The debate surrounding the amount of content in Forza Horizon 3 has never been in doubt. Multiple races, bucket lists, drift events, challenges, championships, hidden barn finds, smashable bonus boards and plenty more are all in place, bringing Xbox and PC racing fans hundreds of hours of entertainment. Throw in a hugely comprehensive online side and chances are you may never need to play another game this year.
But even with all those options, more content is always appreciated and whilst the stunning scenery and wild outback of Australia has been an absolute delight to race around, there were always a few things missing: snow, ice and blizzards.
You know, like Australia is famed for.
The addition of Blizzard Mountain as the first big expansion for Forza Horizon 3 is a welcome one, giving us a chance to showcase our skills away from the main festival; drifting, skidding and crashing our way over the ice mountain peaks that it brings. White is the order of the day, replacing the usual sunshine and great weather that we have become accustomed to with the Horizon series.
Now, if you’re a FH3 veteran, then much of what is included in Blizzard Mountain will be instantly familiar. The visuals are the same – except that everything is a bit whiter – the sounds are still as awesome as ever and the racing physics are as spot on as they always have been. Granted, you’ll find yourself spinning and drifting to victory much more than you would normally, but that’s pretty much a gimme when the roads are covered in ice. The snow tyres certainly help matters though!
The usual races are in place, there are more boards to smash and and there are barn finds and bucket list events to tackle. Of course, all of this can be completed as a solo player or with online friends tagging along for the ride. With multiple rounds of events drip fed your way at a clever pace, you’ll find that your time on Blizzard Mountain will definitely not be over in five minutes.
In fact, should you wish to become the Kingmaker, rising to the top of the mountain as you do so, then you’ll need to go deep into star collecting, all made available via events, Rivals and championship options. Gone is the ‘fan system’ that powered things along in the standard Horizon experience and instead a simple star mechanic replaces it. If I’m honest, it is much preferred and considerably easier to understand than the standard format. That though may well be down to Playground Studios developing a well thought out method of progression throughout the expansion’s entirety.
You see, for many of the events, you’ll be gifted a star just for completing what is put in front of you. That will be doubled should you manage to win the event as well, whilst hitting an extra criteria – whether that be picking up tons of skill points, pulling off passes or grabbing air – will see a third and final star added to your rewards list.
Bucket lists and drifting events also help contribute and the better you perform in these, or the harder the challenge ahead of you is, will determine the stars you earn. And you’ll want to earn them, because not only is it all great fun, but there’s a huge sense of achievement behind nearly every single one.
There are, in total, 160 stars to earn and it is only once you have maxed this out will you really find yourself as the true king of the mountain. Thankfully though, in order to unlock the final event – a huge race around everything Blizzard Mountain can throw at you – you need only gather up 100 of the shiny fellas. If you find yourself struggling, then teaming up with a friend and competing in the co-op campaign can help you out massively, but any racer worth their salt should just about find enough of a challenge in what the mountain holds to enable completion.
For all of this to happen though then you’ll need a new motor or eight, and the Blizzard Mountain add-on brings exactly that figure – eight new cars, including the rather awesome Ken Block and Monster liveried 2016 Ford GYMKHANA 9 Focus RS RX. You’ll also find the option to equip snow tyres to any motor from your vehicle stable and these really are an essential piece of kit. But again, that’s stating the bleedin’ obvious.
As an add-on, Blizzard Mountain is right up there with the very best you could possibly purchase. We knew that Playground would deliver something of the highest quality, but there were slight concerns that the price tag asked – that of £16.74, may have been a bit too high. Thankfully it’s not and the huge amount of content, the superb enjoyment received and the chance to test your Forza skills in a completely different, drifting manner, is great.
It’s pretty much a nailed on cert that any past, present or future Forza Horizon 3 player will want to take to Blizzard Mountain as a matter of priority. That’s because the sheer thrill of racing wheel-to-wheel with some of the world’s best drivers, in the dark, with a full-on blizzard hitting you in the face, is just too much to ever turn down.
Just remember to bring the snow tyres.