Giant orange plastic tracks, Hot Wheels cars, and a string of performance improvements that make Forza Horizon 3 play on PC the way it always should have. That's the Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 3, and it's pretty good.
Launching last week, the expansion adds a series of islands off the coast of Australia. The intro sequence kicks off with a little race across various bits of coloured track. There's some neat effects: part of the track gets laid just before you reach it, and other sections have flaming hoops and animatronic dinosaurs:
The whole expansion is free for those with the season pass, and $29.95 separately. It's pretty pricey for DLC in 2017, and those who had no end of issues with Forza Horizon 3 on PC at launch won't be thrilled that it's taken so long for many of the optimisations and improvements to be patched in.
That said, you don't need the expansion to get the performance bump. And to their credit, the developers have improved performance so much that they were actually able to lower the minimum PC requirements:
Along with the performance improvements coming with this release, we are lowering the minimum specification to reduce the CPU requirement and the NVIDIA GPU requirement.
CPU: i3-4170 @ 3.7Ghz
GPU: NVIDIA GT 740 | AMD R7 250x
VRAM: 2GB GDDR5
Here's the original requirements, which at the time of writing were still listed on the Microsoft Store:
Not too shabby. The game's also been patched to reduce CPU usage and make better use of all of your CPU cores and threads, which should please anyone who just built a new Ryzen system. In any case, if you were having vast issues with FH3 on your PC before, it's definitely worth checking the game out again: chances are it'll run just fine.
And it couldn't come sooner, because the Hot Wheels cars and plastic tracks are a blast to drive on. The tracks will actually handle a little differently, being a completely different surface from the icy slopes of Blizzard Mountain or the dirt, sand and asphalt of FH3's standard Aussie roads.
You can create your own events, of course, and you can even swap out the main stunt in each of them. It's not a gargantuan difference, but it's nice to be able to mix it up. The environments are fun just to look at and drive around, especially the parts where you have twists and turns going alongside and between office buildings.
You can even jump some of the tracks like it's Rainbow Road:
Forza Horizon already made dumb driving fun with endless amounts of things to do, rewards, and customisations. Hot Wheels makes it even better.