Step into the world of Forza Horizon Australia!
The music, the cars, the scenery… This game has it all! From the moment I loaded Forza up onto my Xbox One S and the music started, I knew I was in for a fun ride. Forza has made its way down under and this time, you are in charge of Horizon. It’s up to you to win races, perform stunts and burn rubber to entice new fans to the Horizon scene. And the more Fans you make, the bigger Horizon gets, and the bigger Horizon gets, the more venues can be opened!
We start off on a cruise to Byron Bay, Australia. The first Horizon venue set up and progress from here. You start behind the wheel of a Bugatti, the car detailing is simply stunning and the views… I almost crashed as soon as I started because as I drove over a crest the view drew my eyes away from the road and out into the lush views ahead of me. I could go on and talk about how amazingly stunning this game looks but I think you catch my drift. Pun intended.
Let’s drive right into the mechanics of it all.
The controls have not differed from previous outings in the series and this is not a bad thing. Why change something that’s not broken? The camera angles are also the same, 4 options are available each with their own perspective providing the driver with the ability to view from 2 above the car distances, a Bonnet view, or feel engrossed in the cockpit of your ride.
After arriving at the first venue I was presented with the option of selecting my first car, I chose a 1970 Ford GT, and was promptly introduced and challenged by my Mechanic to a race. I wasn’t prepared for the type of race it was going to be though as a Helicopter took off in front of me with a Jeep attached! The track was a mix of on road and off road which really put into perspective and enhanced the beautiful scenery, plus… chasing a Helicopter carrying a jeep with my mechanic in the driver seat is a beauty of its own! I will admit I lost this race, at the end of the track the jeep was released and the Mechanic drove through the finish lines while I was too busy watching in awe.
There’s ways to introduce people to a game and Forza knocked it out the park for me.
As I mentioned above, this time in Forza you are the event manager of Horizon. You need to choose the music by making deals with radio stations. So not all stations are available from the get go, however the bigger fan base you bring in the more channels are opened up to you. There are quite a few stations to choose from, Rock, Dance, Hip Hop. One disappointing factor here was I didn’t come across an Australian radio station which I thought would have been a great addition to add.
The accents aren’t quite there either, I was surprised they didn’t reach out and get some Australian voice actors for this. I also took note that the detail of the Fans was lacking in a rather large way. Disappointing but not a game changer as it’s the Cars and the scenery where this game really shines.
In order to race you have to get to them first which brings me too Free to roam. While driving around in free roam you will find your friends avatars driving around with you. One of the cool new features is If you honk at them as you drive past and they honk back you start a convoy of cars cruising around together, I had a lot of fun just roaming around seeing how many cars I could get in my convoy. I didn’t do much else with it but you can convoy to events and earn additional points in doing so. Also, while roaming around you can drive up behind an avatar driver and challenge them to a race. If you win you can earn yourself some cold hard credits. Some have higher credit rewards than others.
There are benefits to free roam as well. Scattered across the map you can find small billboards for you to drive over to collect XP and credits. As well as speed cameras set up around the map that are worth putting your foot to the floor and maxing your speed for a Personal Best without the loss of license and fine to boot.
I should mention that it’s hard to actually get lost in Free mode, thanks to your nifty Nav lady you can ask her what to do or what challenges are awaiting you and will provide a nice blue line of where to go.
Although you are given free cars at times and even find old run down cars in barns that your mechanic will make as new for you again, you will need credits to purchase (unlock) new vehicles as well.
(Spoilers contained in the video below, dont watch if you dont want to see one of the hidden barn cars)
You can visit the garage at any time by accessing it via your menu and here you can buy cars and customize your ride to no end. It takes a bit of time to unlock all the requirements to be able to really fine tune your car but it’s totally worth it. Not only can you customize the paint work, you can create your own designs and upload them for others around the world to download. Customizing your body kit, suspension, and engine are of course all available.
One of my favorite cars as actually the 2016 Ford Mustang, this thing had power and became my go to drift car and resident rubber burner.
To summarize, Forza Horizon is back and its back in the best way possible. Australia was the perfect location for this outing and I can’t get over how good this game looks.
Forza Horizon 3 releases September 27, 2016 on Xbox One and Windows PC. This review was completed on Xbox One with a copy supplied by the publisher.