Forza Horizon 3
Since my new PC build, my brother and I have been playing the new Forza. I have an XBOX 360 controller running through a wireless receiver which makes racing smooth and fun! This is probably the only time or situation in which I can say that a controller is actually better than a keyboard or mouse..
Forza Horizon 3 is over $100 NZD to purchase which is at the highest end of the price range for a brand new range. None the less I felt that I would just do it, seems I had just spend thousands on my new PC and I haven't bought a brand new (expensive) game in a long time. After playing about 50 - 100 hours on it so far, I decided I would do a review of my thoughts and critiques surrounding Forza Horizon 3.
The first point I will make about the new Forza is regarding the graphical fidelity; It looks amazing! Although I don't play as many games (especially brand new AAA games) anymore, this game probably has the best visuals I have seen from a game. The weather effects are excellent with rain affecting the ground, creating small pools, puddles and slickness on the road. Sun rays beaming through trees and the eeriness of the night with the stars gleaming and low lying fog, you feel joyful simply driving through the landscape and environment in Forza Horizon 3. All vehicles have incredible detail as well which creates a strong realistic experience. I cannot fault any points for graphics, environment, effects or any visual aspects at all really!
I think Forza did a great job at replay-ability in regards to the races. I only realised quite far into the game that most races can be done in any car class / model. The AI (Drivatars) that you verse are simply chosen from cars matching your class and model with similar upgrades etc. This is great and means you can still progress far into the game with a not-so-fast car.
I think the gameplay in Forza Horizon 3 is excellent. I believe the bucket list challenges are what really create enough diversity to ensure the game-play is varied, fun and unique. The different environments, speeds and styles of races mean that races are different enough to be fun (particular with the off-road races).
The AI controlled "Drivatars" are incredible. They have excellent ability to simulate real drivers with various difficulty levels which do more than make them "faster". Added aggression, varying driving styles and techniques make the AI extremely fun to verse against. It is also great so not see (as far as I can tell) the infamous "catch-up" feature that is ever present in racing games. AI also crash from time to time which is entertaining and realistic.
Faults / Weaknesses
You cannot sell cars (except on the auction house to real players). I assume this is to stop people from making huge amounts of credits, but I still think this should be do-able, albeit at a fraction of the amount the car is actually worth. I hate how much this game encourages you to collect hundreds of cars.
Cars are far too easy to get; With the lottery / gambling system you seem to win a new car every few levels. Too me this is just getting handed money and unlock-ables which takes away from the progression. You also seem to get a free car when you create a new festival, which also seems a little too "spoon-feedy". My starting car was a Nissan Silvia with a wide body kit and full decals, paint and the works. I would call this a pretty customised race / sports car which I think is a ridiculous way to start the game. I want to start in a rusty old Corrolla and work my way to the top, but that is just my opinion I guess.
I must say that the game reuses particular roads in races a bit much, but the street races make up for that. I am somewhat disappointed there isn't an actual race track in the map, nor is there a drag strip, these additions would have been welcome.
The paid DLC car packs and monitisation is far too pushy and in your face. I just spent over $100 NZD on this game and already I am locked out of cars that are teased at me in every menu. It doesn't help the DLC cars are extremely cheap on the auction house and show no indicator they are part of the DLC until you try to bid on them. What';s more, the pushiness of micro transactions for the game is absurd. I cannot believe Microsoft is this desperate for money and it's frankly quite disgusting. I would be happy if Microsoft decided to create a large DLC expansion a few months down the line that added new cars, tracks, areas and events etc. The key difference being a better content for money ratio as well as the separation from DLC and main game. I should not have to be subjected to adverts to micro-transactions and DLC whilst playing a $100 NZD game.
I do feel the gameplay as a whole is a bit "arcadey" for me but I guess that is the style of the game. Racing against a plane, air-ship, train and boat are a little bit out there in my opinion but they do provide an enjoyable experience and help cater the game to a wider audience (not just hardcore / serious racing sim players).