You don't need to love cars to enjoy Forza
Right from the start, it becomes abundantly clear that the developers of Forza Horizon 3 - Playground Games - not only love making brilliant racing games, they love cars.
Even when driving a glacially slow wood-panelled station wagon, we feel a certain sense of character and spriteliness imbued into driving experience, something that was painfully absent in some of the earlier iterations of Gran Turismo. In Forza Horizon 3, all cars exhibit a uniqueness that can only be born from the respect given to them by the developers.
That isn't to say that Forza has become a scrapbook of eccentric and hyper-realistic oddities geared towards out-and-out petrol heads. Forza Horizon 3 is a racing game for absolutely everyone.
You don't need to love cars to enjoy this game, and you don't need to be into the current racing game scene either, which seems squarely focused on serving hardcore genre fans' craving for authenticity.
The cars in Forza Horizon 3 look and sound authentic, and up to a point they feel authentic to drive too, but they will all drift elegantly, they will all plough across fields and ford rivers without bogging down, and they will all survive jumping off cliffs with aplomb. Because those things are fun, and fun is more important.
Whether it's the absolutely beathtaking map, faithfully recreating some of Australia's more beautiful regions, or the razor-sharp 'arcade-y' steering, Forza Horizon 3 is all about accesibility. It is a bold move by Playground Games to move away from the rigid authenticity championed by the game's developers in the past, but I reckon you would be hard pushed to find anyone that would argue against these changes having played the game just once.
For the first time, you can now do everything in the game's Horizon festival campaign in four-player co-op.
This is a very nice feature to have and can be great fun, especially with friends. It's been sensibly designed, too, with map progress tied to the session leader's game, but carrying back to your own, and event scoring adjusted to promote team effort rather than competition.
Forza Horizon 3 is an immaculately designed experience. I don't think it is a stretch to say that you could play this game for hours reaching in to triple digits and still find yourself coming back to it.
Playground Games have, without a shadow of a doubt, cemented their place yet again atop the pile of racing simulations
Forza horizon 3
Xbox 360 / PC