Forza Horizon 3 - Review

Author: Felice Di Giuseppe
Date: 2020-07-30 22:06:50
The Forza franchise is now a certainty in the racing video game landscape. It's been a while since it has been alternating its releases year by year to offer Xbox (and PC) players two visions of the same exquisite gameplay: the more simulated and reasoned one of Forza Motorsport and the more arcade and carefree one of Forza Horizon. A gameplay that is based on a highly realistic, basic guide system, but which however proves to be scalable and able to appeal to any type of player, from the most experienced to the least experienced. Playground Games, the English software house responsible for the Horizon series, knows this well and has taken the best from this philosophy to offer games that capture the fun and love behind the simple act of driving a car, tying it to the music scene of the festivals.

After tracing the path with the first chapter and expanding it and making it much more open with the second, with the third iteration of the series the developers focused on improving the game formula, going to refine it with a touch of personalization and extra connection. On the other hand, what need is there to upset something that works very well on its own?

Set in Australia, Forza Horizon 3 is proposed as the largest and most diversified chapter of the series: the setting of the third Horizon Festival is twice as large as the previous and delicious European stage, with an immense variety of areas and driving styles. We pass from the sun-kissed coasts and caressed by the sea, to the urban setting of the town of Surfers Paradise, jumping among the vegetation of the rainy forests and darting among the desert dust on board a dune buggy. The predominant theme, however, is the reckless off-road, which is often called into question and managed by the physical ForzaTech engine, which has definitely improved as regards the management of the suspensions and tires.

In general, the driving system finds all the necessary confirmations: with the Horizon series, the developers had already shown that they can handle dirt roads and variable climatic conditions, especially with the Rally and Storm Island expansions, while with the more recent Forza Motorsport 6 a firm point has been put on the management of races with rain and puddles. The unpredictability and diversity of the setting of this third chapter, therefore, will not reserve negative surprises for fans of the series, who will find themselves at home rediscovering a gameplay and a concrete feeling struggling with the over 350 vehicles available in the game garage. In short, one of the great certainties acquired after years of improvement is that Forza Horizon 3 is able to adequately offer an impressive insight into driving situations, without ever losing sight of a touch of credibility.

Unlike what happened with the first chapters, where perfect strangers were playing in search of success, this time we will be the boss (with face and name selectable at any time) of the Horizon Festival, on which the task of increasing the fans of the automotive event to expand it visibly on the fully explorable map surface. At the completion of each stage of the Festival, choices are proposed to advance the event in other areas, which are then "leveled" to obtain more and more races, participants and activities to be carried out up to the final challenge. All this opens up to a clearly more customizable game concept, based on the constant connection with the community of players.

The personalization, in fact, does not stop at the enormous possibilities that the series has always offered to embellish and enhance its racing cars, but goes further with the introduction of Horizon Blueprint, a system that allows you to create your own event by sharing it instantly with the other pilots scattered around the globe. The theme of the cars, the climatic conditions, the laps to be completed and all the other predefined aspects of a given race can be modified, not only to adapt the experience to one's tastes, but also to diversify and exponentially enrich the performance of the whole The carreer.

An interesting novelty, which goes to file one of the big problems that often occurs over the long distance with driving games, or the variety of game situations. A problem that was not already part of the Horizon series with the boundless types of events available and that in Forza Horizon 3 has been further mitigated with the inclusion of new challenges, such as the jumps to be made in the most dangerous places on the map, the areas drift, night battles and convoys with which to challenge the Drivatars. In October, then, the Forzathons will be added, weekly tests that will allow, upon completion, to unlock special cars never previously introduced.

The feeling you feel from the beginning of this generation by getting your hands on a game from the Forza series is that you are never alone. The merit is first of all the Drivatar system, the artificial intelligence that updates persistently with the style and behavior at the helm of the players of the franchise, reinvigorating the races with extremely credible situations that never boil down to the typical "little trains" of few years ago. The game experience of Forza Horizon 3 is much more focused on the accumulation of credits and fans to enrich the stages of the Festival, and the Drivatars have their part in building this evolution. Right from the start of the game, in fact, he was asked to set up a team by identifying and beating the strongest Drivatars encountered through the map. Thus, making sure the deeds of the best drivers of the Festival, among which the exponents of the friends list stand out, the scores are increased, speeding up the growth process that replenishes the game with content.