Community Review: Forza Horizon 3

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Despite some issues on the PC version, the general vibe I've gotten from The Internet is that the latest Forza Horizon is very bloody good.

When you stop and write everything down, there's an awful lot about Forza Horizon 3 that's just better. For one, using Australia — even a weird mash-up of our geography — was inspired. One of Forza Horizon 2's biggest problems was that the in-game environment wasn't that interesting, something the Australian surroundings immediately fixed.

The game looks a treat too, and the performance on console maintains a solid 30fps throughout. It's not the 60fps that a lot of people would like — particularly given it's an arcade racer — but the benefit is that the game looks absolutely stunning as a result.

There's more radio stations and cars to play with — around 350 cars, from memory — and having seamless cross-play between PC and consoles is a great move.

But. And there's always a but.

Forza Horizon 3 also shows that Microsoft's grand experiment with their Windows Store still isn't working. Tons of users are having lots of problems when it comes to stuttering and sub-par fps. Even Mikey with his GTX 1080, 32GB of RAM and a i7-6700 noticed the game had issues maintaining 60fps at 1080p, which is absurd beyond belief when you consider how powerful the GTX 1080 is. So it's up to Playground Games to patch those issues as fast as possible.

What's your experience with Forza Horizon 3 been like? What platform have you been playing on, and where does it sit in the series as a whole?


Comments

    Xbox One player here. It's absolutely amazing. The only reason I have to be even remotely upset about this game is the fact that its Groove music doesn't work very well, at least not at the moment. Some songs dont load, others skip backwards and forwards like a CD player in a car. I've had to go back to just using background music, which is a shame because hearing your music being manipulated by the game is amazing when it works.

      Same here...I was all excited to put my AC/DC collection into Groove (for research...) but yeah it jumps around like a record player in an earthquake.

      I rejected the Groove Music offer as I figure I'll save it for when I can be bothered setting it up. In-game music is pretty decent already. Good atmosphere generally, and then I get a little extra kick when a song I know comes on.

        Yeah, the soundtrack itself is badass. It fits the game so well. I guess I just get a little extra kick out of hearing my own music being manipulated by the game (eg. hearing it playing at the festival outposts).

      Same issue with the current patch. Also you can't add Metallica songs to a play list which means you can't play it in game. That's just a Groove music licensing issue and nothing to do with Forza.

      (I refrained from using a Metallica pun there)

    Mine has run average 80-90fps at 4K (Acer X34) with a GTX1080, only issue I've run into was co-op strangely required the windows firewall to be turned ON! otherwise co-op fails to connect.

      id love to know what voodoo wizardry youve done; im also using an acer x34, gigabyte gtx 1080 xteme and 32gb ram...in the cities can drop between 45-55 are VERY common

        The trick is lowering shadows to medium, cause you won't notice them much while dodging traffic at excess of +200mph. Also I have MSAA at 4x instead of 8x, which made quite a big improvement.

        On my 1060, I have an average of 53 in Surfers paradise and 86 anywhere else with minimal stuttering and tearing

    GTX970 on High settings maintaining a comfortable 58-60 fps (capped). The only time it drops to 34ish is in loading screens.

    Ultra settings might be possible if you're happy with 30fps, but I wouldn't risk frame rate drops when hitting water crossings.

    My only real gripes are that even with the assists all turned off and all settings set to simulation when possible it still handles like an arcade racer. 400kph into a tree should do more than put my engine into limp mode.

    Its a lot of fun. Even just driving around doing nothing is fun to do. Shame about the PC version though, would love to hear the story of why it turned out like it did.

    This game is really tempting me to buy an Xbox. Does it have a single player campaign? I don't play multi-player because I'm old and set in my ways.

      Yep, it has a story mode and tons of content. Lots of locations, and you can set up your own challenges. It has a passive multiplayer mode where you can play races designed by people in your friendslist, plus as you drive your driving style gets updated with your "cloud" profile also known as a "drivatar". This drivatar will appear in other people's races and try to earn you money. Other peoples' drivatars will also appear in your game, so you'll see names over other racers but this doesn't mean you're actually playing with the actual person. However, if you do want to play online with real people and not their drivatars, you can.

    anyone here running it on an older specced system. eg Phenom II 965 plus a r9 280X? or something there abouts?

    I'm not a car guy and rarely do I play racing games but there was something about this game that interested me. And each time I play it I find myself getting more and more distracted by the amount of things that pop up on my map. I'm barely doing any races, I'm just driving through the bush. And it's great.

    Playing on PC and having issues staying in multiplayer. Surfers doesn't run very smoothly (even on my gtx1080) but its ultimately a hell of a game. When it works, it's fantastic and if you've got a decent rig and a mate to cruise around with, I'd happily recommend it.

    Copy/pasting my sorta-review from the TAY thread with a couple of added comments:

    What a pretty game. I "finished" it in the sense that I reached the final Showcase (accumulating 10,000,000 fans) but there are so, so many races and championships left to finish and I haven't even maxed out all of my festival locations.

