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Forza Horizon 3 Review

I love driving and while I wouldn't consider myself a connoisseur of cars, I do appreciate a stylish, powerful vehicle. What grabs me most is the freedom of it all. Turn on the ignition, pop the car into gear and off you go; the world is your oyster and you can head down any road you like. Perhaps this is what appeals to me about Forza Horizon 3. While I’m not really a fan of the more serious games for which the Forza name is famed for, Horizon offers a completely different set of rules and I just can’t get enough of it.

To me Forza Horizon 2 was a fantastic driving game and one that I still play to this day, so the fact that Forza Horizon 3 takes place in Australia on a map twice the size, is pretty impressive. Thanks to the setting, this means you’ll be driving on tarmac, off-road through dirt tracks, on beaches, in rainforests and even through bustling cities, all accompanied by a day/night cycle and varying weather too.

With over 350 cars there are be plenty of ways for you to explore the vast open Australian map. Practically every manufacturer you can think of has a choice of cars for you to unlock and purchase, each of which offer a wide variety of performance, depending on the races, challenges and head to heads you choose to take part in. Of course, as with previous Horizon games, you can customise many elements of your car and can even choose your paint job from either standard or manufacturers colours, or from the near unlimited choice of skins created by the community. Choosing a skin does make your car unique, and it’s fair to say that you’ll certainly see some eye catching designs as your are driving around Australia.

Of course, the main point of Horizon is to build events around the map by taking part in head to heads and all manner of other challenges in order to gain fans, grow your reputation and unlock events all over the country. You are helped along here by your assistant and your sat-nav, which points you in the direction of these and other objectives. But if like me, you just love to drive, then this won’t be held against you. You can literally just go off and do your own thing and eventually find these challenges and other secrets such as smash-able billboards, stunt jumps and speed traps, all on your own.

While Forza Horizon 3 has an extensive set of menus, it’s likely that you won’t spend a lot of time in them. This is because all your objectives and anything you unlock along the way is usually announced via your assistant. So for instance, unlock street races and you’ll soon be informed about it. Should there be a “Drivatar”, which are your friend’s AI avatars that drive around, then you’ll soon be informed about them via their name being above their car, and if there’s a head to head challenge you’ll be informed via your assistant and a marker on your hub map. You’ll sometimes need to recruit other Drivatars in order to grow your festival and gain more fans, but again, their whereabouts will appear on your radar, should you wish to go and find them.

Forza Horizon 3 also offers a seamless online experience which allows you to freeroam, driving along looking for challenges, or if you like, you can play the whole campaign in co-op, allowing you and others to work together to build your festival, with progress carrying through to your offline campaign too. The online works flawlessly, with barely any issues encountered by myself in my time playing so far. It’s very impressive how well the online integrates into the game and half the time you forget your are actually playing online.

Of course Forza Horizon 3 looks absolutely wonderful and without a doubt is the best looking game on Xbox One to date. The lighting and stunning environments are a joy to behold. There is just so much detail in every element, be it the trees, cities or the gorgeous beaches. The cars are the main focal point of course and these seem highly accurate, down to the smallest details, such as parking sensors on the front of the cars. There’s no doubt that you’ll spend a lot of time in the game’s build in photo mode, just so that you can show off just how fantastic the environments and cars look in action.

A mention must be made of the HDR support for Forza Horizon 3 when playing on Xbox One S. Having compared the game on both a standard HDTV and a Samsung SUHD 4K TV, the difference is just stunning. The colours bleed out of the screen in HDR and really add a whole new sense of realism to proceedings. Should your game support HDR, an option will pop up (or you can access this via the menus), which allows you to change the HDR brightness, ensuring that you get most out of the support this game offers for your 4K HDR TV.

When it comes to the sound, Forza Horizon 3 does not disappoint. There are all manner of music stations to suit everyone’s taste, that’s if you can hear them above the fantastically realistic roaring engines or your cars, as well as the screeching tires as you drift around corner, after corner.

Playground Games has brought to us a sequel that is everything I wanted it to be. It builds on the last game in the series by being bigger and better in every way. Whether it’s the choice of cars, the larger map or the improvements to multiplayer, Forza Horizon 3 seems to offer something that no other racer can touch. Sure, there may be people out there who prefer a more serious racer, but even they would be hard pressed to pass this one by. Forza Horizon 3 is a fan service to car lovers, so if you’ve ever imagined yourself driving through Australia in the car of your dreams, then rev up your Xbox One for the ride of your life.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: Xbox One (HDR) )


+ Looks fantastic
+ Huge open world
+ No need to stick to the beaten path
+ Highly detailed cars and environments
+ Seamless multiplayer


- N/A

Don't forget that we are giving you the chance to win the Ultimate Driving experience. Here's how enter: http://bit.ly/ForzaFType. Entries close Friday and if a winner you can choose a day that you'd like to drive the Jaguar F Type.

