Turn 10 studios hit the ground running at E3 2016 and shows no signs of slowing down with their powerful new title, Forza Horizon 3. Moving forward in terms of gameplay and visual design, the sequel to the off road experience of the series is geared up to take advantage of everything the Xbox One S has to offer.
The upcoming racing title is set to take part in Microsoft’s Play Anywhere feature that allows players to purchase a copy of the title for the Xbox One and also play the same game on Windows 10 PCs (or the other way around). Adding on to that is the cross platform technology.
Not only will Forza players be able to compete against their PC counterparts, they’ll also be able to use the cross-save feature to save their Drivatar garage and achievements across both platforms. Players will literally be able to finish a race on the Xbox, save the game, log on to their computer and pick up where they left off.
Turn 10 mixes a lot of the old and new when it comes to Forza Horizon with 350 cars appearing in the game (many of which are designed and built in Australia), an updated weather system and all being set within the Australian outback. The open world gives players a new way to experience the story mode in comparison to the fragmented globe trotting in Forza 6. Players can navigate around urban cities and off road adventures as they make their way between their garage, daily missions and story based content.
The trick system is a fairly surprising addition that is sure to be taken advantage of by gamers on any console. Similarly to the skate and snowboard games of old, players will stumble upon ramps and open air scenarios that allow them to show their skills at driving. In a special hands-on demo at E3, we were able to take a small look at the mechanic, but I feel as though I won’t be able to appreciate it until I as a player accomplish a 360 spin over a highway and stick the landing.
Forza Motorsport 6 showcased a finely tuned rain and weather system, but it was still tethered to pre-rendered effects that reacted the same way each time you played the race. Horizon 3, however, features a dynamic weather system that was actually modeled after Australian weather patterns. Camera crews from the Redmond, Washington based developers were outfitted with special 12K High Dynamic Range cameras in order to capture months of cloud and rain data.
The result being a high-quality weather system that changes through the same chaotic means with which it does in the real world and a skyline that is composited of actual HDR pictures. As part of the reveal of the Xbox One S, Horizon is actually designed from the ground up to support the HDR output that the One S provides with the added support of 4K up resolution.
Normally, this wouldn’t phase me. 4K and HDR are nice additions, but the design work of Art Director Ben Penrose really does take advantage of what these enhancements can do. Most notably in the mud. In Horizon 3, rain doesn’t just build up in puddles, it dampens the dirt around it making huge amounts of mud.
Splashing through mud has the obvious camera spray that we’ve seen before, but the mud that cakes up on the car itself doesn’t just form into predetermined areas along the tires, it gets everywhere. Even still, parts of it dry up before others do, with the more wet areas being heavily affected by the wind flying over your car. In short, a higher pixel count and improved color ranges actually give you a greater appreciation of the hard work that goes into making a game as beautiful as Forza Horizon 3.
Featuring over 100 hours of gameplay, fans of the series could find themselves investing much more into this game with all of the new features being implemented. Campaign Co-op will make its debut in the title, with drop-in and out gameplay for up to 4 players, and you can even hire them to compete in custom built festivals.
Blueprints are another new addition that allows you to create, share and modify custom events and races. Players can start by adjusting pre existing content, or go off the rails by selecting their own routes, jumps and weather patterns to create the most epic courses possible. This creativity also extends into the custom vanity plates that fans can create in the title.
The auction house is back as a way to make fast money on cars you don’t use, and even stands as a means for gamerss to customize lesser cars into terrifying beasts and resell them for an ungodly profit. However, you could also calmly cruise around Australia listening to the increased radio stations that offer more options.
If you’re one of the few people that can’t find a station you enjoy, you can now upload your own music to the game through the Groove Radio Station. A separate station that pulls music saved to your Microsoft OneDrive.
The only slight downside to any of this is the disappearance of the Top Gear cast, however it is understandable that it was done in an effort to make the title as Australian as it could be. An unannounced new host of talent will be narrating Forza Horizon 3, but if the gameplay is anything to judge from, the new voices should fit right in to the world.
Forza Horizon 3 is shaping up to be an impressive upgrade from previous iterations of the series and fans can experience Australia off road on September 27, on the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.