While Forza Motorsport is known for being Microsofts racing simulation power horse and answer to PlayStation’s Gran Turismo, Forza Horizon has always been the casual counterpart. The third game of the series is the second one to launch on Xbox One and introduces the beautiful open-world of Australia. Was going down under the right decision for the arcade racer?
Welcome to Surfers Paradise
Australia – even when I think about it, I feel warmth and the smell of nature embrace my body. After conquering Europe in Forza Horizon 2, kangaroo land was the perfect choice to offer an even more compelling place to explore. With six different ecotypes and twice the size of the previous game, the title offers the biggest variety in landscape I have ever seen in a racing game. One second, you drive along sandy beaches and enormous skyscrapers, while the other, you will marvel at beautiful shadows and water reflection of the wild rainforests nearby. At some points, the game even felt like a legit commercial for a trip to Australia, inviting me to pack my bags and leave for the next plane. If you haven’t craved travelling to the home of koalas before, you will certainly do after playing this game.
The finest tunes
Unlike in earlier Forza Horizon games, where players were just an unknown rookie, this time you are in charge of the Horizon Festival. That means you can customise everything to your likes using racing blueprints, or keep it the way it is, if you’re not a fan of too many options of adjusting your experience. Fact is that you need two essential things for throwing a great festival: Awesome music and lots of fans. The latter can be obtained by winning races, which allows you to build more festival locations in Horizon‘s huge open world. After founding a new festival place, you can acquire new radio stations and listen to artists as various as the game’s flora and fauna. From chilled electric vibes to Blink 182’s summer tunes, Forza Horizon 3 features diverse playlists even outclassing the music of the Need for Speed series at its very best moments.
Many racing games try to jump on the social train nowadays. Most of them desperately fail, but Forza did a pretty good job founding a environment that is social, but doesn’t necessarily force interactions. Your Xbox Live friends will join you in form of Drivatars, which are AI versions of the people in your friends list. If they also play the game, they can even benefit from being hired by you while they’re offline, and claim their rewards after logging in. If you decide to actually be social after all, Horizon 3 provides players with a full online co-op mode which lets you progress through the story in a group. Obviously, you can also race competitively, but thanks to the excellent execution of the cooperative gameplay and the friendly nature of the game, competing literally takes a back seat.
Perfection down under
You don’t even have to be into racing games to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 to its fullest extent. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it can easily be considered the best arcade racer since Burnout Paradise – with which I’m still madly in love. The new Australian setting provides you with a breathtaking scenery, inviting you to spend dozens of laid back hours to become the best racer of the continent. If you have asked me a week ago what I associate with Australia, I probably would have said koalas or charming accents – now, I instantly think of hot cars, heavy tunes and beautiful sunsets.
What we liked:
- Breathtaking scenery
- Environmental diversity
- Graphical fidelity
- Motivating radio stations
What we didn’t like:
- Leaving the game at bed time
- Triggering the wanderlust
This review was written using a Xbox One review code provided by Microsoft. How do you like Forza Horizon 3’s Australian setting? What is your favourite racing game? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!