Forza Motorsport’s side project Forza Horzon now features a 3 next to it and this time is set in Australia. I say set, but really its kind of loosely inspired by Aussie locations. Today the FH3 demo was released for the Xbox One and of course, we got behind the wheel to check it out.
Initial impressions are very good, finally Australia has right hand drive vehicles and traffic that drives on the left, this Forza made for Aussies. In the full game, the lineup of cars available is one of the most extensive of any racing title, but the demo limits you to about 6. You may prefer the BMW M4 Coupe or the Ford Shelby GT350R, or even the Nissan Silvia Spec-R, but I chose the ute.
Naturally it took me about 30 seconds to get started on the circle work in the HSV Limited Edition Gen-F GTS Maloo Ute with an LS3 that sounds amazing bumping up to the limiter.
The game starts you off in the cover car, the stunning Lamborghini Centenario, but keeps controls basic for beginners. After the initial race, you can ramp up the difficulty and select manual and manual w/clutch gearing, which any real racer will embrace. Both flappy paddle shifters or the traditional H-pattern shift options both work a treat on the Logitech G920, however the default force feedback setting is pretty light on.
Thankfully the driving experience is a bunch of fun, but be warned it does simulate vehicles accurately, so if you choose an overpowered Ute for your ride, expect plenty of tail happy moments and tyre smoke.
From lavish jungles to gorgeous golden beaches, even towns like Byron Bay are stunningly detailed and the environments are familiarly Aussie. You’ll find Australian road signs like give ways, round abouts and even aussie style rubbish bins that of course you get XP for crashing through.
New in this release is the ability to fly wherever you like using a drone. This is absolutely going to power some stunning footage from the creative gamers who can now camera track the best vehicles in the world through Aussie landscapes. The lighting changes are nothing short of dramatic and the visual effects of speed blurring and water drops on the windscreen all add to the racing experience.
It’s the wide open spaces and exploration that are always features of the Horizon spaces and even the demo of FH3 doesn’t disappoint. What isn’t available is the Horizon party central where you buy, sell and customise cars, for that, we’ll have to wait a little longer.
What is neat is the decision to let players choose (and switch) their driver from a diverse range of enthnicities and a choice of male or female driver. Selecting your driver is the easy bit, selecting the best camera to view the beautiful world around you is the tough part. Inside is the realistic behind the wheel experience, but from the bonnet or follow cap, lets you hear that exhaust note in all its glory.
Grab the demo now from the Xbox One store for free. While you can hit the limits of the maps, there’s so much to explore, it’ll tie you over till the full game ships later this month.