REVIEW: Forza Horizon 3: Blizzard Mountain
Forza Horizon 3 was already a near perfect game but its first expansion takes it to even greater heights. The “Blizzard Mountain” downloadable content released earlier this month bringing with it – for the first time ever in a Forza game – snow, ice, extreme elevations, and blizzard-like conditions along with eight new vehicles suited for the difficult weather conditions.
It’s a substantial addition to an already expansive Forza Horizon 3 that also includes its own series of new challenge events. A limited number are open initially and more unlock as “stars” are collected through their completion. There are over 50 different events to take part in within an area that features 50 new roads to be discovered.
This system of earning stars to open more events is different than how advancement is handled throughout the rest of the game, adding a layer of complexity that is required of the player which may or may not go over well. Only two stars are received by actually winning a race, while it takes meeting a specific skill-based objective while still finding a way to win in order to get the full three.
While it’s not something I particularly enjoy or find to be a natural way to play — it makes more sense with events like the PR Stunts and Bucket List Challenges as opposed to the regular races – those who really want to push themselves will likely find a sense of achievement in doing so.
The winter conditions prove to be considerably challenging, whether due to the traction on the snow and icy patches (snow tires help in this area) or the poor visibility due to the falling snow which varies from light to incredibly heavy and paired with strong winds. At times visibility can be near zero which makes the racing especially intense and demanding.
The Blizzard Mountain section can’t be accessed until a a certain amount of progress has been made in the regular game. This does not appear to be disclosed anywhere, whether in previews or on the product page, which is unfortunate for those who just want to jump in and experience the unique conditions. The new area can only be reached once 200,000 fans have been earned at which point the third festival becomes available.
Along with being executed brilliantly, there’s sufficient content in Blizzard Mountain to justify the price, even though it’s possible to cruise through the majority of it in a handful of hours by choosing not to pursue the max number of stars. The experience of driving in the new conditions, the challenges that brings, and the spectacular visuals (which must be mind-blowing for those with an Xbox One S on a 4K TV with HDR capability) makes it something that Forza fans should not miss out on playing.
The Blizzard Mountain expansion is a no-brainer for those who are already deep into Forza Horizon 3. Developer Playground Games has delivered a challenging experience that both broadens and compliments the world of Forza. Given that Blizzard Mountain can’t be accessed until having played many hours into the game, however, those who are just starting or haven’t reached the point at which it would unlock should wait and see first whether they get there and are still engaged with the game before buying.