Game review: Forza Horizon 3 – classic car racing action heads to the Australian Outback

Compete in six climate zones, pull off stunts, race online competitors and be the boss of the racing festival in this open-world driver’s dream

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 October, 2016, 11:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 October, 2016, 11:00am

Forza Horizon 3


4.5/5 stars

Microsoft took a risk with its Forza Horizon series back in 2012, which brought the series’ iconic driving mechanics to an open-world setting. The first game was set in Colorado, then went international when the Horizon festival found itself in the South of France and northern Italy.

Forza Horizon 3 continues the festival’s international journey within the great Australian Outback. But this time, instead of being a participant, you’re the boss of the entire Horizon festival, giving you even more control over what you do, who you race, and where you go. With nearly unlimited freedom and an equally nearly unlimited locale, it’s the greatest iteration of the series so far.

From the start, the player is tasked with being in charge of festival locations, what kind of objectives can be carried out in races, and the abilities you want to unlock, among other things. Thankfully, the only way to improve your festival is by completing lots of races, stunts, and additional activities which is much better than having to sit behind a desk all day signing stacks of paperwork.

Fans play a huge role in Forza Horizon 3 (for Windows and Xbox One) as the only way you can open a new festival site or expand it is by earning fans across nearly every activity.

The progression system is very gradual as you’re going to sink many hours into this game in order to earn enough fans to complete it. Just like an RPG, you’ll earn fans fairly quickly in the early portions of the game, but the late game progression gets slow as it’ll take several races to earn enough to reach a milestone.

Australia features a total of six different ecotypes and they’re all gorgeous. You can drive from the beautiful skyscrapers of Surfers Paradise, to lush rainforests, get wet and wild across sandy beaches, and bounce around the Outback – the open world of Australia is twice the size of the European environment in Forza Horizon 2.

The developers have made a lot of improvements in this latest iteration, but its social aspect is its biggest improvement as in addition to offering 12-player multiplayer, 1,000-player Clubs, and seamless matchmaking, players can now take part in co-op races with friends for up to four players.

Racing games may not be for everyone but Forza Horizon 3 is good enough that anyone can pick up and enjoy. The game adjusts its difficulty depending on your performance, allowing players to decide whether or not they should be playing against more challenging drivers, and its line-up of stunts have something for everyone.