By Dane Ammann
Most of us grew up playing videos games. Whether or not if you played them after school, on the weekends or just at a get together with some friends, you loved them, or at least you learned to love them. Racing games were a huge part of that in some cases. The times that you’d get together with your friends and challenge each other on whatever games you could find is one memory that we can all share, at least most of us can. Many of us that grew up or dipped a toe into the world of racing simulators have become quite the enthusiasts later on in life. The combination of racing simulators and arcade style racing games have created a new and even younger generation of enthusiasts. Bringing car culture to the younger generation is leaning towards a more positive growth of the culture itself.
Even though car culture has united us, we still have our differences. On the gaming side of things we have the fans of one of the most loved racing games, I think that it’s safe to say, of all time: Forza. The franchise has blossomed into something we thought, or at least never expected it could be. Now in car culture, there are two sides to every story (just like everything else in life), but with the Forza franchise, they have created a way to please both sides with ease.
Now in one hand we have the fans/enthusiasts that love just to have fun and enjoy just messing around and playing with customizations while not needing to worry about all the specifications that come with racing. Those fans have been given the arcade style racing game that has been named Forza Horizon.
On the other hand, we have the complete opposite. We have the hardcore racing fans that most likely grew up building, or at least repairing cars with an older member of the family. Now these fans have a very deep passion for the automotive world. They’re more into the finer specs of the cars and tuning them as well. These fans love racing to the bone, and we can bet that they’ve all dreamed of being at the least, a pit crew member on a racing team. They were the kids that either wanted to be a race car driver or an astronaut when they grew up. Those probably didn’t happen, so these hardcore fans found solace in the simulator portion of the franchise which was dubbed Forza Motorsports. That story is sadly in a completely different book my friends.
Today, let’s talk about the brand new arcade-style racing game that the Forza franchise has successfully birthed, yet again. Their newest installation in the series would be Forza Horizon 3, but you most likely knew that already. Those pesky petrol-headed burnouts! Well, there is a giant stack of info that we have about this game, and here it is.
We’ve played through the game and loved it all the way through. We did find a few things that we were peeved about, not disappointed, but peeved. As we started the game, the picture throughout the opening just revved us up and got us ready for the road ahead. As we began to play, the colors popped and shattered our expectations. The picture was just amazing, and the flares were spot on when the sun was shining. They gave the arcade style racing game the old-school realistic simulator look and feel right from the starting line. Right when we thought it was getting good, we ran into our first issue. The vehicles do feel a little boat-like. Don’t get us wrong, the vehicle that you’re using drastically changes the feel of driving and even changes the look by lowering the driver’s sight to fit the height of the vehicle, but the issue lies with the physics of the game.
It wasn’t just the vehicles that we were using; it was the boat like feeling that the game as a whole gave to us that was a little off-putting. Personally, I’m a gearhead and am a diehard fan of their simulator series. That being said, I was easily charmed by the amazing graphics and audio that Horizon 3 threw at me and was then expecting the simulator feel that usually accompanies those characteristics, but I was let down. The great graphics and audio were accompanied by a sloppy, disconnected Need for Speed like experience. After we had acclimated to the arcade style climate, it wasn’t that bad. Instead of having to be extremely careful of everything that we did, like in the simulator series, we were able just to sit back, relax and enjoy ourselves while throwing our car around like your man parts on a nice stroll through the neighborhood on a humid summer afternoon. To brighten this up and get your mind out of the gutter, we did run into the fantastic side of the arcade racer.
The team at Playground Games was nice enough to set up the Horizon festival (I’m not going to explain what the Horizon Festival is because I would like to leave a little mystery to newcomers) in Australia this season. The Land Down Under is the perfect place to have the festival! The thing that we ran into or more like onto that was so great was DIRT! Horizon 3 is full of dirt, mud, clay, and sand. Being able to throw the cars around really got fun when we hit the trails. The sluggish feeling that we had on the road completely disappeared when we went off-road. Horizon 3 offers a little bit of both worlds which is pretty refreshing for a change. The new terrain also gave the developers at Playground Games an excuse to add many new off-road capable vehicles to the showroom.
Another point that we came across that was pretty sad was that there are some vehicles in the game that you have to unlock instead of purchase. I, like that idea because it adds a bit of a challenge to the game. Plus, when you unlock those cars, it gives you some sense of achievement and makes you want to continue.
It will also give you a sense of achievement when you join the club and start your Forza experience. I started playing from the beginning, and I never regretted every purchase after that. I know that I will support the Forza community for years to come. Some things were a little off about the game, but those things weren’t enough to hate or even dislike it. We loved our experience and welcomed the next Forza Motorsports with open arms. With that being said, we couldn’t find anything ultimately wrong with the game, but we did make our points. Now comes the rating! If I had to rate Forza Horizon 3, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 for its superior look and feel over its competitors. The testing group enjoyed it, and we recommend that you give it a shot yourself. May it bring you hours and hours of wasted minutes.