Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 is a 2016 racing video game developed by Playground Games and published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. The game features cross-platform play between the two platforms. The game was released on 23 September 2016 for Ultimate Edition players, and 27 September 2016 for standard and Deluxe Edition players. It is the third Forza Horizon and the ninth instalment in the Forza series. As with previous Horizon games, Turn 10 Studios assisted Playground Games in the game's development. It is set in a fictional representation of Australia. The game makes use of Turn 10 Studios Drivatar technology from previous Xbox One Forza games and features a four player co-operative multiplayer campaign and cross-platform play, as it is a part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program. Additional content has been released in the form of updates, car packs and two world expansions, which also include additional cars.

Forza Horizon 3
Forza horizon 3 cover art.jpg
Standard edition cover art featuring a Lamborghini Centenario and an airborne 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Race Truck
Developer(s)Playground Games[a]
Publisher(s)Microsoft Studios
Director(s)Ralph Fulton
Producer(s)Adam Askew
Designer(s)Martin Conner
Programmer(s)Alan Roberts
Artist(s)Benjamin Penrose
SeriesForza
Platform(s)
Release27 September 2016[b]
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer

The game received universal acclaim from critics upon release. On review aggregator site Metacritic, the Xbox One version holds an average critic score of 91/100, based on 91 reviews, making it the second highest-rated Forza Horizon title to date, only behind its direct sequel, Forza Horizon 4, which was released in 2018. The Windows version holds a score of 86/100, based on 12 critics.

GameplayEdit

 
Forza Horizon 3 allows players to race in a fictional representation of Australia. Here, the player drives a BMW M4 to a destination.

Forza Horizon 3 is a racing video game set in an open world environment based in a fictional representation of Australia.[2] The gameplay world is about twice the size of its predecessor, Forza Horizon 2,[3] and the game contains locales and regions based upon their real-life Australian counterparts.[4][5] While previous Horizon games have depicted the player as being one of the racers of the Horizon Festival, the player is now the director of the festival, and their role is to expand the festival throughout Australia by completing races, challenges, and stunts to earn fans.[3][6] By expanding the festival, the player can unlock new areas, challenges, and racing courses. [1][7]

Generally, the player competes in various forms of races in Horizon 3. Three types of racing modes are available in the game: Exhibition, Championship, and Rivals. Exhibition is a single race at one location, whereas Championship contains multiple races dispersed throughout the gameplay world. Rivals is a versus race against the player and a Drivatar, where the player has to compete in a time trial to beat the time set by the Drivatar.[8] The player can also engage in numerous non-racing activities. Added in Forza Horizon 2, the player can participate in Bucket List Challenges. During Bucket List Challenges, the player is given a task to complete with a specific vehicle, such as reaching a certain speed limit, for example.[9] One of the new features introduced in Horizon 3 are Horizon Blueprints, which allows the player to customise races and Bucket List Challenges.[3] Breakable boards called "bonus boards" can be discovered around the gameplay world; when driven over, they award the player with experience points or a discount on fast travelling.[9][10] As players progress through the game, they will receive notifications informing them of barn find rumours; when found, the in-game mechanic will restore the barn find for the player to use.[11] When performing driving stunts with a vehicle, the player is awarded "skill points"; if enough skill points are acquired, they can be used to purchase certain perks.[12]

Returning from previous Forza games, Horizon 3 features an implemented driving AI called Drivatars, which learns and mimics the driving abilities of Forza players.[13] Drivatars are found throughout the gameplay world,[14] and they appear in races as opponents, where they can be adjusted by game difficulty via the player.[9] Apart from standard races, Drivatars can be challenged to a head-to-head race. If the player wins the race, they will be able to recruit that Drivatar onto their racing team,[14] which allows the player to earn additional experience points, fans, and in-game currency.[6] The player can also recruit Drivatars in a car convoy. When in a car convoy, Drivatars will follow the player, and they can be upgraded by skill points to perform certain tasks throughout the game.[15]

The player can upgrade and tune individual parts of their vehicles, with body kits for vehicles being available to the player as well.[16][17] Additionally, Horizon 3 includes a vehicle cutsomisation option called "Upgrade Heroes," which utilizes both tuning and body kits to alter both a vehicle's performance and appearance, though the cutomisation preset is limited to a certain number of vehicles.[7] The colour of vehicles and its collective parts can changed, with the player further being able to design liveries for vehicles.[16] These liveries can be sold through the game's transactional system, which also includes an auction system to bid on cars from other players.[3][18] A total of 350 vehicles were available to players at the game's launch.[3]

Horizon 3 offers a co-operative campaign for up the four players and supports cross-platform compatibility.[15][19] The game also includes a multiplayer open world mode supporting up to 12 players.[16] In multiplayer, players can compete in standard races, though they also have the option to play various kinds of minigames with their vehicles.[6][15] As from previous Forza games, players can join clubs, where they have the ability to compete against players of other clubs in races and minigames.[15]

Development and releaseEdit

 
The 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS was featured in a Porsche downloadable car pack.

