|System: Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Playground Games|
|Pub: Microsoft Studios|
|Release: September 27, 2016|
|Players: 1-12 Players|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Lyrics, Mild Violence|
Forza Horizon 3's slice of Australia is massive, and every inch is absolutely gorgeous. There were several times I was tempted during a race to hit the brakes and take in the sights, but thankfully this is an open-world game, so after the race I was able to cruise around at my own pace, discovering more secrets to tick off my progress list in the process. Forzavista lets you give each vehicle a close inspection, but the new Drone Mode allows you to take control of the gadget and check out the sites from above. It grants a new perspective, but it wasn't long before my interest waned and I buckled back in to my driver's seat to hit the road.
Driving around is a delight for the ears as well. Each engine has a distinctive purr, or a growl if you're behind the wheel of an off-road beast. The screeching around paved asphalt corners tightened my grip with each narrow turn, but digging up gravel on a dirt road or plowing through fields or outback brush provided an equally satisfying sound. Of course you can crank the radio station to several different channels, with upbeat tunes blasting through the speakers, unless you're tuned to the classical station. But you know, there was something satisfying about Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 filling the airwaves while I launched off a ramp and soared through the sky in cinematic glory. There's a wide selection of tracks, but if you're planning on dozens to hundreds of hours behind the wheel, you'll find yourself channel surfing after hearing the same song for the umpteenth time. You can avoid the playlist redundancy if you've got yourself a Groove Music subscription, streaming whatever music you want.
Forza Horizon seems to get bigger and better with each new entry to the series, and Forza Horizon 3 is by far the biggest festival yet. It's hard to imagine where developer Playground Games will go if they are given the green light for Forza Horizon 4. But there's little need to worry about that, because we have been blessed right now with the must-have racing game of the current generation, so fun and addicting that it just begs you to take on one more event or cruise through one more gorgeous slice of Australia.
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: September 20, 2016