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Forza Horizon 3: "a dream automotive holiday"

TG reviews Microsoft's impossibly perfect road trip game

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Try totting up the real-world cost of what Forza Horizon 3, out next week on Xbox One and PC, offers you. There’s the cost of flights to Australia, for one. They’re not cheap. Then there’s tickets to the music festival that provides the backdrop to the game, that’s another couple of hundred right there. Then there’s the fact that you’re immediately dropped in the bucket seat of a £1.7 million Lamborghini Centenario. That quiet pop you just heard in the distance was your bank manager detonating.

This is a dream automotive holiday in videogame form. You’ll be blasting across Australia’s diverse landscape in everything from planted hypercars through skittish off-road buggies to, yes, the three wheeled Reliant we were hoping for, albeit in full Derek Trotter Regal Supervan spec.

The British development team has paid homage to Aussie car culture, too, and in particular Utes, for which the land down under has an almost unique affection. As is only right and proper, your initial choice of wheels includes the unhinged Holden HSV Maloo, which combines generous amounts of rear loading space with generous amounts of rear tyre smoke.

If you find yourself developing a taste for this sort of thing, incidentally, it’s available here in Blighty in Vauxhall VXR guise. Just be prepared to be called a ‘bogan’ by all your Aussie acquaintances.

As a game, Forza Horizon 3 is just as polished as the glistening high-definition metallic paint of the cars therein. You’re now the boss of the Horizon festival, meaning you have increased control over what you’re racing and where. If your preference is creating a mile long dust cloud in the Outback you can choose to expand the festival there rather than taking it to the 90-degree turns of downtown Surfer’s Paradise. There’s certainly less to crash into.

And for the first time in the series, you’re able to bring mates along too. Forza Horizon 3 allows you to play in co-operative four-player multiplayer throughout the entire game, and PC players can join Xbox ones, ensuring you always have someone with which to dice through traffic. No having to co-ordinate fuel stops either, which is a bonus.

Rather than having a friend artlessly twiddling with the iPod from the passenger seat, Forza Horizon 3 treats you to a variety of music, split across themed radio stations. Whether it’s drum and bass, electro or indie, you should be able to find a channel that encourages you to squeeze the accelerator that little bit harder. Of course if you absolutely must listen to your favourite achingly cool, underground Ukelele trip-hop ensemble, you can import your own MP3s via the OneDrive service too.

This really is an essential purchase for people who spend their days idly daydreaming about fast cars, open roads and dramatic scenery. As with the last Horizon game, Forza Horizon 3 offers you an idealised vision of the perfect road trip vacation, free of real world concerns like speeding fines, fuel mileage and finding a place to eat that won’t serve you a grey burger that hits your digestive system like a bath bomb. The only thing missing is the airmiles…

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