Platforms PC, XBO
Developer Playground Games
Publisher Microsoft Studios
Release Date September 27, 2016

You can almost set your clock to finding a Forza Horizon game somewhere in my Game of the Year coverage. Since the 2012 release of the original game in the series on Xbox 360, the Horizon arm of the Forza franchise seems to be a bi-yearly staple of my end of year honours, without fail.

In truth, Forza Horizon 3 doesn’t do much different from its predecessors. It moves the action to Australia and all of the vast deserts, glorious beaches and dense wilderness that comes with it. You’re also given a promotion, taking on the role as Horizon boss instead of just an up-and-coming racer taking part for fame and glory.

And while shifting the setting to Australia does give Forza Horizon 3 a chance to try out a bunch of new things, all of the other changes are fairly superficial. Not that this matters in the slightest, because this third iteration keeps what makes the Forza Horizon series work so damn well – the fusion of the excellent, Forza Motorsport-powered racing gameplay and the joy of exploring a vast open world.

forzahorizon3

Forza Horizon 3 is one of the few driving games that really lets you hit the open road and do whatever you feel like. Sure, there are races you can partake in, challenges to be overcome and plenty of goodies hidden in the Outback for you to find. But if you simply feel like cruising along the highway (or through the jungle or around the beaches), that’s also fine. Better than fine – it’s worthwhile. No matter where you turn or what you choose to do there’s something amazing for you to see or do.

The act of simply driving in Forza Horizon 3 is enough to satisfy, regardless of the various races and challenges you can participate in. The open world does part of this heavy lifting, but full credit must go to the way Playground Games continually adapts Forza Motorsport’s exceptional handling and controls. As long as they keep making Forza Horizon games this good, I’ll keep dishing them Game of the Year awards.

Check out Gary’s review of Forza Horizon 3 here.

The List So Far:

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15) Forza Horizon 3
16) The Banner Saga 2
17) Planet Coaster
18) Gears of War 4
19) Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
20) Batman: The Telltale Series

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