There was a time when each calendar year would boast of racing titles from Burnout, Need for Speed or Test Drive Unlimited franchise, but nowadays, action games rule the roost. Therefore, racing games have become a dying breed as there are hardly two or three titles for petrol heads, but the quality, thankfully, hasn’t been compromised. If anything, titles like Microsoft Xbox’s Forza and Sony Play Station’s Grand Turismo series have tried to make the games and driving environments as realistic as possible. Microsoft claims the pole position in this genre with the new Forza Horizon 3. We decided to find out if there’s any truth to this claim.
In previous installments of Forza Horizon, you would take part in a speed festival and win as many challenges and races as possible. But this time around, things are completely different. For starters, it is the biggest open world Forza game ever designed and your race track is Australia – the entire continent. Also, now you are in charge of creating speed festivals. So it’s your rules, your races, basically your show. You have to ensure your event has a lot of fan followings. The best part though, is that there are over 350 cars to play with. Therefore, the races can take place on mud, beaches, jungles, dirt tracks, river crossings and, of course, tarmac. Apart from the usual championships and exhibition races, there are wild bucket list events, PR stunts, speed trap challenges, illegal street races, smash signboards and discover new trails. Also every now and then your Aussie mechanic will update you about “Barn Finds’, which is basically where abandoned classic cars are kept.
Coming to Xbox Live Play, it’s a seamless transition without any annoying lag or connection problems. Campaign co-op mode is quite fun, as your friends, whether they are on PC or Xbox One, can join you. To make things even more interesting and simple, you can retain the stage you’ve managed to progress in co-op mode and it can also be retained in solo campaign. There is also an Online Adventure mode where up to 12 players can go on a cross country drive, where you can do your own races, go berserk and push the limit of your cars and your driving capabilities or play silly party games like Capture the Flag. If all this sounds too childish then you can explore the online open world and give it a miss to all these events.
Forza Horizon 3 has managed to capture the essence of Australia, whether it maybe the great outback or the cities. The graphics are top notch and it is one of the most gorgeous games we have played. The attention to detail is spot on, whether it’s the driving conditions, mud splattered on the cars or even sunsets at the beach. What would this game be without the roaring sound of the car engines? What’s impressive is that the game maker has managed to capture the signature sound of each and every car. You can make the engine noise more audible by simply reducing the background music. Horizon 3 is quite a treat and its crazy nature of letting you take an Aston Martin off-roading gives you the freedom to do whatever you feel doing without being penalized. At the moment, this is the racing game to have.