Got 100% Completion - Final Thoughts on Forza Horizon 3

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I finally got 100% in the main game as well as the expansions.

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Getting there certainly had its frustrating moments but it was a satisfying journey overall. Since this is the first Forza game I have ever 100% completed and by far the one I put the most time and effort into, I do want to give my final thoughts on it.

Playground certainly raised a high bar even higher with Horizon 3 in terms of overall quality and content. That being said, I will be talking about what I liked about the game and aspects that I think need improvement.

So, starting off with the things I like about the game.

Single Player. When I heard that you would be "the boss" in Horizon 3, I was wondering how the game would work progression-wise. The fan system is a good way to progress through the game. My only complaint is that I think it was too easy to earn fans. Simply getting one star in a PR stunt can get you a boatload of them. This can be a problem because the map will be overwhelmed with icons of new events. During my playthrough, I delayed the opening of Yarra Valley and the Outback until I got a lot done at my other two festivals sites. As for the progression in the expansions, I felt that the star/medal system was a nice change as they put a little more emphasis on winning races.

Horizon Edition cars. With money in Forza being easy to make and almost every car being available to buy right away, it was a great idea to make rare, alternate versions of some of the existing cars. The various bonuses are a nice incentive to use them often too. I hope this concept is carried over into future Forza games.

Shopping Cart. A small addition yet saves a lot of time when upgrading cars compared to buying one part at a time like in the past.

Auction House. I used the auction house extensively in Horizon 3. It's a good way to save money too as sometimes, cars cost less than they do in the Autoshow.

Blueprints. This is probably my favorite feature in the game. While I don't mind race restrictions or needing a specific car to do an event, the freedom that the Blueprint feature gives is a very welcome addition. Giving players the option to drive what they want and choose what the AI drives, as well as customize the length of races/championships, instead of a linear career mode that everyone goes through, was a good design choice this time around. And of course, you still have the option of doing whatever event the game suggests if you're not sure what you want to race in.

Forzathon. Forzathon is a good way to get people to come back to the game regularly, even if they're finished with the campaign. Providing simple objectives to complete in order to get credits and XP is a nice extra boost for newer players. Putting up exclusive cars is not only a great method to get more people to participate, but they are also free content. It was an excellent move on the developer's part to put up unique Porsche cars as Forzathon prizes for those who didn't want to buy the Porsche DLC.

Street Races and Midnight Battles. In Horizon 2, street races were part of the sanctioned championships, which was a little silly, as it removed the implication that they were "illegal". But in Horizon 3, they've gone back to being independent from the offical events. I also like how head-to-head races were given a purpose to unlock more street races. However, I still prefer how street races were handled in Horizon 1, where they were hubs that you had to go and had the atmosphere of the underground street racing scene instead of being just another icon on the map.

What I like about Midnight Battles is how they were the only way to obtain certain cars. With recent Forza games showering players with free cars left and right, it was pleasant to earn something for a change. I hope to see more instances of getting cars by doing certain tasks in future Forza games.

The expansions. The two expansions have been great additions to Horizon 3, each providing experiences that make them stand out from the main game. Blizzard Mountain is the first appearance of snow in the Forza series and it's executed well here. The snow is not simply cosmetic; cars behave differently too and driving well here is a little more difficult compared to driving offroad on the main map. The road surface is constantly slippery and the patches of ice scattered on the snow covered roads can be a nasty surprise. The expansion also lives up to its name, with blizzards forcing you to be a little more alert due to lower visibility. They can even be pretty to look at under the right conditions.

The Hot Wheels expansion was certainly controversial when it was announced. But I think it was a great move on Playground's part, as it showed everyone that they're willing to "think outside the box" and not always play it safe. One thing I love about this expansion is that with the focus on high speed, it gives players a good reason to go crazy with the upgrades and get as much out of their cars as possible. However, racing in the Hot Wheels expansion can get wonky at times. The AI seems to have an awkward time navigating the network of track pieces, and sometimes fly off and get stuck. In one incident, I've even seen the AI pile up on the side of the track. But fortunately things do work out most of the time and when it does, Hot Wheels racing is an exhilarating experience.


And now for the things I think could be better.


Drivatars. Where do I begin? My main issue with Drivatars is how they seem to be programmed to annoy you and get in your way. This is most obvious when doing PR stunts like drift and speed zones. When I was trying to get 3 stars on these specific stunts, they seem to materialize around the vicinity as soon as I triggered the zones. It has happened to me too many times for it to be a coincidence and what's more, I've seen other people complain about the same thing too. It got so bad that I had to complete some of the drift and speed zones in a private freeroam lobby, which is the only way to escape them.

