It is the very first time PC gamers are able to experience the Forza Horizon franchise. The third title in the series is not only the biggest and most varied, but also the first one to feature the Xbox Play Anywhere system, which allows gamers to taste one of the most loved series on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs with a single purchase. But should you play it?
Forza Horizon 3
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Available On: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (tested)
Reviewed On Windows 10, i7-6700k, 16GB Ram, GTX 1080
Price: Standard Edition: $60, Deluxe Edition: $80, Ultimate Edition: $100
Release Date: September 27
Forza Horizon 3 is a huge and varied playground specifically designed for cars. The festival takes place in a compressed Australia where you will be able to race and pull stunts in streets or dirty roads, beaches or forests and even fields. This is a lawless world where you are rewarded for speeding, exploring and taking dangerous roads at full speed.
The major difference this time is that you’re in charge of the festival. It is the way you progress. You need to earn fans by winning races and completing challenges, and in return you unlock new races and challenges. A simple loop to keep it fueled.
With over 350 cars included at launch and the promise of more to come in planned DLCs, the game allows you to experience races and challenges in a huge amount of satisfying ways. It never tries to be a simulator, but it doesn’t mean you will be able to take it as an arcade either. Each cars behaves differently, and you will feel their limitations. You will know which type is best for each challenge, but you will still be able to use whatever you want.
For seasoned players who wants a challenge, the possibility of a customized experience is there. You can disable all driving assists, from automatic shifts to color indicators for when you are about to take a turn just too fast. By doing so, you will get increased rewards. Forza Horizon 3 also features the Drivatar system. It creates AI opponents based on their driving style, which is really, really cool. Drivatars are more likely to be people on your friends list or in your Club. If they are aggressive, expects the AI to mimic that behavior.
But worry not, there is more to challenge that an AI with a familiar name. You can head online and group up to explore a complete mini Australia. Events are also part of the menu, and they are more than interesting. You will be offered standard races but also arena modes, like Capture the Flag and Infected. Finally, you have a co-op campaign and you can complete it with up to 3 friends. Simply invite them to your open world to hang out, and you can even ask for help if there is a challenge too hard for you to complete alone.
Completing races and events will award you with money, fans and experience. Money will let you afford expensive cars. Experience will make you rank up. Each time you do so, you get a wheel spin where you can earn credits or high-end vehicles. Fans are the main currency, they allow you to upgrade festival sites, which in return, will fill up your map with tons of activities and challenges. And when going from challenge A to challenge B or simply free roaming, you get skill points with driving feats. Drifts, near misses, clean racing, big jumps, you name it. Chain them together and the skill multiplier will start stacking up. But if you crash… you lose it all.
First Forza Horizon on PC
This is the first Forza Horizon game to arrive on PC. It makes use of the Universal Windows Platform and as such, it is a Windows 10 exclusive through the Windows Store. I played the game on an I7 6700K PC, using a GTX 1080 and 16GB of RAM. I was able to run the game on Ultra at solid 60 frames per second on Full HD and 2K, but at 4K it was always between 45 and 55. You will need to tune down the graphics and simply jump off from the Ultra option to achieve higher FPS on that resolution, which was a priority for me. Driving a luxury car at full speed and 60 FPS is simply glorious and a step up from previous versions on console. Mix that up with gorgeous visuals and the Australian setting, and you will love Forza even if you are not into racing games. I didn’t suffer any stutter as many are reporting, but the developer acknowledged the problem and is working on a fix. A demo is expected sometime after launch for you to try the game and see how it goes on your system.
Forza Horizon 3 is huge, varied and entertaining. It won’t be your typical simulator or arcade, it is meant for everyone, doing compromises but also giving you the option to tailor it at will. Don’t get it for the silly script, and don’t be mad for the lack of a custom name, and try to forgive the Microsoft Groove nonsense. Get it for the gameplay, the open world and the social features.