Forza Horizon in my opinion has eclipsed the Motorsport series which was and still is a solid series. I thought the two series were on a par with each other until the release of Forza Horizon 3 which is by far the best Forza series game I’ve ever played. Yes, you read that right, this is the best Forza game I’ve ever played. I know that’s a very strong statement to make, but that’s how brilliant this game is.
I’m not exactly sure at what point I declared that this game was better than the rest of the Forza series games I’ve played. It could’ve been when I was driving around the huge map of Australia whilst taking in the beautiful surroundings which we’ve never seen the likes of before in a Forza Horizon game. I’ve been travelling through beaches, the rainforest, around mountains, and around huge cities across the map. It’s incredible to see how much effort has gone in to capturing these surroundings and making them look so amazing.
In the first two Forza Horizon games, you were a competitor of the Horizon Festival but in an interesting and exciting twist you are no longer a competitor. Instead you are now the boss of the Horizon Festival which leads to more customization options that I will talk about later. The overall goal as the boss is that you have to bring the fans to the festival through races, stunts and other activities.
Once you reach milestones, you can upgrade or create new festival zones. You will also unlock showcase events which I’d prefer not to spoil, but I can say they are even crazier than Forza Horizon 2’s already crazy showcase events. The showcase events work perfectly in Forza Horizon 3 as they provide the much needed variety from the normal races in the game.
Customization is a key part to the Forza Horizon 3 experience. As I mentioned earlier, you are the boss now in Forza Horizon 3 which means you can make the rules for the races. This is where the new Horizon Blueprint option comes into play. The Horizon Blueprint allows you as the boss to customize a race to your preference. Want to choose the weather? Want to choose how many laps the race is? Want to choose what time of day the race takes place? You can choose between all these and more in Horizon Blueprint.
Customization in Forza Horizon 3 doesn’t just stop there as you will have the option to choose between a variety of characters as your racer, although it would have been better to be able to create the character from scratch rather than picking from pre-created characters. You can personalize your name plate also along with choosing your own car horn which are both new customization options to the Forza Horizon series.
One of the best customization options in Forza Horizon 3 is being able to use custom soundtracks which I can imagine will excite many. The way it works is the in game radio actually has a Groove radio station which plays any of your playlists in the Groove Music app on the Xbox One. It’s surprising that many games don’t have this option, and it’s why I have to praise the team for finally doing this. GTA V on PC has a similar feature, but never made it to the console versions of GTA V. I tested the Groove station on Forza Horizon 3, and the songs play almost instantly and stream flawlessly to the game with no issues at all.
You might be wondering what can you do outside of the usual races/showcases? If you are familiar with the Forza Horizon series then you’ll be happy to hear that the bucket challenges are back along with other series favorites like speed cameras and speed zones. Along with series regulars there’s new modes added to Forza Horizon 3 like drift zones which are similar to the speed zones were you have a limited amount of the road to earn as much drift points as possible before reaching the end of the zone. Finally there’s danger sign jumps were you have to drive off of these danger signs and get as much distance as possible. The additional modes fit in very well with the rest of the Forza Horizon 3 modes, and are a welcomed addition to the series.
The Final Verdict
Forza Horizon 3 is amazing, I thought it would be tough to top Forza Horizon 2 but Playground Games managed to do it. I feel the setting is by far the best setting out of all the other Forza games and the huge map makes things even better. The improvements to customization and the additions of other game modes make this by far the definite Forza Horizon game. Forza Horizon 3 isn’t just a Game Of The Contender. It is THE Game Of The Year.
Final Score: 9/10