I’m not really sure why I bothered playing the Forza Horizon 3 demo on Xbox One. I mean, as a veteran of the Forza Motorsport series, and one who has fully embraced the move to the open road, no-track-limits world that the Horizon series has brought, I was always going to love Forza Horizon 3. In fact, aside from Turn10, Playground Games and Microsoft Studios ditching the cars, throwing in some 8 bit visuals and limiting us to a one-way street of gun-toting hell, Forza Horizon 3 always was going to blow me away.
And on the back of the demo, blown away is exactly what I am.
Having made the decision to take the racing ‘down under’ and subject gamers to some of the most beautiful Australian scenery they could ever imagine, Playground and Turn10 are on the verge of making an already superb race franchise even better.
The open world has been beautifully crafted and everything from the smallest detail right up to the largest expanse of sky anyone has ever seen, will delight from the first moment to the last. With a great split between the hustle and bustle of city roads, beachcombing avenues and the wide open craggy outback, no matter what type of racing you want to get involved in, there is seemingly something for all. Rain and overcast weather is well realised too, and the demo has given a great insight into how the world will evolve as we are racing.
The cars that steal the show may currently be limited in numbers, but that is the very nature of a demo and what has been included is good enough for now. Each vehicle handles differently from the next and allows for hardcore racers, newcomers and arcade fans to get involved. The star car, the 2017 Lamborghini Centenario, is stunning and handles with a glorious arcade-like feel without it ever feeling too fake, and combined with the off-road delights of the Monster Energy Trophy Truck, kicks the action of brilliantly. The same goes for the other four cars that are on display and fans of BMW, Nissan, Ford and HSV will be excited to get behind the wheel of the very finest M4 Coupe, Silva Spec-R, Shelby GT350R and Limited Edition Gen-F GTS Maloo respectively.
It wouldn’t be Forza Horizon 3 without ANNA – the special Automated Natural Navigation Assistant – picking out the best events for you to participate in and there are plenty of special events or side distractions which the demo has highlighted perfectly. With fast travel boards to smash, drifting side events to get to grips with, Danger Jumps, the now standard Bucket List challenges and the chance to compete, right from the off, in one of Playground Games and Turn10’s iconic, madcap car against helicopter/jeep races that are synonymous with the series, is appreciated. It doesn’t fail to excite either and whilst there is obviously some rubber banding in place, it never takes the excitement away.
Forza Horizon has not just delivered a superb single player experience over the years, but the online component, including the open-to-anything free roam that has seen players flock, has emerged to ensure that no other racing title comes close to beating it.
And so the chance to mess around online in the included demo free roam is just as appreciated. It could have all quite easily been restricted to a much smaller area, just a car or two and nothing more than a few single player events, but thankfully Turn10 have included enough content to show how much faith they have in their ability to deliver.
And deliver they have because unless the world ends tomorrow, Forza Horizon 3 is going to be nothing short of awesome. The demo has completely confirmed that.