A secondary problem I have with the Drivatars is their tendency to always drive the same type of car as you when out in freeroam. This kind of hurts the immersion for me because you will see the same Drivatars in the same cars one moment, and then the next, they will spawn further down the road ahead of you. I've noticed this multiple times. With the whole point of the game being to celebrate cars through a music festival, I want to see a large variety of cars driving around, not just a certain kind. I much prefer how it was in the first Horizon game, where the AI drove all kinds of cars in freeroam at all times.

The Drivatars can also be quite cheap in races, but fortunately, winning is not required to progress through the game.

The lack of tarmac race routes. Since the majority of the vehicles in the game are road cars, this is an issue. As I completed all of the championships on the main map and made my own events, I noticed that there wasn't many road race routes to choose from, especially the circuit variety. If you like making road racing championships, and long ones in particular, you will find yourself using the same routes quite often. This is even more glaring if you look at the whole scope of the game. Blizzard Mountain is almost entirely offroad and driving at Hot Wheels is...unrealistic to put it lightly, which means proper road racing is in the minority in this game. I can overlook it this time, but I hope in Horizon 4, they balance the amount of offroad and onroad tracks. Or better yet, take the Blueprint feature a step further and let us design our own race routes. Fingers crossed.

So I really had only two downsides to talk about, and at no point did I find them bad enough that they ruined the game for me. I don't have any major gripes with Horizon 3. It's a great game. Playground has built a very solid foundation for the Horizon series that I hope continues to be improved upon in future installments.


But before I wrap this up, I do want to address a criticism I've seen come up in various online communities.

I've seen people say that the game doesn't do anything new, that it's a rehash of Horizon 2. Not only do I disagree with that, I think people who say this are objectively wrong. Horizon 3 introduced buggies. We got a wider range of customization options. The Blueprint feature gave us the freedom to make races as long as we want, as well as choose what the AI drive. The Forza series got snow racing for the first time with Blizzard Mountain. And last but not least, we got a Hot Wheels expansion, something no one was expecting.

In my opinion, Forza doesn't need radical changes each game. To further prove my point, this is a problem I have with the NFS series. Each game is too different from the last, and as a result, there's no room to establish a strong foundation to build upon. Not only that, but it also results in split fanbases who want different things, making it harder to please everyone. Imagine that instead of Horizon and Motorsport being separate games, the Motorsport series was put on hiatus, and we just got a Horizon game every two years. I think it would be a huge understatement that some people would be unhappy with that direction.

But sadly, that's the state NFS has been in for over the past decade and I would hate for Forza to end up like that, just because a vocal minority find themselves getting bored too easily.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against trying new things. The Hot Wheels expansion was definitely something new and I had an open mind for it, despite me rather wanting something else at first. But at the end of the day, I enjoyed it and as I stated earlier, it was a great decision on Playground's part.

Furthermore, we are only in the third installment of this series and I think it's a little too early to complain that Horizon is the same game again and again. I'm certainly a fan of the "Don't fix it if it ain't broke" mentality. No one can deny that Forza consistently releases solid games. And that's how I want Forza to stay, while at the same time, making gradual changes and additions each game.

In closing, thank you Playground for making yet another quality, open world racing game, which we defenitely need more of in this generation. Hopefully, The Crew 2 and NFS Payback will contribute to that. I'm looking forward to seeing where the Horizon festival will take us next! :cheers:

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2,191
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Lokeren
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Great write-up! While I do not agree with everything you wrote, I can say it's a very well thought out review and a great summary of the game.

A bit more specific on FH3 vs FH2, there are some things that IMO were done better in FH2 though. While in FH3 the ecosystems of the map are a lot more spectacular, I feel that in FH2 the roads and overall immersion of the map was a bit better. Having 5 cities instead of just 2 and a lot more elevation and twisty roads on the maps certainly contributes to that. Also FH2 felt more immersive to me because it felt more realistic, there were no Warthogs or Regalia's, no Motorsport All-stars race cars, no HE cars, no Hot Wheels expansion. And the overal car handling felt better there as well, cars in FH3 feel a bit "floaty" to me. And then yeah, the drivatar system (rubberbanding in races, popping in your face in free roam) is absolute garbage in FH3, I'm honestly stunned why this was never changed with a patch. But that's just the few negative things to say on what is a long laundry list of positive things.

I also wrote a bit in this context in another thread here on the forum : (reply #8)

https://www.gtplanet.net/forum/thre...es-expectations-for-fh4.358052/#post-11906523