Edited On 25 Sep, 2016

( 44 )
SilverShane's avatar
SilverShane 4 months ago
Been playing it on early access totally outstanding
sackdemajick's avatar
sackdemajick 4 months ago
I agree, the best racing game I have played in a very long time!
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 4 months ago
got a early copy Sat played a few hours so good saving it till next week though so I can use hdr with my gears console
Turniplord's avatar
Turniplord 4 months ago
EG said the HDR mode looked 'washed out' and wasn't as vibrant as they thought it would be - might have been their settings though it it looked better in your case?
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 4 months ago
HDR looks amazing on my TV. Getting the settings right on these new tv's is hard, I recommend using the Xbox calibration settings and the Forza HDR brightness settings. P.s day off today, news back tomorrow:)
Anonymous user's avatar
PHILIP 4 months ago
Graphics look amazing. I won't be upgrading to a 4k TV till next year but this game looks stunning. Am still upgrading to the 2tb Gears console as I've sold my Xbox one 500gb last week. Got it pre ordered on Amazon can't seem to buy it from here ?
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 4 months ago
Yeah guys, lets not start with the PlayStation or Xbox bashing. They both have good and bad points. Enjoy the console and games you have. No need to put others down.
Turniplord's avatar
Turniplord 4 months ago
thx Joe :) - game looks quite pretty on PC - EG has a 4k video of it.
fir_lama's avatar
fir_lama 4 months ago
having more than 80 hours in horizon 2, i believe this is the perfect follow up :)
Anonymous user's avatar
Alex 4 months ago
The demo looked amazing, really want to try the full game.
Anonymous user's avatar
Abid 4 months ago
Having never owned an xbox im excited about the game coming to win 10 ive heard great thing S about it!!!!!
MarkAshton's avatar
MarkAshton 4 months ago
Why do good games all get released at the same time? Fifa and Forza in the same week!!
Gilmanez's avatar
Gilmanez 4 months ago
Game looks great, new additions such as the drone cam lookin sweet. Can't wait to have a good play
Anonymous user's avatar
John 4 months ago
Demo was good. Can't wait for the full game
pupward's avatar
pupward 4 months ago
Looks incredible
NinjaMoogle's avatar
NinjaMoogle 4 months ago
Wow, 0 cons sounds awesome!!
djkoopee's avatar
djkoopee 4 months ago
Looking forward to this, haven't played a decent racer for ages...
Jaffo's avatar
Jaffo 4 months ago
I like driving in my car. It's not quite a Jaguar.
Anonymous user's avatar
Andrew 4 months ago
Looks great played the demo can't wait to add it to the collection.
pressure's avatar
pressure 4 months ago
Really looking forward to playing this game. Love the fact it's on pc too it's been too long since there's been a good racer!
T0N10's avatar
T0N10 4 months ago
This looks great!! Definitely a great time to be a racing fan and I'm very interested to see how the HDR works - haven't been able to fully test my shiny new TV yet!!!
Anonymous user's avatar
Simon 4 months ago
Really really want to play this. Had FH1 on Xbox 360, one of my favourite games of the generation. I now have a PC that should run this, just wish I had the money :)
Anonymous user's avatar
Umur 4 months ago
The game is pure awesomeness . But I think there is one con . Which is the price for the full experience . It costs way too much to get ultimate edition + 2 expansions that will release later . But still , the game is awesome . They choose a very good country and there are lots of cars too . I hope I will be able to play it someday .
Anonymous user's avatar
MARK 4 months ago
I'd love this, good luck everyone
Turniplord's avatar
Turniplord 4 months ago
Whats with the influx of people :/
Anonymous user's avatar
STUART 4 months ago
Looks absolutely stunning, I loved FH2 and this looks like a truly worthy follow up!
femstar's avatar
femstar 4 months ago
The demo was great. Looking forward to playing the full game :-)
Vista's avatar
Vista 4 months ago
Loved the previous games and really looking forward to this. Looks great.
Anonymous user's avatar
RYAN 4 months ago
Game looks stunning and plays great in the demo will be picking this up at some point. Good to see no cons. great review.
GPlay's avatar
GPlay 4 months ago
Forza has always been my goto driving game on Xbox and the Horizon series is great!
Bunglefluff's avatar
Bunglefluff 4 months ago
Absolutely fantastic game. Loving it so far. It works brilliantly with my TX steering wheel setup. Great force feedback etc :)
Anonymous user's avatar
JUBAL 4 months ago
This game sounds amazing, top notch review!
Techsnologic's avatar
Techsnologic 4 months ago
Just got this today, can't wait to give it a try later tonight as it looks amazing!
Nicotene's avatar
Nicotene 4 months ago
Want it for when my XBox One S get's delivered next week. Love Forza Horizon 2 and loved the demo.
Anonymous user's avatar
MICHAEL 4 months ago
Never bought a Forza game before as I don't buy many racers and when I do it's always for the PS but this is certainly going to be my first Forza game! Really enjoyed the demo.
dazzadavie's avatar
dazzadavie 4 months ago
Love the look and demo of this game. Great review too
GraemeDanger's avatar
GraemeDanger 4 months ago
Good review, definitely want to play the full game.
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 4 months ago
Awesome game, can't way to play soon, returned my disc version of ultimate edition for now for refund as still have more Forza Horizon 2 to play and redo FH1, and then repurchase digital edition when I have Xbox ONE S and a 4K TV. Will settle for demo for now.
touc's avatar
touc 4 months ago
loved the first two games in the series, The Horizon games make themselves a nice little place on my shelf next to the main Forza games and Simulation type racers. Cant wait until i can add this title to my collection, albeit on my shelf or a virtual (online games library) shelf. Australia looks a good setting/playground as well
123akis's avatar
123akis 4 months ago
Great review! This game looks great! I played it at EGX and loved it :)
pauln241's avatar
pauln241 4 months ago
Love the Forza Horizon games, these take back to MSR days on dreamcast. :)
Anonymous user's avatar
David 4 months ago
Played the demo and lived this game. Can't wait for the full version
Anonymous user's avatar
Arthur John Steven 4 months ago
Was ready to buy this on day one for PC but reports of poor performance and no SLI support knocked that into touch faster the the FA kicked out Allerdyce.
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 4 months ago
Jaffo is the winner of the code. Congratulations.

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