Our car-nut of an Editor goes on a road-trip around Australia in a Halo Warthog through the Outback. Sounds ridiculous, well it is, but it’s also a lot of fun.

Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 Lamborghini on Beach

I’ve been a big fan of racing games since Mario Kart 64 on the Nintendo 64, and while I still enjoy Mario Kart 8 on my Wii U quite a lot, sometimes a few real cars can’t hurt. And so I played Forza Motorsport 6 last year, Microsofts incredibly realistic racing simulation. And I sucked at it. But wait, isn’t there another racing game starting with „Forza“!? Oh yeah, while Microsofts Turn 10 made the most accurate racer, british studio PlaygroundGames made the most fun one.

From Colorado over southern France we arrive in Australia for the third Horizon Festival, and some might think that this game is a weird choice for a review, but the Horizon franchise is actually very close to my heart by now. And while the newest demo for Gears of War 4 left no lasting impact on me, FH3s reveal at E3 earlier this year had me grinning across my face in anticipation for a hundred hours of sheer fun. And, though I might jump ahead a bit, it has exactly that. The completely overhauled structure of the game brings with it the ability to create your own fun, and not in the No Man’s Sky way, where you have to really get into character of being an explorer and shit, no. With Horizons new „Blueprints“ you can create your own races, by setting routes, rules, and adjusting environmental conditions. But this extends far beyond just races around a circuit or from A to B, creation tools for challenges are included as well, Speed Zones, Stunt Jumps, and Bucket Lists.

forzahorizon3More than before, Horizon 3 puts the player behind the wheel of an off-road vehicle, blazing through dense rainforests or jumping over the sand in the Outback. But as always, there are more cars to play around with than you can count, so racing along the „Twelve Apostles“ in an Lamborghini Centenario is just as much fun as racing it through the narrow streets of „Surfer’s Paradise“. And that’s the advantage Horizon has in relation to it’s bigger brother called Motorsport, it doesn’t dick you over for the different surface frictions between dry and wet streets, or lets you spin out of control because your Hypercar is, in reality, absolutely useless off the road. Horizon is accessible enough so that everyone can pick it up and have fun with it, without forgetting to put in a challenge for more experienced players. „Easy to learn, hard to master“ is what you call it, right? And more than any other realistic racer I’ve played, Horizon is a community, something that PlaygroundGames understands. So this time around, there’s a 4-Player Co-Op campaign. Or rather, you can invite your friends to your single-player campaign and play through it together. Due to Microsofts „Play Anywhere“ campaign, you can even do that when your friends are on PC while you’re playing on XBOX One.

Halo Warthog in rainforest

Horizon is a game for everyone. It not just looks and sounds fantastic in 1080p at 30fps on my XBOX One (on PC you can obviously push the graphics a lot further) but, more importantly, it plays fantastic as well. It doesn’t punish you for looking at the side of the road funny. On the contrary, sometimes the game even outright tells you to get off the beaten paths and find something extraordinary. And I did, though it wasn’t always something the game provided, fun is always there. Oh and something for the Halo fans: If you’ve played either the Halo: MCC or Halo 5 on the account you’re playing Horizon 3 on, you’ll get the iconic Halo Warthog in your garage. And its awesome! So, what are you waiting for? For some footage of the stuff I’ve talked about, like the Warthog, here’s a little video-review as well.


Forza Horizon 3 by PlaygroundGames is out now on XBOX One and Windows 10. 
Go play it now, it’s awesome!

Beitragsbild: Kevin Wendlandt
Video-Review: Kevin Wendlandt
Bilder: Microsoft Studios/Turn 10/PlaygroundGames