E3 2016: Forza Horizon 3 Preview
Ever since the demo for Forza Horizon 2 stole my heart in 2014 I’ve been waiting for a new environment for me to drive around. With the announcement that Forza Horizon 3 would be set in Australia I knew that I would have to play it as soon as possible. Not playing it if I had the opportunity to would be un-Australian in my mind. So when I was presented with the opportunity to play it at Microsoft’s E3 booth, I jumped in wholeheartedly.
The demo began with me deciding which of three cars I wanted to drive, and even though I can never seem to control super cars correctly, I went straight for the fastest car I could: The Lamborghini Centenario. The first thing I noticed when I took the wheel was how well the car controlled. The Forza series is known for its excellent physics and handling, but this felt even better than normal. The car stuck to the road and flew along the highway as I drove down it and started to slide as I came on to some dirt roads. After hitting a certain point the demo swapped to the 800HP 4×4 shown in the E3 demo to show the difference in handling between different types of cars. Again, the handling was amazing and the feeling of landing hard on sand dunes after achieving hang-time was excellent.
The best part of the demo wasn’t the handling though, it was flying through the amazing environment that Playground Games has created to emulate Australia. While the landmass is severely truncated and does take some creative liberties, it looks absolutely incredible. You transition from cities and small towns, through to a lush bushland where light filters in through the trees as you drive through creeks and streams. Go closer to the coast and you can drive through sand dunes and tidal waves that eventually funnel you through bio-luminescent caves. The lighting all the way through is amazing, as are the textures. This was on an Xbox One S, so I can only imagine how good this would look at close range on a powerful Windows 10 PC.
The demo ended with one of the signature events of Forza Horizon, this time driving a buddy and racing a jeep through beautiful bushland as it was carried by a helicopter. You never got too fast, but the spectacle as your drifted around corners while climbing hills in the bushland, as an airborne jeep passed over the top of you was really a sight to behold.
Forza Horizon 3 seems to be everything you could want from a sequel to Forza Horizon 2. It’s beautiful, controls fantastically and evokes the same feeling of speed and wonder that you’ve felt before. While the demo was a relatively small slice, if the rest of Forza Horizon 3 is of the same quality it really is shaping up to be an excellent game.