The Xbox One version of Forza Horizon 3 is probably the best looking game on the console but in a year where PC ports have yet again seen some disappointing releases, how does Microsoft’s latest racing game fair?
I’m truly staggered by what Playground games and Turn 10 have achieved and what’s more, it does a great job at maintaining 30 FPS on the console, except for the odd dip here and there (normally during cut scene moments). Forza Horizon 3 also makes use of Microsoft’s new Play Anywhere initiative.
Play Anywhere allows you to buy the game digitally on your console and you get the Windows 10 version with it. You can switch between the version to your heart’s content as your game progress carries over between the platforms.
I bought the Ultimate edition of Forza Horizon 3 so when it released I went to the Windows store (which is still an ordeal) and Forza Horizon 3 was listed as owned. I began the download and before long I was loading up the game.
So I played this on a nVidia GTX 980ti, intel core i7 6700k, I play on a 1080p monitor so I can’t vouch for 4k performance although I have heard the game runs just fine in 4k on an nVidia 1080 GPU. For my controls I went for my trusty and much loved Xbox One Elite Controller.
Normally I spend a good amount of time fiddling with the settings trying to get every last ounce of performance I can from the game and my PC but I was pleased to see that the game auto detected my PC specifications and promptly maxed everything out. I fiddled with a few settings here and there more for personal preference than out of necessity and found the menus nice and clean to use.
To run the game in Ultra settings you will need a pretty capable PC and I would definitely recommend waiting for the demo that’s expected sometime post launch if your PC is struggling to meet the recommended specifications which you can see below.
CPU: i7 3820 @ 3.6GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 970 or NVIDIA GTX 1060
AMD: R9 290X or AMD RX 480
Hard Drive Type: HDD
Available Space: 55GB
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Windows Version: Windows Anniversary Edition 64-bit 14393.101
The cars of Forza games have always been the stars of the show and that is exactly how it is with Forza Horizon 3 and the 60fps that the PC version achieves really compliments that. The Xbox One version does a great job with the graphics but the extra Frame rate the PC version allows just gives it the edge. The gameplay feels sharp and responsive. The particle effects are mesmerising, rain drops and weather effects in general are visually outstanding and the backdrop looks absolutely stunning with a vast array of beautiful colours to soak in. I can only imagine with a hint of jealousy how glorious Australia looks in full 4k.
Some gamers have reported experiencing some noticeable stutter which is apparently a known issue, to be addressed in a future patch. Another issue I had was with the extra content included with the Ultimate edition such as the VIP pass. At first the game wouldn’t recognise my VIP status or that I had the extra content as part of the Ultimate edition but I’m pleased to say the issue was rectified within a few days.
All in all, this is a very impressive PC release from Microsoft and should have everybody hopeful and excited for the PC version of Gears of War 4. Personally I think the Play Anywhere initiative is proving to be a great advert for the Xbox brand and if Microsoft can sort out the abomination that is the Windows Store then there would be little stopping them from making real gains in the PC gaming market and enticing PC gamers over to the console market too.
*UPDATE 27/09/16 -17:55*
There have been reports of other GPU/CPU configurations having frame rate issues or stuttering. in many cases this can be solved by adjusting the settings manually i.e turning off Anti-Aliasing and perhaps dropping some Ultra settings to High. the most reliable way of eradicating the stutter seems to be by locking the framerate to 30 for the time being. I’ve had a look at someone’s game who is having stutter and truth be told whilst its certainly not ideal its not game breaking but severity can obviously vary. Either way I expect a patch will soon be rolled out and drivers updated by nVidia and AMD.