Microsoft and Playground Games have released upon the masses a taste of their anticipated racer, Forza Horizon 3. It’s already been two years since the last game, and now with the third entry set to release in a few weeks, players can give it a quick spin. I spent about an hour with the demo and here’s what I thought.

This time around, Playground Games takes players down under in beautiful Australia. The first noticeable thing is that the game is absolutely gorgeous. The visuals are so fluid; the water effect landing on the camera is a nice little detail. The game also provides a great sense of speed; driving down the road (or fields!) like a jacked up maniac will get your heart pumping. Another new fun feature allows players to pick their character, male or female. The demo has quite a few to choose from, but from the locked slots, the final product will most likely have quite a few. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one that was a bald bearded man.


Gameplay wise, the game handles like both its predecessors, as a perfect balance between arcade and sim driving. Players can’t keep pressing the gas, nor do they need to abuse braking in order to win racers. Tapping the brake button will successfully allow racers to take turns adequately without spinning out of control, depending on the vehicle. Sports cars tend to spin out of control quite easily, but after a turn or two, players will find the perfect spot between gas and brake.

Offroad vehicles are a blast to drive, especially the Dune Buggy. Whether it be on streets or on trails, it drives like a charm. Earlier on in the demo, to give a first taste of the off-roading, players get behind the wheel of a 4X4 Jeep. It’s bigger than the Dune Buggy and a bit harder to control. Yet the simple to pick up controls make it easy to get accustomed to the new vehicle quickly.

Playground Games brought back the option to rewind time when making a few mistakes, giving you a chance to get back on track and in the race. Coming across friends or other players, you can challenge them to a quick race to see who’s faster. One of the new additions to the Horizon sub-franchise, along with destructible signs hidden across the map, players will find jumps they can tackle for crazy bonus points.

Additionally, when players feel lost or simply don’t know where to go, they can bring up the game’s Siri-like A.I., Anna, with a quick hit on the down arrow on the d-pad in order to tackle the next event.

Below is the time I spent with the game. I was able to try most of the events available in the demo. The last 10-15 minutes minutes are mostly me driving around and exploring. As you can see, you can drive anywhere… well, almost. I was stopped twice because I was heading into areas locked in the demo. You can easily tell how much I’ve enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the full product.

Forza Horizon 3 releases on September 27 for PC and Xbox One.