A demo version of the popular sports racing game Forza Horizon 3 that features multiplayer modes
The demo for Forza Horizon 3 lets you jump behind the drivers wheel and explore the wide open world of Australia. Demos are rare these days, but it's rare to see a demo that's for such a high profile franchise and for one that's so open ended. Forza has been around for years, serving as a flagship exclusive title for Microsoft, and they have so much rep and credibility that users know exactly what to expect. Just as challenging is managing to capture the scope of the Horizon sub-series. Horizon takes the polished and professional physics system and licenses that the larger series is known for and puts you square in the middle of a giant open world. While the demo can't capture the diverse scope of the full game's environments, but Forza Horizon 3's scope is as much about the granular detail as it is the overall size. It's something of a relief to be able to focus on a smaller map and soak up the detail on display here. The team worked hard to create a rich vision of what Australia looks like, and many of the components on the map look one for one like their real world inspirations.
Similarly, the demo isn't quite able to catch exactly how broad the range of options are. Miles and miles of Australia are portrayed in the main game, and all of them are absolutely packed with things to do. Practically any style of race you can picture having seen in a racing game before is reflected in multitudes, but that's just the tip of the iceberg here. In the full version, of course, there's the typical progression curve you can expect to see in open world racing games. Win races to unlock new cars that allow you to more effectively work your way through more complicated races, then use your hard earned winnings to customize them both cosmetically and in terms of performance. Given the scale of the demo, you're only going to catch glimpses of this, but there's enough of a taste here for you to better understand the mix of components here. As a nice break from this general loop, there are races that allow you to pick up some of the high end cars outside of your budget and take them for a spin. Similarly, a number of activities are available that move beyond the typical scope of conventional racing games. This is a game that rewards you for exploring the world, but that's just the carrot on the end of the stick, because it's a beautiful world well worth looking at it, and there's a joy in just cruising around in exploration.
This is a racing game, so the mechanics of how the cars actually drive is perhaps the most important thing, bu that's a standard that's been well established throughout the series. Forza Horizon 3 is just as tight and balanced as any other game in the series. If you know what to expect, it's a nice chance to take a dip in a new setting free of charge. If not, it's an opportunity to take one of the best racing games around out for a spin.