Forza Horizon 3 marks the series’ PC debut as part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program. I’ve been playing the PC version since yesterday, and so far nothing horrible has happened. In fact, almost everything is fine.
It’s sad that a PC port of a game that’s traditionally been a console exclusive had me primed for disaster, but that’s just the way things are these days (thanks Obatman). I loaded up Forza Horizon 3 on my gaming system (Intel Core i7 6700, Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition and 32GB RAM) prepared for the worst. Instead, I got a very playable version of the game I’ve enjoyed quite a bit on my Xbox One.
The game loaded a bit faster than on console, dropping me into the action exactly where I left off. It detected my hardware, set me up on ultra everything and then set me free to roam the roads of Australia.
It isn’t perfect. Maintaining 60 frames per second with all of the bells and whistles enabled is tough even at 1920 x 1080. The massive open-world areas can bring even a robust PC to its knees from time to time. To help smooth out potential frame drops, the developers have included a Dynamic Optimization option, which tweaks settings on-the-fly based on what sort of environment you’re driving in.
There are a lot of options to tweak to help strike a balance between look and feel.
While normally I prefer 60 frames per second, here I’m a bit more forgiving of the game dipping under. The Xbox One version runs 30 frames per second, and I like that just fine. On PC I didn’t even notice it wasn’t running at a steady 60 until I turned on my capture software and saw the numbers. Plus, I can get a steady 30 frames per second at 4K resolution, which is quite lovely.
Looking through the user reviews in the Windows 10 store, I’m seeing plenty of folks overjoyed at the PC performance, and several complaining about the occasional frame rate dips, requesting further optimisation options in settings. That’s fair.
What I am not seeing is a massive wall of people complaining the game does not work, or constantly crashes, or kills their house pets. That’s not to say there haven’t been complaints. On the official Forza forums, many users have been dealing with an issue with the game crashing before starting. Several solutions have been submitted, including uninstalling Avast antivirus, reinstalling video card drivers and unplugging unnecessary peripherals. For a list of other known PC issues, check out this forum post.
However, it hasn’t been a the fiasco people may have expected. Mind you that only purchasers of the premium package are playing right now — the core game releases on Tuesday — but it’s looking like Playground Games and Microsoft pulled this off with only a few hitches.