There are two types of people who will read this article: those who are car people and those who are definitely not car people.
Car person: you keep pictures of your dream machine hanging around your garage, your office, maybe even on your phone. You know the differences between each yearly model, and have all the tools of a professional pit crew kept in pristine condition. When friends have a question about cars, you’re the one they come to. The Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels DLC was made for you.
Not-a-car person: You couldn’t tell someone the importance of torque, the right way to change oil (or what kind of oil to use), or the difference between a spark plug and a fuel injector. Maybe you’re not even a big fan of cars in general. You just want something that runs, and gets you from Point A to Point B. You probably don’t even look twice at racing games. The Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels DLC was made for you too.
The newest addition to Xbox One’s open-world racer breaks any illusions or pre-conceptions you have about cars, racing, and the Forza games in order to drill down into the pure joy of speed and imagination. It’s unlike anything else, and if you own an Xbox One, I am not exaggerating when I say it deserves a spot on your ‘must play’ list.
This isn’t to say the concept won’t seem familiar. The two most obvious points of comparison are Mario Kart 8 (thanks to its gravity-defying loops and playful aesthetic) and Trackmania (which also encourages players to let loose and make massive leaps and sharp turns). And in a way, you could definitely consider this expansion to be Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s long-running kart racer.
But this is still Forza Horizon, and everything handles as players of the series have come to expect: the physics give a sense of real weight, impact, and momentum, but are not overly concerned with the logistics of tire pressure differentials and shock suspension stiffness. There are Hot Wheels brand cars that would never exist in the real world, but they fit in surprisingly well among the likes of Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lamborghini, and more.
In other words, this is something new, but it still plays as comfortable and accessible as the main game. And that’s great, because you’re not suddenly learning a new set of rules or drastically altering your approach – being able to just pick a car you like and jump in means you can focus on the fun of sliding around tight spirals, watching a giant T-rex snap at you, and aim for the center of flaming hoops when you make daring leaps.
Forza Horizon 3 is a gem of a game for racing fans. It takes the finely-tuned precision of the Forza Motorsport series to the lush and beautiful shores of Australia to burn rubber and spit dirt. It’s what the Horizon series does best: give you beautiful landscapes to look at while you push your foot to the floor. The Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels DLC takes that focus on visual splendor and the joy of speed and blows it up further than ever before to create something everyone can enjoy.
Whether you’re a car fanatic or an automobile luddite, it’s time to bring your sense of fun in for a tune-up.