E3 2016 – Hands on: Forza Horizon 3


As an Australian I just had to play this game. Borrowing from a multitude of landscape around the country Forza Horizon 3 brings a new drop-in/play-anywhere style of gameplay to this latest instalment of the arcade racer franchise.

Also a new addition is Microsoft’s “Play Anywhere” feature enabling the game to seamlessly continue between both PC and Xbox platforms.

I was given the opportunity to play on PC, the graphics incredibly detailed as you’d expect. That wasn’t to say the Xbox One wasn’t holding its own by any means. Right next to me where a string of XB1s belting out the same series of tracks in gorgeous detail. Playing on the PC using an XB1 controller and then later on an XB1 itself I was just as satisfied.


Whilst the game is set in Australia it’s by no means modelled one to one on an actual section of Australian roads. One of the courses made available for example, had you driving through what looks to be stilted homes of far north Queensland only to crest a mountain and diving into the sandy beaches, 12 Apostles at your side. Australia may provide the source material for many of the games landmarks and settings but that’s where it starts and ends. That is of course excluding the excruciatingly horrid Australian accent that you kind of expect but hoped wouldn’t be in there narrating one of the NPC’s in the now infamous helicopter drop in race you saw in the trailer.

I spoke with a member of the development team who all but confirmed the source of Australia was meant only as a setting rather than a recreation. Surprisingly the demo tracks were quite Victorian heavy, the Yarra Valley, the Apostles, what looked like Geelong’s beachfront and then Queensland and the rainforests. Absent were the obvious Sydney international icons such as the Harbour Bridge & Opera House but I’m sure we’ll see them in time to come.


The cars look incredible. Microsoft have never shied away from their detail when it comes to their car modelling and the attention to detail is second to none. I do get the feeling that we’re almost running out of room to push this forward though. They look so incredibly real now between it’s bigger brother “Forza” and Sony stalwart & counterpart Gran Turismo car models are so beautifully detailed they’re as if they came out of the manufacturer’s own CAD files.

As far as the actual gameplay goes, it’s just plain old fun! The Horizon series is unabashedly an arcade racer and shouldn’t be taken as anything more. The game allows you to sit behind the wheel of a multitude of different vehicles, not just your standard supercars. If you have the interest to race in trucks, off-road buggies and more (similar to Dirt 2 & 3) then this will be right up your alley. If you’re after a hardcore car simulation steer clear, but then you probably already knew that.

Forza Horizon 3 is as close as we’re getting to the awesomeness that was Burnout in this generation of console and with a heavy emphasis on friendly rivalries this is a title you’ll want to be playing with, or rather against, friends in. Look out for FH3 in September this year!