Mi­crosoft

De­vel­oper Turn 10 Stu­dios Pub­lisher Mi­crosoft Stu­dios For­mat PC, Xbox One Re­lease Septem­ber 27

EDGE - - GAMES -

Forza Hori­zon 3, Sea Of Thieves, Dead Ris­ing 4, Gears Of War 4, Scale­bound, Cup­head, State Of De­cay 2, Halo Wars 2, Recore

Forza Hori­zon 2 took the first mean­ing­ful steps to­wards jus­ti­fy­ing the se­ries’ name by pulling down the bar­ri­ers which lined its fore­bear’s roads, al­low­ing play­ers to freely ex­plore a com­pact dis­til­la­tion of south­ern Europe. With Forza Hori­zon 3, Turn 10 is of­fer­ing what could be the best skies to ever grace a videogame. These skies were made pos­si­ble by the hard-done-by por­tion of the team who had to spend an en­tire sum­mer in Aus­tralia, the set­ting for this lat­est se­ries in­stal­ment, cap­tur­ing the view above them with a cus­tom-built 12K HDR cam­era rig. The group camped in a field and took thou­sands of images which were then fed into the stu­dio’s be­spoke tech to be spat out in the game as beau­ti­ful, dy­namic skyscapes. The re­sults are as­ton­ish­ing, clouds rolling across above as weather fronts form and bring with them wet and stormy con­di­tions. The tech also means that the en­tire sky func­tions as an HDR light source (a fea­ture

fur­ther en­hanced by Xbox One S’s HDR ca­pa­bil­i­ties), lend­ing the game an un­com­monly nat­u­ral­is­tic look as all those Aus­tralian rays bounce off the alu­minium and car­bon of the game’s 350 cars.

The new map is twice the size of Forza Hori­zon 2’ s and, ac­cord­ing to a slightly more woolly Turn 10 met­ric, twice as di­verse too. Ex­pect to thun­der over rolling hills, across the out­back, through rain­forests, along beaches and weave your way through the streets of a high-rise city. From our brief stint at the wheel, Hori­zon 3 ap­pears to have aban­doned the pre­vi­ous game’s Forza 5- in­spired float­i­ness for Forza

6’ s more planted so­lid­ity. It’s all just as ac­ces­si­ble and for­giv­ing as you’d ex­pect, though, and abus­ing a su­per­car’s sus­pen­sion on the beach is as in­tox­i­cat­ing as bounc­ing a sturdy pickup along dirt tracks.

An ap­peal­ing twist places you in charge of the Hori­zon Fes­ti­val this time around, giv­ing you the power to de­cide when and where to set up new venues, which events are in­cluded, and even hir­ing and fir­ing your friends’ Dri­vatars as star driv­ers. Their achieve­ments go to­wards your own pro­gres­sion as fes­ti­val boss, but since there are only four slots you can de­cide to give un­der­per­form­ing ac­quain­tances the boot. This fo­cus on cus­tomi­sa­tion spills over into the new Blue­prints fea­ture, too, which lets you tweak cam­paign events and share them with friends. And in a smart move, edited events are given the same weight as the of­fi­cial ones, so you’ll still progress your ca­reer if you choose to ig­nore a Turn 10-cre­ated event. Whether or not you’ll be ha­rassed by slighted for­mer em­ploy­ees dur­ing the race re­mains to be seen.

Hori­zon3 fea­tures a range of su­per­cars along with the open-wheel rac­ers shown here, so if you’ve ever wanted to trash an F40 on the beach, here’s the op­por­tu­nity

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