents the pinnacle of the genre. It is hard to imagine a better racing game on the current generation platforms after having played Forza Horizon 3. The studio has taken the design of the previous Horizon games and fine tuned it to perfection, while making sure that the game still impresses on a technical level.
The game is set in Australia and it never ceases to amaze the player with the beautiful locations and surroundings featured in Australia. In fact, one is inclined to believe that the in-game Australia might be more beautiful than what is presented in the real world, and it looks really good, thanks to the exceptional image quality and use of photogrammetry.
The game begins with a race that warms up the player through various locations, including gorgeous rain forests to sunny beaches. There is a wide variety of locations available, all set for you to take your favorite racing car on a spin. The gameplay shines in the diverse terrain featured, and as you drift through the sand or on a rocky road, you can feel the change in the handling of your car. Each bump can be felt through the force feedback of the Xbox One controller, greatly increasing the level of immersion.
Forza Horizon 3 should not at all be mistaken for a short game. It features a huge open world that often feels alive. There are events that need to completed or Drivatars that have to be challenged when cruising around the open world. If you manage to beat the Drivatars belonging to your friends, you can recruit them for future races.
Throughout the open world, players can encounter events, challenges or opportunities to boost their fans through so-called PR stunts. These are all fun distractions that help in setting the mood of the game. You can cruise around your favorite vehicle or customize and tune it to your liking. There is also the option to download user-generated vehicle customization, in case you don’t like to do it manually.
Playground Games has also incorporated a fully featured Photo Mode in the game that should keep hardcore fans busy with taking photos through the gorgeous vistas featured throughout the in-game Australia. The Photo Mode can also be utilized in a Replay mode during a race that gives way for some breathtaking shots. As a result of the gorgeous visuals, it is possible to confuse in-game screenshots with real-life photos, because the game just looks that great!
It doesn’t end there, though, as Forza Horizon 3 also features an all-new Drone mode. As the name implies, you’re given the opportunity to view the scene from the perspective of a drone, with the ability to steer the camera across the landscape at free will and admire the game’s vistas to your heart’s content.
One of Forza Horizon 3’s greatest strengths lies in its social integration. The game’s open world serves as an asynchronous hub for the series’ Drivatar system that has been developed and fine-tuned over the years. Where other racing games succumb to rubber band AI, Playground Games’ latest offers an accomplished alternative in the form of AI counterparts of your friends or as well as random players.
With the third iteration in the series, Playground Games has managed to find a remarkable sweet spot between Arcade and Sim car handling, drawing in not only hardcore racing game enthusiasts who wish to tinker around with and fine-tune their vehicles but also those who simply want to take a tour of Australia’s exotic locales. As a result, Forza Horizon 3 is just as much about the festivities as it is about the racing. It represents a coming together of music and cars like no other racing game out there. There’s a plethora of curated playlists to choose from, and you’ll soon find yourself addicted to at least a couple of them.
Whether you’re a competitive or casual player, the game’s compelling reward system continues to give you several reasons to keep coming back to play. Rewards include new cars, perks, and driving events for you to take up. Whatever your style of play, there’s no shortage of content here for you to enjoy. Forza Horizon 3 is quite literally a fantastic racing game for all audiences, and that in itself is a huge accomplishment.
Forza Horizon 3 is available on the Xbox One and Windows 10. It was developed by Playground Games and published by Microsoft. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
Forza Horizon 3 Review (Xbox One)
The most ambitious racing game out there also happens to be a blast to play, with fantastic audiovisual design making the races and open world journey all the more exciting and compelling. Forza Horizon 3 is the best thing to happen to racing games since Burnout Paradise.