    One weird thing about this game is the flexibility. Not only can you blueprint your own races, but the game scales car power to whatever you're driving. Unlike Forza Horizon 1 where you needed to use a specific class of car, the default races are defined by car "type" and you're not forced to use an A-Class SUV if you prefer a B-class one. In FH1 you COULD use a D-class car in a B-class race but you had no chance of winning. Conversely you'd be prevented from using an A-class car in a B-class race unless you downgraded. In FH3 the opposing vehicles will scale to that so the races are always fair (though I still had one or two races where opponents pulled away from me despite us gunning it across the same driving line). It was weird to get used to but ultimately it's easier to just not think about it and just keep pumping that right trigger.

    Showcase events were a blast but it was funny playing from the perspective of being the festival "boss" and the showcases being pretty much the point of the game, whereas in FH1 (my only basis for comparison, I didn't play FH2) the showcases were great from a spectacle perspective but also an opportunity to win sweet new cars (as was beating your rivals).

    Anyway, PLENTY of content left for me to churn through, and it never really stopped being fun. The game kept prompting me to bump up the drivatar skill level because I was mostly winning but I don't think the game appreciated that I wasn't exactly cruising through those races. Keeping everything on default (medium difficulty/average drivatar) was the perfect challenge balance for me.

    Refunded it yesterday - my PC is pretty high end (GTX 1070 OC / i7 4820k @ 4.5ghz / 16GB RAM) but I could barely get a playable framerate on low/medium settings.

    Really disappointed as I've been a massive Forza fan since FM2 and having it available on PC was a dream.

    Got it on PC. Running it at 1440p with an i5 4670K, 16GB RAM and a GTX1070.

    My performance issues haven't been as bad as others. With pretty much everything on High at 1440p, I'll get ~65fps in low population areas, dropping to about 35 in towns. Not bad, but inconsistent.

    My biggest issues were just getting it running. In total I think I downloaded it about 3 times due to the download freezing, restarting, dropping out etc. And it's not a small file.

    Then when I finally got it downloaded, it didn't want to play nice with Avast and CTD on start up.

    Now that it's finally running and I've played about 15 hours, the gameplay is brilliant at least. Looks beautiful, cars feel fast and fun. Lots to do, map is varied and interesting.

    Big fan overall outside of the technical issues.

    Last edited 10/10/16 1:21 pm

    Another arcade racer console port designed for controllers. Big whoop. Poor triple screen support, limited ffb wheel support and no vr. I'll stick with Project Cars and Assetto Corsa

    Running a GTX980, and I average about 55-60FPS at 1080p although it will drop to 40ish FPS on some parts of the map, and in the showroom. I dont own an XBOX so dont know if its better but you would think so.

    Overall I feel like its good, but not great. Definitely the performance issues have made it frustrating at times. Cars feel a bit too slidey and arcadey which I wasnt expecting tbh. You know that feeling when the car feels like it's on ice and has no weight. It feels very Need for Speed like, which isn't necessarily bad, but I was expecting a bit more sim. I guess they were going for accessibility, but it was slightly disappointing. Also the fact that you have to use Groove Music for custom playlists was a let down as I was looking forward to driving to my own music in game. Oh, and since my favourite cars are Porsches, it was slightly disappointing to not see them in the game.

    Overall, the events are great and varied. It looks amazing when it's running at a decent framerate, and the car list is huge and excellent (aside from some glaring things missing). But at the moment the things I'm not super happy with annoy me enough to stop playing. I am way too hooked on Overwatch to bother with it right now, and with the impending release of Civ 6, Pokemon and knowing I have to finish the Fire Emblems, Phoenix Wright 6, Deus Ex MD and a bunch of other games, this one can wait.

    PC Here running 3440 x 1440 on Acer X34 monitor, with Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme, 32gb RAM.

    Solid 60 outside of cities, 245-55 in cities. In fact my frame rate drops if i run it in 1080p

    Performance issues aside, can we please get some info on Microsofts refund policy? I bought the game so i can play with friends, and for some reason we cant get more then 2 people on the same server once a third friend joins we either get disconnected or our games crash... WTF... people seem to be plagued with issues witht the pc multiplayer.

    Had a couple of issues on PC, trouble getting it working initially, crashing quite often, artifacts in Surfer's. Fortunately the latest patch fixed that but prior to the latest patch I could run at 1440p on ultra. Now I struggle on medium settings.

    Xbox One version crashed occasionally as well. No longer crashes since the patch but Groove music doesn't work properly any more. Now I get one of two songs from Groove before it tells me I have a network error then it won't work until I restart the game.

    Otherwise absolutely brilliant game.

    I want to start by saying I purchased the Ultimate Edition of Horizon 3, and played it on both Xbox One and PC.

    Forza Horizon 2 was probably my favourite racing game of all time. It had the perfect balance of freedom mixed with structure in terms of races, there was a wide variety of gorgeous cars to choose from, an amazing soundtrack and world to explore, and so I didn't know how they could improve it in Horizon 3.

