The Horizon Festival has finally made its way to Australia. Found out what we thought about this trip down under right here in our Forza Horizon 3 Review!
|Release Date||September 27, 2016|
|Developer||Playground Games/Turn 10|
What can I say about the Forza Horizon series? This is one of my favourite racing series of all-time. I still remember the first time I took a ride through Colorado on the Xbox 360 in the original game. Great music, scenic views, crazy showcase events, and a plethora of cars. It set the tone for the series in a big way. 2014’s Forza Horizon 2 upped the ante, this time in Europe. So, how could they top the second one? They brought the third game down under and what a great move that was.
Australia is the perfect backdrop for the Horizon festival. I, for one, wasn’t as impressed with the European setting of the last game, though it was beautiful. This map surpasses it in nearly every way. There are 4 distinct festival areas that have their own characteristics and features. Byron Bay is a coastal town with a lengthy beach. Surfer’s Paradise is an urban metropolis full of high-rise buildings. The Outback includes more open roads and the airport that always seems to make it into Horizon. Yarra Valley contains a deep rainforest which is among the most beautiful spots in the game. It’s a big improvement over the second game which felt all too similar no matter what area you were in.
Forza Horizon 3 actually makes you feel like you’re driving through Australia. There are plenty of different beautiful views to discover that really made me want to continue cruising around. This is something I didn’t feel as compelled to do in this last game so that’s a huge improvement. Of course, the amazing lighting and shadows have a lot to do that. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rainforest where a glimmer of light shines through the trees, wet patches pool at the bottom of hills, and the leaves move with the wind. It’s an incredible sight to behold and it looks as lifelike as anything I’ve seen in a video game. It’s nice that they focused more on the quality of the map then the size of it. It’s still big and vast, but it’s not overbearing.
The audio is an equal part of the Forza Horizon 3 experience. The soundtrack includes a number of great songs from all types of genres that everyone will enjoy driving to. There’s also Groove integration which allows you to listen to your own soundtrack if you’re subscribed to the service which is a nice touch. If you dive deeper though, you really start to hear all the small details that make the audio so great in this game. From the splash of a puddle to the rev of an engine to the crunch against another car, the sound is wonderful and immerses you in the experience.
Forza Horizon 3 is slightly more customizable than the last game. You can even customize your driver avatar with a handful of pre-made selections and a nice selection of names. It’s a lot cooler to hear your GPS say your name rather than something generic. It’s the little things. There are also many car customizations available to you include things like tires, license plates, and widebody kits just to name a few. I don’t come to Horizon for the customization, but I was happy with the options available to me to make these cars feel like my own.
As far as the actual racing is concerned, you’re getting much of the same types of events from previous games which isn’t a bad thing at all. The Horizon Bucket List returns allowing you to take a specific car on a specific task, be it drifting, racing, or even stunt jumping. Showcases return as well with 5 all-new events against a train, blimp, and even a jet. The newest event in the game is called Horizon Blueprint and it allows you to completely customize a race to your liking right down to the time of day and weather. You can also create your own Bucket list events. The beauty of this is that you earn credits and rewards just as you would in the official events.
There are some quick events that are scattered across the map like speed traps/zones, drift zones, and danger zones which are jumps. All of these provide a fan boost depending on how well you do based on a 3-star rating system. Each event outlines how much you need to get 1, 2, or 3 stars and some of them can be pretty difficult. I still liked these events and found them to be a nice diversion from just racing all the time. There are even Street Races and Midnight Races for some extra racing fun. Bonus boards, travel boards, barn finds, and beauty spots round out the rest of the points of interest on the map. The option to race in convoy of racers can help you find some of those hidden items which are a welcome helping hand with such a detailed map.
Online multiplayer is relatively the same as Forza Horizon 2 except for one important detail, there’s a co-op career mode. Everything you do in that mode carries over seemlessly to single-player so it’s a pretty awesome thing to have. Everything else online is about what you’d expect from the Horizon series.
Forza Horizon 3 is one of my favourite racing games of all time for the atmosphere that it creates, This game is simply fun for the sake of being fun. There’s nothing like driving through Australia, listening to some great tunes, and being able to do it with 3 other friends at once. What’s not to like? Nothing. This game is a must-play if you’re a racing game fan. It’s accessible to pretty much everyone and it’ll keep you busy for a long time. Check this one out if you haven’t already!
Check out our other Forza Horizon series reviews: