Forza Horizon 3 review: Australia's never looked so good
WITH gorgeous Australian scenery from Byron Bay to the outback and 350 cars to play with, Forza Horizon 3 has set the new gold standard for open racing game adventures.
The level of detail in everything from the handling of the cars to the rainforest backdrops is so exquisite and immersive that you can easily find yourself lost for days just exploring.
And that's the beauty of this game. While you have a 'job' to do in setting up your own high octane Horizon Festival, there's freedom to do it your way.
You can take on impromptu street races, find challenges, uncover new historic and exotic cars lying around in old barns, as well as go head to head in the many set challenge races.
Playground Games has done an exceptional job in building a game that is so huge and so full of variety that you will not want to leave your lounge room.
There's deserts, rocky canyons, sandy beaches as well as the glitz and glamour of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. The world is scattered with PR stunt opportunities, danger sign jumps, drift zones and bucket list challenges which range from screaming down an airport runway at 400km/h to taking on a freight train.
Victoria's Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road scenery is incredibly realistic.
They were made using a process called photogrammetry where hundreds of photos are put through a process to create 3D images from every angle.
What is not so realistic in the game, however, is the geography.
The Twelve Apostles are seen as being north of Byron Bay (they are well south, of course, in Victoria!)
The Glass House Mountains on the Sunshine Coast, the Yarra Valley and the Outback itself are just kilometres down the road from Surfers! So the game doesn't quite cover the 4100 kilometres from east to west in the real Australia.
Plenty of cars to choose from
As well as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, Mercs, BMWs, there are beach buggies and very distinctly Australian Holden and Ford cars, including a 1974 Holden Sandman HQ panel van and a 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra
As you acquire new vehicles along the way you can set up your own event, or just choose the default option and get straight into the action.
Winning events is pretty easy with a blue line guiding you through the course. It turns red when you need to brake. Anna, your in car assistant, will set your course to new challenges.
One of the features of the game that we loved the most was the rewind option which comes in handy if you stuff up a turn and want to do it over again.
As you win more races, you earn more money and bring more fans to the festival which then can expand into new locations.
Along the way there are also random wheel spins where you can win cash and cars.
You can also hire friends to help you gain fans and expand your festival and form convoys with them to explore the world, and of course, if they're not winning, fire them!
Everything is customisable in Forza Horizon 3 - from the race events to the bucket list challenges You can also also create custom paint jobs, add body kits - or just use ones created and shared by others.
When it comes to music, there are eight stations to choose from - including Groove Music where you can use your own tunes to create a station.
If there is one game you get for your Xbox One this year, this would be my pick.
Forza Horizon 3
Developed by: Playground Games
Published by: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Windows 10 PC, Xbox One