    I was incredibly excited for Horizon 3, especially with it being set in Australia! But yet, I've had so many technical issues on both platforms that it's really soured my experience. On Xbox One, the game has crashed around 10 times now, along with numerous sections of stuttering and freezing all together. PC wise, the game also had the stuttering that other users have reported, but the game also failed to load in textures and models when racing at high speeds, which made the game pretty much unplayable on PC for me.

    Those issues alone are enough to damper my enjoyment of the game, but I also think there's a lot of questionable design choices that make the game lose a lot of it's structure. In Forza Horizon 2, you had different championships for each of the car categories at each of the six festival locations. I was a fan of this system, as it fit the way I played, I'd pick a car, customise it, paint it and tune it to my liking, and take it through a few races, take some photos of it, and i formed an attachment to each of the cars in this way, it was fun and each car had it's own little story. There was also the goal of working towards the final event, which was a massive race around the entirety of the game map, which was really fun and a nice way to say farewell. Then you got to choose which championships you did and where, instead of whatever was pre-determined as the next location.

    Compare that to Horizon 3, which starts you of with one festival location, and a bunch of races, PR Stunts, and speed/drift zones to complete. Once you've gained enough fans, you get to either complete a showcase event, typically a race against some other form of vehicle than a car, or you can level up a festival, which means that you get some more markers on your map. At first, I didn't mind this system, because it felt organic, however, one issue I have with the game is actually the blueprints the game puts in place. It's nice to be able to create races however you like, but it feels like the developers just didn't want to create championships and races for you to do, so they just made you do it instead. There is some pre-determined events, but typically speaking, it just makes it based on whatever car you are driving when you rock-up to the event start.

    I get that you're supposed to be the boss of this festival, but it all just feels off to me. I get all these nice cars, I get to make all the events up, I can do everything how i like, and I can win all of the races at the festival, get to be in all the showcases etc. There's never a real feeling of tension or challenge, it feels like I'm playing Kim Jong Un in a racing game, there's never any failure. If you lose a race, it still shows a nice gold trophy next to the event because you've completed it. Why? I could come 7th and it makes no difference other than credits and xp gained in terms of completion. It's unsatisfying, and it makes it feel like there's no need to actually win, because you get showered with XP and credits regardless of whether you win or lose.

    There's also other really minor issues that bug me that just hamper the experience as well. Drift Zones are so ridiculously hard for one main reason. The other traffic and drivatars. In 10 tries to 3-star a drift zone, in 8 of those there would be a car right in the way of the perfect area to drift in. I understand it's for realism, but there's just SO MANY cars in your way, it's maddening because it's something that is completely out of your control.

    Groove Music implementation is really really poor. Apart from the technical issues some people have with playback issues and disconnections, there's issues that just seem really not thought out at all. Unlike every other radio station in the game, when you turn to the Groove station, the song loads and plays from the beginning of the song. If you turn to another station and back, the NEXT song in your playlist plays. The songs you have are also NOT on shuffle. There is absolutely no way to turn it on, so unless you have a major long session of playing, you better get used to hearing the exact same 5 songs at the start of your playlist over and over, unless you want to rapidly swap between stations to get to a later point in your playlist.

    Now, I made it out to sound like I hate the game, but that's not true at all. I did thoroughly enjoy the game, the graphics are a surprisingly large leap from Horizon 2's, and the core racing and handling is fun to play. It's still a great game to play, but it's not taken over as my favourite open-world racing game from Horizon 2 like I expected.

    I have spent about 3 hours today getting a refund on this game. I bought the PC version, the one with the VIP content. This is the first game I have purchased through Microsoft store and will probably be the last. It was not a nice experience.

    Firstly I had issues downloading the game it would just give me errors and or stop half way. After spending countless hours on forums I worked the issue out and could download it. At least 2 days delay here.

    Secondly the VIP content never turned up in my garage. Logging in and out of store made no difference, it just wasnt there. A week later still no VIP content....

    Thirdly game kept crashing on load up, or if I did actually manage to get into a game it would crash after a few minutes at a random spot.

    Installing a new virus scanner and disabling Windows defender helped. Also i rolled back my nvidia drivers to 2 versions ago.

    This seemed to let me play the game (while loading with errors) but in the end the game started crashing about every 10 minutes.

    Dont get me started on the micro stuttering and poor FPS. My computer is a pretty good rig and I have always run all other games at Ultra type levels and get max FPS. With Forza i was getting around 30-40 fps. This is bad, the game is not optimised at all.

    After more crashed today I jumped on microsoft chat and asked for a refund. While they admitted to me the game has issuez (yes they admitted it!!) They refused to refund me. So basically I bought a game that doesnt work with half the content missing and they refuse to refund me. I was told to wait for the next update...

    So onto the phone with Microsoft in Australia, after spending another 30 minutes chatting to them and threatening them they finally agreed to refund me.

    My first experience with Microsoft for a game purchase has been terrible to say the least. In future I will stick with Steam.

    Good luck in getting a refund, as far as I am aware they are refusing to refund the game AS OF TODAY because the next update will fix all issue. Their words not mine..

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