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Game Review: Forza Horizon 3 – The Best Open World Racer Out There

I’ve never owned an Xbox. Not from dedication to any particular manufacturer or fanboyism, it just never really happened. Which is a shame because I think true gamers (as cringey as that might sound) simply appreciate good games. Microsoft has had some real good ones that I’ve admired from afar – the Halo series, Gears of War and the Forza series. This last one brings me neatly to the subject of this review.

I’ve been watching the news on Forza Horizon 3 for a while now and it was only after getting the copy in my hands that I realised I didn’t actually own an Xbox One. I had to borrow a friends with the promise of a six-pack of beer as repayment.

Forza Horizon 3 is an open-world racing game and as per Forza-usual, the game looks phenomenal. I really enjoyed Driveclub on PS4 and would have sworn that game was the best a racing game could look on the current gen of consoles. Wrong – Horizon looks equally, if not better than Driveclub. The cars look literally photorealistic. You could zoom in until your virtual nose was squished against the bodywork and you still couldn’t see the pixels.

That’s the sort of game Horizon 3 is – a massive dream-simulator if you’re at all interested in cars. There are barn-finds, where you find old dusty classics and have them restored. Think Ferrari Dino 246, Holden HQ Monaro GTS 350, Toyota Land Cruisers and the Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi that Strip ‘The King’ Weathers from Cars was based on. Of course, I found the downloadable livery that looked the most like The King and bumped up all its internals to ‘stupid fast’ spec. Colour me a happy boy.

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If you’re dextrous with your thumbs and manage to find a stretch of empty road, circling around your car and just watching the light reflect off everything with the environment going by is an oddly relaxing thing. Alternatively, you can always decided to leave the road and simply drive through the fields and forests to get to where you need to go. Always fun in a RWD car with no traction control!

I have to say though, it is supremely frustrating when you are going off the beaten track and some trees are breakable but others seem to be made from the same stuff as Captain America’s shield. At 250kph, everything should be destructible. It’s a total buzzkill to hit a tree and be stopped in your tracks, reversing out with your wheels digging ruts into the ground, only to have the same thing happen several meters away.

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Another ridiculously tiny complaint is the sound of other cars. You can have a squad of up to four other computer-controlled racers roll out with you if you beep your horn when you see them, and make no mistake, this feature is awesome. They’ll floor it when you floor it, and cruise when you cruise. But I want to be able to hear them if I’m alongside. I want to hear five hotted-up engines rather than just mine. Thankfully these issues aren’t really issues at all and are very easily fixed – who knows, maybe they’re already being fixed?

Forza Horizon 3 is an unmissable game. Everything about it is just amazing, despite those tiny issues I highlighted. It’s available on Xbox One and PC right now, and if you don’t have either of those, get one. Seriously. It’s that good.