Review of Forza Horizon 3 - the best racing to the horizon

Author: DM
Date: 2016-09-20 15:02:00
The review was based on the XONE version. Also applies to the PC version

The racing games category is usually quite casual. Items such as Trackmania and GTR or Need for Speed and Assetto Corsa are put in one bag. In fact, however, the gap between some of the titles is huge and they are aimed at completely separate groups of recipients. Fans of simulators and precise cutting of hundredths of a second on a lap of a track known by heart expect something different, and fans of carefree driving an exotic car, which can be nicely modified and rammed everything and everyone along the way. This difference seems to be perfectly understood by the people from the Turn 10 studio, the creators of the acclaimed series with a simulation flair - Forza Motorsport . For fans of more dexterity driving, they have created a completely new cycle - Forza Horizon , i.e. racing in a loose, holiday style, without fighting for the perfect line and braking points.

When I sat down to the newest, third part of the game, I tried to find pure, carefree driving pleasure - favorite cars, freedom, spectacular routes, atmospheric music or engine purring and a hint of competition. Forza Horizon 3 ends the exclusive period for the Xbox console and makes its debut on personal computers - so the next thing was to want to see what the game can offer hardened PCs. Will the next Need for Speed clone be worth the upgrade to the new system? After dozens of races, challenges and hundreds of kilometers traveled, I already know for sure that the third Horizon festival is not only the best one so far - it is the best arcade car since I can remember , and the fun it gives can be compared to driving a 500-horsepower super car, capable of accelerating long after the speedometer has passed a hundred.

Forza in the land of kangaroos

Veterans of the previous part on Xbox One may not see a great leap in quality or in the content of the game - both positions are in many respects identical, but at the same time feel communing with a completely new and much better version. The greatest merit lies in the map itself, large enough and extremely diverse, after all. I admit that I was quite skeptical when the game set in Australia, famous only for the Mount Panorama race track, was announced, but the kangaroo land in Forzy Horizon 3 is very impressive! The scenery changes in a very fluid and natural way - from wild sandy wastelands to shady rainforests to the luxurious Surfers Paradise district , full of holidaymakers and skyscrapers. At any time, we can also leave the established route and race without any restrictions in the thick bush or on the beach, and there is clearly more off-road racing here than in the previous part .

The visuals look phenomenal - from the dynamically changing sky to the dense forest vegetation - we can pick out a detail that pleases the eye at every step. The wind blows the sand onto the road, trams run around the city, and the wrecks of boats and piers found somewhere in the wild suggest that there used to be a lake there. The only thing that stands in the way of such a sensational map, rich in various locations, is traffic. It is a bit too dense and consists of either very slow "civilian" cars or wild festival participants. Let us add to this the unexpectedly annoying necessity to move on the left side of the road and we will have a free ride, exceptionally rich in "bells".

It's good to be the boss

Just as the map introduces a lot of freshness and news, the entire festival environment known from previous editions has remained unchanged and even the promotion of our role from a participant to the head of the Horizon event does not bring much new. At first, we feel like a rookie or someone who got this job for acquaintance, listening to the constant commands and explanations of our assistant. We are not dealing here with a story developing the game, but rather with a general background that builds the atmosphere of a great mass event with races in the lead role. By winning subsequent competitions, we gather more and more viewers and participants, and this allows us to open further festival centers and expand the existing ones. It is not particularly motivating and entertaining, fortunately the driving as such turns out to be pleasant enough to encourage you to cover more kilometers and face challenges. The greatest reward for progressing in the game is probably the special races - the spectacular duels with other means of transport known from the previous parts: helicopters or fast motor boats. Full of scripted slow-motion moments, they are a real gem that we look forward to with every increase in the number of fans.

The role of the host shows its advantages later in the game, when the assistant finally goes silent and we are given a free hand in creating the races. Something similar happened in the previous installment of the series, but it only applied to the group of cars that remained within our range. This time we set the weather, number of laps, time of day and available cars ourselves. This gives you a lot of freedom, especially if you prefer a small number of vehicles and only have a few favorites, it also opens up amazing opportunities, allowing you to race between personally selected models or all available in the game. We also create challenges on the Wish List ourselves - here we are no longer limited to racing and we can choose to drive at the right speed, do tricks on the way or avoid damage. The method resembles a contract with Hitman - first we have to complete our task, and its result later serves as a determinant for others - because each challenge is shared with our friends. With time, the race routes begin to repeat themselves a bit, but driving them with a completely different type of car or at a different time of the day does not allow the appearance of redundancy. The map is dense with challenges and there is something to do for dozens of hours, although pointless collectibles in the form of boards giving a discount for fast travel or a weak influx of experience points could be successfully eliminated.

Driving fun at your own pace

After a few hours of fun, I was struck by how much the number and variety of cars affect the atmosphere and the reception of the game. At one point I ran into a race around the map that lasted 45 minutes with three laps . Taking first position, without disturbing traffic, I drove one of my favorite cars through all available Australian scenes, in rain and sun, day and night, listening to personally selected music files on the radio. At that point, I felt like I was playing the first Need for Speed game again , where all that mattered was the scenic route and super-fast cars. The whole festival disappeared somewhere, the assistants, the loud DJs from the radio stations - there was only pure joy to drive. Further experiments turned out to be even more amazing - a ride in a Rolls-Royce car to the sounds of classical music stations, a race of noiseless, electric Tesla with electronic music in the background and hard rock during the buggy madness on sandy terrain. Each such combination changed the atmosphere and made you feel like you were interacting with a different game. The ability to listen to your own songs (unfortunately, this option does not work in multiplayer mode) and the freedom to choose a race probably introduces something more than just the awareness of being the head of the Horizon festival. Here we really have the opportunity to shape the entire game according to our own taste , forgetting about what is happening in the background. We race with artificial intelligence, with other players, with our own record, or we simply go ahead in the environment that suits us best.