Turn 10 Studios has done a fantastic job at capturing the racing experience for Microsoft’s newest console, the Xbox One. Shown with previous titles like Forza Motorsport 5 and Forza Motorsport 6, Turn 10 Studios has aimed to bring the same great experience in Forza Horizon 3. In an ambitious attempt to bring the game to an open-world experience on the Xbox One, the game runs great albeit a couple of minor issues.
Starting off, I was impressed by the amount of activities that were available in the game. From rally circuits to street races, there is something to do around every corner. The game does a great job at easing you into everything, by showing the player select few events as they progress through the campaign. The objective is to become the biggest racing festival in Australia. As you continue to grow, more events open up, allowing you to experience what Forza Horizon 3 has to offer.
We can never argue about how Forza has looked in the past – however, with their excellent reputation, I am going to be hard with this aspect. Despite still looking stunning, there are visual differences – for the worse – in Forza Horizon 3. When comparing it to a game like Forza Motorsport 6, the graphics don’t contain the same realism, as if it were dialed back for an open world experience. Parts of the car, specifically the reflections looked blurred and dull. Reflections don’t appear to be as eye-catching as the previous series, but that is okay, as the environments and overall graphic fidelity grip the eyes as if they were professionally massaged. Even with my nitpicking, the game still stands out as a visually gleaming game, but these little details I couldn’t dismiss – especially after seeing what the team did with Forza Motorsport 6. This can be attributed to the game running on a larger scale.
Besides these very minor visual issues, the other only piece of constructive feedback I have is to make the cars demolish more and penalize a player for totaling a vehicle. In an open-world game, I’d expect to see my credits and experience torn apart by the way I treat my car. If you end the race, and the car is torn to crap, you should expect less income from the race, or perhaps even a balance owing. If I am going 200 KM/H and me nose-dive another vehicle, I would expect it to suffer considerable damage, or ultimately be ripped apart. Instead, I get a couple of light dents and a cracked windshield, and I bounce off the opposing vehicle in a humorous fashion. As a game that promotes a driving simulation experience, Forza does well on all fronts, from the traction control right down to every twist and turn – but this is something that did retract from the overall experience.
“Forza Horizon 3 is among the first racing games to wow me with it’s greatness, and I will continue to play it post-launch as more content arrives.”
Car customization did return, but if you are familiar with the Forza series, there haven’t been many additions to the system. If you are new to the series, expect to see customization options right down to the detail from painting to car parts. Throughout my time, I designed a hideous design of the Informed Pixel website. The logo was surprisingly easy to create, albeit time-consuming, but I was able to paste the logo all over this beautiful white BMW. As with previous entries in the Forza series, your designs can be uploaded online and shared with the community where others can tell you how piss-poor your design was. If you want a brief glimpse at how this will present in the game, I’m sure people will have comments about my design after the break.
Let us talk about content. Forza Horizon 3 has so much to do, thanks to the enormous area of which you can travel in. When you aren’t participating in events such as street races or circuits, you are trying to reach the highest speed through a speed trap or build your points to earn additional skills. Every corner you turn, there is an event waiting to be completed, and it only scales more as you progress through the game. A big problem with traditional open-world racing games is that they have this big world to roam around in, but the events, challenges, and world are uninspiring – dull even. This game has countless events in which players can participate in – including online game modes that consistently change – to make the game as refreshing as when it is first revved up. My favorite activities are the Bucket List challenges, which force the player in using a particular vehicle to complete a challenge. Usually, there is a great theme to pair up with the events which make for a unique, thrilling experience. Without spoiling a lot, fans of legendary Microsoft franchises will be excited to see some of these challenges come to life.
Paired with Forza’s realistic driving experience pair to make a stunning game that ties you to the seat of your chair. Frequent times I’ve found my undivided attention bound to my 4K TV screen as crisp HDR visuals seemingly peered through my soul and stuck me in the driver’s seat. While racing titles don’t exactly appeal to me, mainly due to their repetition, Forza Horizon 3 has made this reviewer perform a full J-turn on this thought.
Beautiful visuals tied in with an outstanding gameplay experience. This is something that Forza, as a series, has hit on multiple occasions. Forza Horizon 3 is no exception to this rule, with winning races, a beautiful world and lots to do inside the Forza universe. Comparing video games to vehicles, Forza Horizon 3 is the Lamborgini of the video game industry.
Forza Horizon 3 is available as a Windows 10 and Xbox One exclusive.
Forza Horizon 3 was reviewed using a code provided by Microsoft.