Forza Horizon 3 can be bent to your desires like never before in the series. Combined with dazzling landscapes, lighting effects, outstanding sound design and well honed driving dynamics, the overall results are absolutely fantastic. After the first hour of gameplay, this new release feels a bit different from its predecessor. There’s a new level of car customization and personalization available. Furthermore, players will be surprised of incredibly flexible career experience that can be played solo or co-op with friends, and even baked-in support for a soundtrack of your own choosing.
Horizon 2 allowed to take action in a new championship and completely ignore the suggested car class, which meant all players could progress towards the festival’s grand finale without ever leaving the cars they wanted to drive most. Horizon 3 goes a couple steps further. It automatically adjusts certain events depending on what car you’ve brought to the start point and allows you to either completely re-script the event from the ground or race a custom event created by friends or other Horizon 3 players. That is pretty cool.
Setting up the race, lets you select the time of day, the weather, the competition, and even the name of the race itself. It means that every event can be raced in dozens of different ways under a whole range of conditions. Completing your own or your friends Blueprint events will give you the same rewards you’d earn for taking the official events given by the Playground. You can even create your own Bucket List challenges – the events starting at predetermined points in the world.
Taking a first ride you may prefer classic American muscle, or maybe you’re more partial to Japanese tuners? If none of them, then pic any European car you like. It’s hard to believe that a single game can fit 350 different car models with various customization and driving controls. The best ones are sorted into a separate menu, so before purchasing it’s clear which rides will feature the new wide body kits, wheels and blower options.
Another great thing is that you’re no longer restricted to a default name and you’re free to choose from a selection. Playground also has its voice actors recordings of a host names, so they can refer to you. The default is Luke, but you can change to your real name or make a funny one, like “Bastard”. For example, every time you load the game you’ll hear GPS assistant saying “Welcome back, Bastard!” It’s impossible to drive away without a smile after that greeting.
No matter what car you drive or how fast you go, part of your attention goes to the landscape details. The whole surroundings looks simply magnificent. Amazingly authentic sky bathing, sunlight casting crisper shadows, astonishing lighting and the thick rain forest sections as the sun tries to pierce through the tall trees delivers uncannily realistic feeling. The road markings, the street signs, even the garbage bins seems so real you may regret crashing to them. Water and its reflections plays a big part too, and not just because the entire place looks even better slick after the rain. Everything from the gently sloshing waves to the wake created by your wheels as you putter across shallow streams is top notch.
The greatest part is probably the variety of landscapes that comes in a single impressively large map. Horizon 3 packs a pile of greatly different terrains into Australian backdrop. There’s a quiet coastal town, with its pure beaches and the rolling fields between it and the high-rise, urban metropolis of Surfers Paradise. The damp and dense rain forest carpeted with thick undergrowth around closely packed trees.
The lighting certainly plays its role as the differences between each area are heightened by new global illumination lighting system. It gives the outback a different hue to the rain forest zone as the light picks up an orange tint from the sun-burnt soil. The whole environment looks extra special in the pitch black of night, with the red glow of the roadside reflectors and the glint of approaching signs responding to your car’s headlights.
Global illumination also interacts with the car models, integrating them in the world better than ever. Even the clouds above makes the cars gleam and pick up realistic reflections. Droplets now streaks across the glass being shoved around by the wipers.
Now the last, but not the least great improvement is made for a background music. Players are free to listen their favorite songs during the gameplay. Forza Horizon 3 has Groove Music app integration, which makes surprisingly easy to play your own music and enjoy driving to particular tunes.
Game effects has a spectacular audio too. It’s definitely one of the best sounding game to date. Sports cars exhaust seems louder and more aggressive than ever before. You can hardly get tired of putting the pedal to the metal and watching how tires burn. That’s how you start feeling addicted in drifting every possible corner. Some supercars are so powerful they can even chirp tires in 2nd and 3rd gear. In a moments like these, be careful not to loose traction or may slip off the road.
To sum up, it’s a masterclass in open world racing and much bigger than its excellent predecessor across the board. Forza Horizon 3 looks fantastic, the car selection and customization is huge, and the size with its variety of the enchanting Australian landscapes is magnificent. You can play hours and hours, but the freedom to choose any activity in wide open world, is one of those things you can never get bored with. It’s a racing game most of us been waiting for and at last we can get our hands on it!
- OS: 64-bit Windows 10
- Processor (AMD): AMD FX-8350
- Processor (Intel): Core i5 4460 3.2GHz
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Graphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon™ R7 260X v3 2GB
- Graphics card (NVIDIA): nVidia GeForce® GTX 760 2GB
- DirectX: 12.0 Compatible video card or equivalent
- Hard-drive space: 55GB
- OS: 64-bit Windows 10
- Processor (AMD): AMD FX 9590 8-core 4.7 Ghz
- Processor (Intel): Intel Core i7-3820 4-core 3.6GHz
- Memory: 12GB RAM
- Graphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
- Graphics card (NVIDIA): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
- DirectX: 12 Compatible video card or equivalent
- Available Disk Space: 55GB