Forza Horizon 3
|Forza Horizon 3|
|Release||27 September 2016[b]|
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. Additional content has been released in the form of car packs and two world expansions, which also include additional cars.
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.
Forza Horizon 3 is a racing video game set in an open world environment based in a fictional representation of Australia. The gameplay world is expansive, twice the size of its predecessor in the series Forza Horizon 2, and includes locales such as Surfers Paradise, Byron Bay, Yarra Valley, Woods Point, Coober Pedy and the Outback. Players compete in various events around the game's world, including various forms of races, time trials, drifting, and Bucket List Challenges. During Bucket List Challenges, the player is given a specific car and task. For example, the player may need to reach a certain top speed in the Ford GT before time runs out. Players can also find billboards throughout the gameplay world, which, when driven over, award the player with experience points or discount on fast travelling. Upgrades and vehicles can be purchased through any of the game's festival sites. Here the player can also choose to expand a site with additional events as they progress. A total of 350 cars are available to players at launch.
While previous Horizon games have depicted the player as one of the racers of the Horizon Festival, the player is now the director of the Festival, and their role is to make it the biggest festival in the world. As director, the player can hire or fire other drivers as part of their racing team as well as organise and customise races and Bucket List events around the map using the new Horizon Blueprint feature. The player can customise the character's style and ethnicity, as well as being able to customise the vehicles with custom paints and designs, upgrades and body kits from more popular manufacturers like Rocket Bunny and Liberty Walk. As players progress throughout the game they will receive notifications informing the player of barn find rumours. When found, the player's mechanic will restore the barn find for the player to use. Players can also design liveries for vehicles. These liveries can be sold through the game's transactional system, which also includes an auction system to purchase cars from other players. Forza Horizon 3 makes use of Turn 10 Studios Drivatar technology from previous Xbox One Forza games. The game features a four player co-operative multiplayer campaign and cross-platform play, as it is a part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program.
Development and release
Forza Horizon 3 is developed by Playground Games and was announced on 13 June 2016 during Microsoft's E3 Xbox briefing. The game was released on 27 September 2016. 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. 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, effectively limiting players to the in-game soundtrack as with the other Forza Horizon games.
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 1960 Porsche 718 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 eight new DLC cars. 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, 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 nine brand new DLC cars. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. It was the seventh top selling game in Australia in 2016. More than 2.5 million copies of the game were sold.
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
- Additional work was provided by Turn 10 Studios.
- The Ultimate Edition for the game was released on 23 September 2016, while the standard and deluxe editions were released on 27 September.
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