Thursday 13 October 2016

Forza Horizon 3

‘Forza Horizon 3’ is the newest instalment in the ‘Forza’ series by Playground Games, and it’s certainly been worth the wait. The previous game, ‘Forza Horizon 2’, was pretty epic when it came out, but the new one has only improved on it.

The Horizon series is quite different to other car games in that it’s not just about racing cars. The game is open world, meaning there’s loads of exploration to do, and it’s filled with loads of different types of events and challenges. There is of course a big racing element to the games – exhibitions, championships, and online play – but it’s the other elements that really make it.

‘Forza Horizon 2’ had one main issue – despite having so much stuff in it, the racing just felt repetitive. This has now been fixed, with players not just being part of the car festival but actually running the whole thing. Instead of just repeating the same four or so championships again and again until we get that damn achievement, we’re now allowed to create blueprints for our own championships, meaning we can mix and match cars, terrain and routes as much as we like.

There are a lot more different challenges (‘PR stunts’) now, from the classic speed traps to the much newer jumps and drift zones. There’s also a whole lot more bucket list challenges, and again the opportunity to create your own and then challenge your friends with. 

Talking of friends, the multiplayer parts of the game are just awesome. Clubs are still a thing, giving you the opportunity to earn more credits, and you can still race your friends both online and offline. The multiplayer adventures are particularly fun (they come with a really fun set of games as well as the standard races), and there’s even now a co-op campaign mode, which makes me wonder what they’re going to do to make the next game even better. I’m pretty sure they’ve reached optimum game with this one. 

Exploring is definitely one part of the game that you won’t get bored of – players can pay a small amount of credits to transport instantly to different locations, but I’m yet to use this feature. The world is really big for a car game, and Australia is so much more exciting than the previous location as it’s just so varied. The last game had lots of locations that felt very similar, yet in this new Aussie version each part of the map is entirely different. One minute you’re racing off-road in the outback, and the next you’re drifting around corners and speeding through rivers in the dense rainforest. The terrain definitely has more of an effect on the cars this time around as well, so say goodbye to driving over mountains effortlessly in your Maclaren P1.

I just love how ‘Forza Horizon 3’ caters for everyone. I don’t know much about cars at all, if I’m honest – I just like to race and explore without having to worry too much about the details, yet I’m still able to enjoy and understand the whole game. For those that are really into the technical side of things you can do loads of fine-tuning and custom builds, which means it’s a really great game for that sort of stuff as well. And if you don’t know too much but want to learn then that’s also easy to do, as everything you need to know is helpfully explained as you go along.

One more thing – the graphics. The starry skies, the detailed surroundings, the shine on the cars…it’s so all so beautiful that it’s completely immersive. I’ll admit that I’ve completely wrecked my car more than once because I’ve been distracted by something pretty in my line of vision. But that’s how it should be – the days of just racing around a track are long gone, as car games now have as much to offer as your typical open world RPG.

‘Forza Horizon 3’ is hands-down my favourite game of the year so far. It’s one of those games where it’s easy to pick up for ten minutes and just make some progress, yet it’s also great to play for hours on end. I could go on and on about how wonderful it is but I kind of want to get back to racing (time is credits!), so let’s just give it a well-deserved 5/5.


Hannah Read

Forza Horizon 3 at CeX

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