Forza Horizon 3 Review

Richard Walker

There's a small part of me that wishes the Forza Horizon 3 lifestyle was a thing that I got to live out for real. Given expensive supercars for doing nothing, placed in charge of a massive racing festival without having to do anything, and able to freely race through an Aussie paradise without a care in the world, life in Forza Horizon 3 is pretty sweet. Instead, I'm writing this review, having had the chance to live the Horizon life in digital fashion, which to be fair, is also quite nice. It helps that the game looks utterly stunning and handles like a dream too.

While stating that a Forza game looks incredible is par for the course these days, truly, Forza Horizon 3 is the best-looking yet. In fact, it might just be the most beautiful game we've seen on Xbox One so far, its slick and detailed visuals running with a super smooth frame rate as you speed through acres of sandy outback, verdant rainforest, pristine beaches and the busy city streets of Surfers Paradise, as the sunlight streams through the trees or raindrops glisten on your car's shiny bodywork. There isn't a pixel out of place; it really is a remarkable game to look at. But looks aren't everything, of course, and thankfully Forza Horizon 3 has also got it where it counts.

This is how the game begins: racing a chinook helicopter.

Anyone who's played a Horizon game before will know what to expect here: rewards for skills, skill chains for XP, spins to win credits or cars upon levelling up, and a range of inventive and crazy events to complete, including more Bucket List madness. In rustling up another selection of fun activities to indulge in, the third game more than delivers, adding additional layers to the experience by placing you in charge of the Horizon Festival this time around. That means you're calling the shots, choosing where you want to place a site next and when to expand, once you've accumulated the requisite number of fans to grow the festival, that is.

And the way to build your fanbase is to win races (including illicit Street Races), complete challenges, pull off various feats including speed traps and new drift zones or danger jumps, and obviously, ace the game's Showcase Events, which this time include races against a chinook helicopter carrying a jeep, a freight train, power boats and more. You're able to create your own race events too – including bespoke Bucket Lists - via Horizon Blueprints, choosing your parameters such as weather conditions, number of laps, eligible cars and so on. The game then generates a flyer for your event, bearing the unique (filth-free) name you've come up with for it, which you can subsequently share with friends.

Speaking of friends, you can now hire and fire them as part of your Horizon Drivatar crew, who'll go out and about earning bonus XP and such. To hire a member, you'll have to track them down then challenge them to a head-to-head race, before enlisting their services. As your rank of four Drivatars fills up, you'll then have to decide which four are worthy of a place on your team, firing the dead wood to make way for the best drivers you can find out of the friends on your friends list.

With a team assembled, you can then set to work exploring, smashing XP and Fast Travel discount boards, discovering the roads of Australia, and locate those elusive Barn Finds. These are mercifully far easier to find too thanks to being able to scope out areas using the new drone cam. There's a slew of content to race through in Forza Horizon 3, especially once you factor in the Horizon Blueprints, alongside the multitude of online facets. There's practically infinite life in Playground Games' latest. Online, Horizon 3 takes things to another level, offering 4-player campaign co-op in which everything you do counts towards your single-player progress, a variety of online races, free-roam and convoy races to other locations.

The best bit remains the chaotic mini-games, such as King and Infected, in which cars all pile into an arena and compete to come out on top. These modes are every bit as raucous as they were in Forza Horizon 2, while Flag Rush, the game's take on capture the flag, is far more fun than it has any right to be. Racing online in Horizon is also far more enjoyable than it is in any practically other racing game out there, rewarding you with mountains of XP and Credits, even if you lose. You can't really go wrong playing Forza Horizon 3 online: it's great, especially with friends in an Online Adventure and multi-event XP Championship.

Smashing stuff is still all kinds of fun.

And Playground has ensured that there are plenty of different ways to play online, earning extra XP and Credits while you're at it. Reach a later juncture in the game and you'll unlock the ability to join a Club, earning additional rewards as you rise through the Tiers. There's nothing missing from Forza Horizon 3 then; there's masses of content with more and more events added to the massive Australian world map as your festival sites expand. There are no wristbands to worry about this time too, as you're in charge, you're concerned only with levelling up and growing your Horizon Festival.

All of these different aspects of Forza Horizon 3 have an accompanying achievement to unlock, with a decent spread across the entire game. However, some of the tasks you're presented with are a bit pedestrian, and as always, there's a whole lot of grinding to be done. Like every Forza game, the achievement list still doesn't quite manage to deliver.

Another achingly beautiful Forza game, Horizon 3 is bristling with content across its wonderfully varied open world that makes for countless hours of automotive fun. You could simply drive across the entirety of the game's sprawling chunk of Australia and enjoy that in its own right, but the new and inventive Bucket Lists, Showcases and Barn Finds with sly nods to movies like The Evil Dead and Mad Max (and even a nod to British sitcom classic Only Fools & Horses) as well as myriad racing events ensure that there's absolutely loads to do. Forza Horizon 3 is insanely enjoyable; racing in its most undiluted form, allowing you to drift, smash and catch air to your heart's content. It's marvellous.

Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 is another stellar open world racing game that has a plethora of things to see and do. Some of it can get somewhat repetitive during prolonged sessions, but Playground Games has really gone to town in packing the game with a variety of events and some great online activities to keep you hooked. Hit the gas and set off on an Aussie racing odyssey. You won't regret it.

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A strong soundtrack with some great tunes to race around to, the variety of radio stations and Groove Music integration means a far broader selection of songs. Cars roar and purr just like they should, and there are fun novelty horns for your car too!


By far the best looking Forza game to date, Horizon 3 is also arguably one of the prettiest Xbox One games we've seen, period. Weather effects are glorious and the lighting, car models and scenery are simply sublime.


As ever, handling strikes the perfect balance realism and arcade accessibility, meaning whatever sort of a racing experience you fancy, Forza Horizon 3 has you covered.


Loads and loads of events pepper FH3's world map once you've expanded your Horizon Festival sites, but it's the Barn Finds, Bucket Lists and Showcases that are still the real draw. Chuck in Horizon Blueprints and more online fun than you can shake a gearstick at, and this pretty much has it all.


Another fairly disappointing list that goes heavy on the grind once again. Surely Playground Games can do better than this?

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