Creating a racing game that can skillfully navigate between pure arcade action and hard-core simulation is an extremely difficult task, because developers may alienate fans of both game styles. However, Playground Games successfully completed this task again in some way, this time for Forza Horizon 3, a crazy addictive racing game that represented the first time the series appeared as a PC game. The Australian environment gave the development team a cool toy box, because the climate and beautiful rugged scenery of the Oz country mix well with the iconic series of fast cars, open world exploration and reckless driving. Forza Horizon 3 is a dazzling racing game that celebrates car culture and youthful holiday vitality, but its frame rate hiccups and fragile offline mode undermine what could have been a perfect racing experience.

This third mainline series focuses on the fictional Horizon Festival, a huge racing competition. In the past “Forza Horizon” game, you assumed the role of an enthusiastic driver, hoping to show your skills at the Horizon Festival; this time it is up to you. You will still cruise, compete in fast-paced competitions, and make your garage fat with contemporary and classic vehicles, but your new duties will enable you to realize new game scenarios.

This can be seen from the beginning. When starting the game, your task is to create a character-this is the first time in the series. Forza Horizon 3 provides some pre-made male and female characters with different races and skin colors as your avatar. You cannot adjust the appearance of the selected character, but considering that almost all of your game time is spent in the car, this limitation is understandable.

As the organizer of the Horizon Festival, your duty is to please the enthusiastic participants of the event. Although you do not directly interact with fans, the game will periodically remind you of their importance. You appease them, naturally by winning games, driving with crazy talents, and performing PR stunts. The task is to take you to a new level of madness. If you happen to encounter a part of the road, a roadblock with a danger sign, you can listen to it, or throw a cautious wind through the destruction of the sign and see what is waiting on the other side. Playground Games encourages you to explore alternate paths in subtle ways, which may require you to rethink your approach to racing games.

As you progress in the game, new features become available. You can modify the competition events to create new fan favorite challenges, sign radio broadcast festivals, and even hire Drivatars, so you can passively earn extra credits, experience points and fans when you are away from the computer. Credits allow you to buy new wheels, experience points can unlock new features and options as your level increases, and fans will push you to open up new hubs to expand the size of playable maps.

Forza Horizon 3 provides several exciting and completely cool racing content, but it is not presented in an overwhelming way. Playground Games meticulously gauges the introduction of new challenges and new features, so that you will not be intimidated by choices in the early stages, even after you have accumulated hours of road time, there are new things to experience.

There are more than 350 cars available for collection, including off-road vehicles, coupe, SUV, sports and muscle varieties. Players who can be regarded as the most hardcore audience of “Top Gear” will suddenly realize that all the wheels are fully authorized by well-known car manufacturers such as BMW, Ferrari, Ford and Jeep. In fact, in the boxed images and promotional materials of “Forza Horizon 3”, the “cover car” that appeared was the Ford F-150 Raptor and the super handsome Lamborghini Centenario.

Each car includes a first-person cockpit view, work lights and wipers for night and rain driving, respectively. ForzaVista mode allows you to explore the exterior and interior of the car. This is pure visual enjoyment. Traveling through the forest with a buggy is far better than doing the same thing with a coupe. When you find yourself flying towards a tree, you will understand what I mean.

The open world design allows you to sail in a forest full of trees, cruise in a sunny urban environment, or go off-road and open up a path in the countryside. Riding a shotgun is an automatic natural navigation assistant who provides advice on where to go and what to do on a huge map of Australia. The driving assistant will notify you of many races nearby, mark their location on the map, and show the location of bucket lists and showdowns. You can use the controller or keyboard to activate A.N.N.A., but the real fun comes from using your voice. For example, if a microphone is connected to your computer, you can ask A.N.N.A. to draw a path to the most recent challenge. Voice control technology is quite cool, making you feel like Michael Knight.

Music plays a big role in the experience of Horizon Festival. As you progress, you will unlock eight radio stations, some of which are based on real-life record companies. They cover various types, including classical, hip-hop, house and indie rock. Although RUN-DMC’s “It’s Tricky”, Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” and 148 other songs constitute a perfect background music, you can choose to use your own music.

Despite the arcade element, “Forza Horizon 3” is involved in the simulation world with a large number of customization options. You can purchase designs created by the Forza community, change the color of individual parts, or use the built-in editing tools to create your own designs.

Custom options extend to the performance characteristics of your car, which is where the more simulation aspects of the game come into play. You can adjust and upgrade tire pressure, gears, alignment, brakes, springs, etc. until you control the way you want. You can choose whether the car will be physically injured, and whether this damage is merely cosmetic or affects vehicle performance. Horizon 3 makes you a gear madman or casual driver, which is also part of the game’s genius.

The blur of the online and offline worlds is another highlight of Horizon 3. In single player mode, you will fight against CPU opponents based on the data collected from the player’s driving ability, which makes the opponent more real. These artificial intelligence drivers, called Drivatars, sometimes drive accurately, and sometimes behave like complete lunatics, it all depends on the people they copy. On the other hand, multiplayer games include 12-person free roaming and racing modes, as well as a new four-player online collaboration. The most important thing is that you can jump almost seamlessly between single and multiplayer, there is no place like a hall, you have to wait inside. Forza Horizon 3 puts you where you belong: on the road.


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