The Horizon Festival is heading to the snowy mountains of Australia. Find out what we thought in our Forza Horizon 3 Blizzard Mountain Review!
|Release Date||December 13, 2016|
|Developer||Playground Games/Turn 10|
The Forza Horizon series started a cool weather-based trend with the Storm Island expansion for Forza Horizon 2. That expansion brought torrential rain and storms to the game in a brand new area. Forza Horizon 3 upped the ante by bringing the action to a snowy Australian mountain. Let’s take a look
Blizzard Mountain offers a completely different experience from that which you find in the main Forza Horizon 3 game. The main game consists of forests, the Outback, and sunny beaches. You won’t see any of that on Blizzard Mountain. This new area includes terrifying drops, blowing snow, and icy roads. It’s a brand-new driving experience and one that feels like it completes the rest of the game.
While it won’t come as a surprise, Blizzard Mountain is visually stunning. I would call it the best that the Forza series has ever looked. Snow covers everything in sight from trees to the rocks the make up the mountain. There are even snowmen scattered about to smash into if you’re feeling like causing some chaos. The lighting makes the most difference with the sun gleaming off the giant frozen lake and the snow. It really pulls you into the setting and makes you feel like you’re on the mountain.
The new blizzard effect is also something to behold. This isn’t just a little snow, you can barely see 10 feet in front of you when that blizzard rolls through. It really messes with your senses. Anyone who has driven in heavy snow knows how perilous it can sometimes feel and Blizzard Mountain replicates that feeling with the swirling snow and shaking trees. It’s even worse at night when you have to rely on street lights to light your way. There are some guidance lights on turns which were a nice touch. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if those weren’t there.
Your car will also feel the effects of this weather. Your car will have snow pile up on the different parts of its body and if you don’t have snow tires, it’s significantly harder to gain traction on snow and ice. It’s not impossible, but Playground Games did a great job giving it a different feel. There’s a new snow effect on your windshield that is slightly different from the rain effects in the main game. It’s nice that they tried to think of every little detail. Your driver is even dressed in warmer clothing!
The snowfall isn’t just something that looks nice, it changes how you race in a dramatic way. The snow itself can be deceptively deep and end to end races where you might have taken a shortcut through the trees might leave you stuck unless you have momentum. Ice plays a big factor as well, especially on the huge frozen lake where you have to compensate for the lack of grip by making you move much sooner than normal. There are also patches of black ice conveniently placed on most corners just to mess you up.
This is a smaller map than the main game, obviously. There are only 50 roads as opposed to 488 in the main game so you can kind of tell what the size difference is that way. You’re going to find the same types of PR stunts, a barn find, exhibition races, and championships as in the main game. There are also 25 more bonus boards scattered about to find.
The progression system is a bit different and slightly more challenging in Blizzard Mountain. Instead of gaining fans, you gain stars for each event completed. You get one star for completing a race, 1 for winning, and 1 for a completing a task (like drifting 20 times). I felt like this really dampened the fun of racing to me. I was more concerned about doing the task than staying ahead and had to replay a lot of races just because it’s so hard to do both at the same time. You can turn down the AI difficulty if you have this problem, but it’s just annoying. I think skill points should be reserved for PR stunts.
The expansion includes 8 new cars with a mostly off-road flavour, as expected. You can use pretty much any car you want on Blizzard Mountain, though. It’s not something that requires you to use anything specific. I will say that you probably should have snow tires on. The few times I played without them were quite an adventure.
If you liked the main Forza Horizon 3 experience, I see little reason not to grab Blizzard Mountain. It’s a great complement to the main game and it’s something you can switch back and forth with to give you a bit of a different experience when you get bored with one or the other. There is a lot of content in this small area and it will certainly keep you busy for a lengthy amount of time. I think the only reason to stay away from this would be if you hate driving in snow, but I personally thought it was a great add-on to an already stellar game.
Check out our other Forza series reviews: