Forza Horizon 3 Review

Most racing games are either dedicated simulators that put realism (and difficulty) first, or casual arcade-style games where you can floor it most of the time without worry. Fans of either game type typically want nothing to do with the other, but there is one in particular that lets players have the best of both worlds: Forza Horizon 3. Forza is Microsoft’s flagship racing simulator, and the great thing about Forza is that players can choose whether or not they want assists. Antilock brakes and traction control, assisted, regular, and simulation steering, vehicle damage, AI driving skill– all of these options can be tweaked in Forza games to suit each player’s personal preferences. Casual players can still easily control their cars with assists, and dedicated racing sim fans will be rewarded for driving without them with better acceleration and speed. The best part about this is that it lets casual players transition from easy to challenging gameplay by adjusting one option at a time, so they can come to enjoy both kinds of games.

Forza is best known for its Motorsport series, with seven installments starting with the original Xbox. But starting in 2012, Turn 10 Studios (the developers of Forza) teamed up with Playground Games to create Forza Horizon as a spin-off. Unlike Motorsport, which focuses on track racing, Horizon is an open-world game that revolves around the ‘Horizon Festival,’ a big party dedicated to the best music and fast cars. Forza Horizon 3 is the latest installation of the series, and it takes you Australia to be the boss, put in charge of the best Horizon Festival yet. As an open-world game, players are free to take their cars and drive around freely. Not only does this let you practice and get a feel for how their car handles, but the world itself is vast, beautiful, and a wonder to explore. Because the game encompasses a large part of Australia, there are a lot of different places where you can drive. From city asphalt to desert outback to jungle trails, Horizon 3 has just about everything, and all the cars to suit each terrain.

Speaking of cars, Horizon has a lot of them. And I mean a lot, over five-hundred. Not only that, but each car is made to emulate their real-life counterparts as closely as possible. Every car handles differently, and they’re all recreated so well that even the interiors of each car looks just like they would in real life. And if that wasn’t enough, each car can be upgraded with parts and tuned to suit your performance needs. You can even paint your car and apply decals, either by making them yourself or downloading ones already made, to make it look however you want. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of time tuning or painting, you can always download another player’s tune or paint job, and there’s no shortage of either for any car.

When not roaming, you can setup all kinds races and events, including championships, street races, and PR stunts. As you complete events, you gain more fans. After you gain enough fans, you can build a new festival site or expand an already existing one, which will give you even more events to partake in. Eventually, earning enough fans will unlock showcase events, which are over-the-top races where you face off against vehicles other than cars, like speedboats and diesel trains. Between trying new cars, tuning and painting them, and all the events across Australia, there really is never a shortage of things to do in Horizon. Even when you’ve already done everything, the game still has two great expansion packs. The first is Blizzard Mountain, which takes you to a place not unlike Frostburg, to race in snow-covered tracks with wintry storms. The other is Hot Wheels, which gives you set of islands connected to each other with over-the-top twisted and looping orange tracks in the sky.

Whether you’re a casual gamer or a fan of hardcore racing simulators, Forza Horizon 3 has something for you. Although the overall physics are more forgiving than that of the Motorsport series, the options and number of things you can do in this game is just so vast, anyone who enjoys a racing game will love Horizon 3.

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