By Jonn Merrill
When the words “open world game” are mentioned to gamers, many games come to mind. The sprawling landscapes of Skyrim filled with fantastical beasts and creatures, to the desolate wastelands of Fallout 4. The one thing that can be agreed upon is that they incite adventure. However, there is one game series that takes the concept of a freely-explorable open world and brings a completely different spin on the genre.
Instead of running across a field on a grand quest or riding a horse into battle, the Forza Horizon series focuses on open-ended car racing. While not necessarily the first game series to host an open world game based on racing, the Forza Horizon series revolutionized the idea. The idea was simple, take the detailed car models, physics, and gameplay from the mainline Forza Motorsport series and place them in an open world.
This simple idea turned into a completely separate franchise, starting with Forza Horizon’s release in late 2012, and continuing with Forza Horizon 2, released in late 2014. Both of these games received high ratings from gaming sites, like IGN, which gave both games a nine out of ten. Recently, though, the latest addition to the series was released, Forza Horizon 3. But how does the game hold up to its predecessors?
Forza Motorsport’s website states that “In Forza Horizon 3, [you can] explore the Land Down Under, along with more than 350 of the world’s greatest cars and trucks.” So as one might expect, the game is extremely solid to begin with. The graphics and gameplay from Forza Motorsport 6 carry over to this game, making it easy to pick up for returning players. The game is even easy to pick up for newbies like Alex Koch, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major, who said that “[He is] not normally a fan of car games, but this game, with [its] open world and ridiculous customizability really appeal[s] to [him]. As with previous games, customizability is a big factor, too. Players are not only able to tune and upgrade their cars to their fancy, but they are also able to create custom “vinyl layers”, or designs, for their cars’ paint jobs. Perhaps the reason why the game is so enjoyable is best explained by Sophomore Mechanical Engineering major Joshua Rodrigues, who says that racing games “allow.. one to experiment with many situations in which [they] could never experience in real life.” Despite these good merits, however, Forza Horizon 3 is not without its faults.
Forza Horizon 3 suffers from the issues that plague all modern open world games like glitches and map errors, with examples like driving a car on a freeway and hitting invisible wall, resulting in a lost race. The menu system of the game is also not as good as it could be. Navigating it can be tricky at times and some features of the game were completely hidden from me for a while as a result. The game is also not the longest one, either. The “story” of the game can be completed in a weekend and after that, the races get a bit repetitious.
This does not mean that the game is bad by any means, but it does have its flaws as all games do. If you are a fan of racing games or a fan of exploring an intricate open game world, I highly recommend you pick this game up. Forza Horizon 3 is out now and is available on the Xbox one and PC platforms.