Getting Into The Festival Spirit Of Forza Horizon 3

The excitement that Forza Horizon 3 is capable of generating is truly astounding. Here we have the third edition of a racing game spin-off whose brash exterior and festival atmosphere manages to also play host to one of the finest driving experiences of any console generation. Its open world promotes joyous abandonment, wonder, and rewards curiosity in a way that many adventure games would kill for.

There’s no nitrous here, with the same set-up as the original Forza Horizon. Your e-brake is the most complicated tool in your arsenal, while the ability to rewind is the series’ sole consideration away from the core driving. As in Forza Horizon 2, the handling model is tight but forgiving, granting you the sublime ability to drive incredibly fast with both accuracy and alacrity.

Within moments of taking control of the Lamborghini Centenario I had an immense grin on my face, and the opening alone sees you rush through some truly astounding Australian scenery. Boasting a huge 488 roads to discover, and a stretch of one of the world’s most beautiful destinations, it feels like this is going to be a worthy successor to the preceding games in every possible way.

It turns out that you’re taking on the role of festival boss, with a limited selection of character designs open for you to choose from. Your role dictates that you’re out there growing the brand, driving like an insane person, and generally not being very boss-like.

Given that your first task is to race in one of Horizon’s frankly bonkers Showcase events in a 4WD off-road buggy against a jeep suspended from a helicopter, you can see what the rest of your employment is going to be like. Alongside these you’re expected to participate in various PR stunts, though these seem to be a reworking of the previous game’s bucket-list events.


You now accumulate fans, and as you reach a set level of fandom you’ll unlock the next festival to compete in. You can attract more fans by adding Drivatars to your line-up, so that rather than simply gaining credits for your personal Drivatars performances as you did in the past you’ll now gather fans, XP and credits for your four hand-picked team-members.

Simply challenging and beating a Drivatar in the open world allows you to recruit them, adding an extra layer to the personalised AI you see driving around the world. As someone who often gave such races a miss in the last game, it looks set to bring me right back into the fold and it ensures that you keep an eye out for the best drivers to add to your team.

There are 350 cars in the standard roster, which you can guarantee will increase exponentially with DLC additions in the coming months. Alongside the spectacular Centenario there are at least thirty new additions to the franchise alongside favourites like the Nissan Skyline GT-R V Spec or the Ford Shelby GT 500 – well… they’re my favourites. In a nice touch you can now also add a personalised number plate to your chosen vehicle, wherein you can truly express yourself. As long as it’s within eight characters.


As festival boss, you now sign the different radio stations to your label in order to access them in-game. At the outset that means you’re limited to two stations, but as you progress you’ll be able to add more and more variety to your roster. As ever, being able to switch from Blink 182 and Alkaline Trio to CHVRCHES or The Future Sound Of London is fantastic, and the range of music should be able to fit with pretty much whatever mood you find yourself in.

With the full release due in a couple of weeks and set to offer a whole host of online modes, including the option to play the entire campaign in co-op, Forza Horizon 3 looks set to be not only a worthy successor to one of Microsoft’s most popular franchises, but to one of the best racing games of all time.

Written by
TSA's Reviews Editor - a hoarder of headsets who regularly argues that the Sega Saturn was the best console ever released.


  1. I hope @needforspeed learns a thing or 2 from this game

  2. Having played the demo I have to say it’s a nice game and there are lots of lovely additions, but the wheel controls are horrendous. Big turn off for me seeing as this is a driving game. Will skip it, or wait to see if they bring anything resembling decent wheel mechanics to the game. It’s a shame, but little things like this bring a racing game crashing down. Thankfully I have the impeccable Forza 6 to fall back on.

    • I thought it used the exact same controls as Forza Motorsport. At least, you can set it up that way with a controller.

      What’s different/horrendous?

      • FFB and wheel sensitivity. Although it’s not helped by what feels like a lack of real character and challenge from car handling.

        The wheel configuration is no where near the same as FM6, as the simulation physics are drastically different and that translates to the FFB. Sure the settings menu is the same, but the baseline feeling is completely different.

        Also the clutch assignment is bugged, so no clutch pedal :(

        Terrible stuff, and it seems most wheel users are put off it too now. Why playground games couldn’t at least keep FH2’s setup is beyond me, and it’s already evident the difference between them and the core T10 group.

      • Is that with the physics set to simulation in the options?

        I hope they’ll fix it. Turn 10 is working heavily on wheel support for Apex, so hopefully some of that expertise will trickle into this.

        Personally, I think it’s more of a controller-racer anyway. But you definitely want to have good wheel support if they’re gonna support it in the first place.

      • Yeah, I drive simulation without assists and with clutch. Some people are phased by the fact that Apex has had good wheel support recently, but it hasn’t translated to FH3.

        I replayed the demo with controller and it was much better for sure (even the feel and character of the cars), but I prefer the wheel with that good feeling for the car. If it stays controller focused in an arcade way, then I can’t say I’m interested. Shame as it promises so much with the auction house, upgrades and customisation.

    • If it’s as bad as it sounds I’m sure they’ll adjust it. It is a demo after all.

  3. A likely candidate for my personal GOTY right here! I absolutely adored FH2, and this seems like a lovely sequel.

    I just hope the PC version is as great as the Xbox one.

    • It may even be better as it can run at 60fps over the Xbox One’s 30fps! Assuming you’ve got the horsepower – and that it’s been programmed better than Quantum Break.

      • Well, I do have the horsepower. But the Xbox version runs smooth as silk, and Apex on PC has some stuttering even on high-end systems… :-/

        Fingers crossed though!

  4. This makes me really want a new motorstorm game :-(

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