Forza Horizon 3 is developed by Playground Games and was announced on 13 June 2016 during Microsoft's E3 Xbox briefing.[2] The game was released on 27 September 2016.[19] Owners of the Ultimate Edition version of the game received access on 23 September, along with six downloadable content car packs, and access to exclusive cars and events.[20] The game also made use of Groove Music to play custom soundtracks, although the feature became limited to music and playlists uploaded to their OneDrive cloud storage only after 31 December 2017 when Microsoft discontinued the Groove Music Pass. The OneDrive music streaming feature in the game was later disabled on 31 March 2019,[21][22] effectively limiting players to the in-game soundtrack as with the other Forza Horizon games. Vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen were absent from the game due to licensing issues.[23] Forza Horizon 3 and all its downloadable content was removed from the Microsoft Store after reaching its end-of-life status on 27 September 2020.[24]

Downloadable contentEdit

Several downloadable content car packs were released. While most packs featured a small collection of cars, some packs were themed, such as the Motorsport All-Stars Car Pack. This pack included several race versions of popular sport and super cars, such as the Dodge Viper GTS-R, Nissan GT-R and Chevrolet Corvette C7. One pack was manufacturer specific, the Porsche Car Pack. This pack features the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS and two other 911 variants from various years, a 1955 Porsche 550, a 1960 Porsche 718, a 2016 Porsche Cayman and a 2017 Porsche Panamera. Additionally if all expansions are purchased players can unlock an event to trigger an additional Porsche barn find. Another car pack featured real life modified cars used by the Hoonigan brand, including a third generation Mazda RX-7 drift car, Ken Block’s Ford Mustang ‘Hoonicorn’, and a Chevrolet K5 Blazer owned by BJ Baldwin, among other cars.

On 2 November 2016, Turn 10 and Playground Games introduced a sneak preview of their upcoming snow expansion pack. The newest addition to the Forza series is the introduction of snow environments. On 28 November 2016, the expansion's title: Blizzard Mountain was showcased and was released on 13 December. Players who purchase the Expansion Pass will receive the Blizzard Mountain DLC, alongside the Hot Wheels expansion. Blizzard Mountain allows players to experience snow conditions both at the foot of and up to the peak of the titular mountain. Weather changes during play, ranging from clear skies to near whiteout conditions. The expansion comes with nine new DLC cars, including a barn find. Players can also buy the pack separately through the Microsoft Store, alongside the Expansion Pass as well.

On 26 April 2017, Turn 10 and Playground Games announced an upcoming expansion pack, in collaboration with Mattel's Hot Wheels, named Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels,[25] which includes a new area located off the coast of Australia that is constructed with real-world scale Hot Wheels stunt track pieces. Included are ten brand new DLC cars, including a barn find. Several iconic cars from the Hot Wheels franchise are included, including the Twin Mill, while manufacturer speciality cars such as the 2010 Pagani Zonda R, the 2016 Jeep Trailcat, a Chrysler Hemi Hellcat powered Jeep Trailcat (a customised Jeep Wrangler) and the 2007 Toyota Hilux featured on Top Gear's North Pole special.[25] This expansion pack was released on 9 May 2017 and is part of the Expansion Pass, as players who purchase the Expansion Pass can access this expansion pack for no additional cost.

On 28 July 2017, Microsoft announced that the fictitious Quartz Regalia from Final Fantasy XV would be available in Forza Horizon 3 as free DLC for those who've played either game on Xbox One or Forza Horizon 3 on Windows prior to 1 August 2017.[26] On that date, Forza Horizon 3 players received the car through the in-game message system, while Final Fantasy XV players received an Xbox Live message with a code to redeem the car.[26] According to Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, Forza Horizon 2 was used as a reference for the road trip aspects of the Final Fantasy game, which lead to Square Enix's partnering with Turn 10 to bring the fictional car to Horizon 3.[27]

ReceptionEdit

Forza Horizon 3 received "universal acclaim" from critics for the Xbox One version, while the PC version of the game received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[28][29] Until the release of Forza Horizon 4, it was the most-acclaimed Forza Horizon title to date and the only Xbox One console exclusive to have a Metascore higher than 90.[32][33] It was the seventh top selling game in Australia in 2016.[34] More than 2.5 million copies of the game were sold.[35]

Brett Makedonski from Destructoid gave the game a 9/10 citing that "It's a good dynamic, one that has worked expertly for three games."[10]

Nick Tan from Game Revolution gave the game 4 out of 5 stars saying that "You'll want to bend and curve around every corner in picturesque Australia landscape at least once, even if that's the only time."[6]

Miguel Concepcion from GameSpot also gave the game a 9/10 saying that "Turn 10 and Playground Games affirm the series' status as the driving game for everyone. The new emphasis on off-road options isn't at the expense of traditional races, thanks to the sheer volume of activities."[5]

Justin Towell from GamesRadar also gave the game 4 out of 5 stars citing that it "You won't need to think much while you play it, but if you're talking about places to just cut loose and enjoy the breathtaking scenery, Australia is a fine place to do it."[30]

Luke Reilly for IGN gave the game a 9.5/10 saying it "never loses sight of the fact that tearing through postcard-perfect locations should be fun, and it puts the tools in our hands to keep it that way, always. This is the racing game I've been waiting for, and it's officially my favourite thing on four wheels. A fair dinkum triumph, mates."[31]

Colin Campbell from Polygon gave the game an 8.5/10 saying that "Through a superbly realized version of Australia as well as a wide variety of terrain, cars and challenges, this free-roaming car simulation offers a valuable playbox. But it also managed to muster "cor blimey" moments that made me feel a whooping rush of speed and liberation."[1]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2016 Guild of Music Supervisors Awards Best Music Supervision In A Video Game Nominated [36]
The Game Awards Best Sports/Racing Won [37][38]
2017 British Academy Games Awards British Game Nominated [39]
Multiplayer Nominated [40]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Additional work was provided by Turn 10 Studios.[1]
  2. ^ The Ultimate Edition for the game was released on 23 September 2016, while the standard and deluxe editions were released on 27 September.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Campbell, Colin (20 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 Review". Polygon. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b Silva, Marty (13 June 2016). "E3 2016: Forza Horizon 3 Revealed, Release Date Announced". IGN. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Butterworth, Scott (21 June 2016). "13 Fast Facts About Forza Horizon 3". GameSpot. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  4. ^ Byrne, Seamus (20 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 review: Rewriting the Aussie map to create something special". CNET. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Concepcion, Miguel (23 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e Tan, Nicholas (20 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 Review". GameRevolution. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b Goodwin, Antuan (20 September 2016). "7-ish awesome new details about Forza Horizon 3". Road Show. CNET. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  8. ^ Gorgas, Tracy-Mark (28 October 2016). "Racing in the Land Down Under in Forza Horizon 3". KING 5. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Savage, Phil (26 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 Review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Makedonski, Brett (27 September 2016). "Review: Forza Horizon 3". Destructoid. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  11. ^ Donaldson, Alex (26 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3: Car Barn Finds Visual Guide". VG247. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  12. ^ Savage, Phil (28 June 2017). "By rewarding you for dangerous driving, Forza Horizon 3 justifies its many miles of open road". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Drivatars". Forza Support. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  14. ^ a b Gieson, Cacho (12 September 2016). "Preview: 'Forza Horizon 3' lets players get lost in Australia". The Mercury News. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d Orry, Tom (20 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 Review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  16. ^ a b c Wilson, Jeffrey. "Forza Horizon 3 (for PC) Review". PCMag. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  17. ^ Kato, Matthew (15 June 2016). "Forza Horizon 3". Game Informer. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  18. ^ Scammell, David (23 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3's 999,999,999 wheelspin glitch threatens in-game economy". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  19. ^ a b Welsh, Oli (13 June 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 confirmed in impressive cross-platform demo". Eurogamer. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  20. ^ Paget, Mat (14 June 2016). "Here's What's in Forza Horizon 3's $100 Ultimate Edition". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Groove Music OneDrive Streaming: FAQ". Microsoft.com. 15 March 2015. Archived from the original on 15 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  22. ^ Thorp-Lancaster, Dan (15 March 2015). "Groove Music killing OneDrive track streaming on March 31". Windows Central. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Forza Motorsport - Forza Motorsport Week in Review 8-26-16". forzamotorsport.net. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  24. ^ Wales, Matt (12 August 2020). "Forza Horizon 3 reaching "end of life" status, being removed from sale in September". Eurogamer. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  25. ^ a b Ekberg, Brian (26 April 2017). "Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels". Forza Motorsport. Microsoft. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  26. ^ a b Pereira, Chris (28 July 2017). "Final Fantasy 15's Regalia Coming For Free To Forza Horizon 3 On PC/Xbox One". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  27. ^ Schommer, John (27 July 2017). "Heavy Metal Affliction - The Regalia". Forza Motorsport. Microsoft. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Forza Horizon 3 for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Forza Horizon 3 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  30. ^ a b Towell, Justin (20 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 Review: 'Moments of magic meet busywork and filler'". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  31. ^ a b Reilly, Luke (20 September 2016). "Forza Horizon 3 Review". IGN. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  32. ^ "Forza Horizon for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  33. ^ "Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  34. ^ "Top 10 games in Australia and New Zealand for 2016 - IGEA". 31 January 2017.
  35. ^ Saed, Sherif (14 February 2017). "Forza Horizon 3 sold 2.5 million copies, franchise exceeds $1 billion in retail sales". VG 247. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  36. ^ "Seventh Annual Guild Of Music Supervisors Awards February 16, 2016 At The Theatre At Ace Hotel In Los Angeles". Guild of Music Supervisors Awards. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  37. ^ "Winners". The Game Awards. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  38. ^ Stark, Chelsea (1 December 2016). "The Game Awards: Here's the full winners list". Polygon. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  39. ^ "British Game - Overcooked". BAFTA Games Awards. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  40. ^ "Multiplayer - Overwatch". BAFTA Games Awards. Retrieved 1 March 2021.

External linksEdit