Digital Dreams are Made of These

My last three months have been agonizing.  On top of absolute lack of sleep I have been fighting and hopelessly losing to a full-on addiction.  The substance of matter is a video game, and even though this is not the first time a game has captivated me and stole hours of sleep and social life, for reasons that I will share with all of you in this post Forza Horizon 3 is different.

Racing games have been part of my life long before I even acquired my drivers license or developed proper interest in cars.  I will never forget the hours spent staring at the pixel-mess on old school analogue TV trying to beat Ayrton Sena on Mega Drive's Monaco GP, or trying to fix Windows 95 so I could cruise the coastal roads in the awesome sounding Ferrari 512TR in original Need For Speed (which I think to this day is the best of the series)

Whether it was just for sake of killing time, competing with friends, or sheer pleasure of simulated driving, racing games were always a close companion in my automotive life.

As times and technology have progressed the virtual experience became more realistic and more desirable.

It is no secret that rather than Motorsport my passion has always been with production cars.  Rather than looking at lap times and power to weight ratios I have always appreciated cars for how they looked, sounded, smelled, and how they made me feel.

With that said, what I have witnessed in video games so far, the only aspect related to any sort of realistic automotive experience was handling.

Take Gran Turismo for example, they managed to squeeze in awesome visuals, great force feedback engine, lots of tracks, tons of cars which you could mod performance wise, and even slap some wheels on, but none of these cars felt like they were mine.

Even cars that were mine in real life felt distant and un-involving.

It is therefore I have to confess that my obsession with Gran Turismo never lasted.  Once I got through the wow factor, I never even bothered finishing the campaign and tend to only pick it up occasionally for a quick timed lap or a drift session.

The cars always sounded awful, tracks became repetitive, and the whole presentation was made in a way that was reminiscent to Japanese style car documentaries, which I must say is the opposite of what  Jeremy Clarkson does on his show.

As much I love cars and concept of realistic handling, these are games, and games are supposed to be fun and involving.

Forza Motorsport series tried to fix that and even signed original Top Gear presenters and featured Dunsfold Aerodrome track, and glorious autovista mode, where you could get up close and personal with a number of cars and listen to Jeremy present his views on select models.  Yet the game, although a lot more enjoyable suffered from same kind of lack of overall involvement as Gran Turismo.  It was still cars around track in circles.  I wanted more!

It appeared that the gap between physical car ownership and virtual racing could never be narrowed.

Until Now.

In comes Forza Horizon 3 and changes the whole perspective.

Suddenly, I am drawn into these virtual machines as if they were my own.

Somehow the cars feel so real that you don't even need to race them to appreciate the experience.

For starters, you can just walk around them, open doors, take a peek at interior or engine bay,

to make them truly your own, you can apply a paint job, carbon wrap, or entire decal set,

You can fully customize your car in way that you see fit, each car in your garage becomes your personal project!

This R34 Skyline GTR is fitted with Top Secret bumper,

Painted in matte version of Bayside Blue,

and has a set of HRE wheels.

Not enough? Check out this twin turbo Liberty Walk Lamborghini Aventador.

Or this E30 M3 is fitted with full Rocket Bunny kit and has RB26 under the bonnet.

While this Nissan Silvia S12's SR20 got swapped for a quad rotor turbo setup!

And who could forget the Rocket Bunny S13 kit, which I saw at Offset Kings back in 2014?

To be honest, it is after seeing mod this featured in the game, I decided to write up this review...

What makes Forza Horizon 3 so special and makes me want to return to it despite having cleared most objectives, driven every car and the fact that I have a beautiful white M3 parked downstairs, it is the fact that each car in the game feels more than just a polygon interpretation of its real life counterpart.

Cars in Forza Horizon are so well created and presented that they indeed to feel special!

You can go to "Showroom", have a close look at the car you want, walk around it,

Buy it,

Drive it,

Tune it,

And then go ahead and make a demo car worthy of Tokyo Auto Salon or SEMA floor space.

But then the game goes even further,

It lets you get behind the wheel of cars that cold-hearted automotive CEO's ruled against!

The Infiniti Q50 EAU Rouge is one of them.

 But if concept cars aren't your thing, there are plenty of classics to play around with.

The developers understood that not all cars in this game were meant for racing.  I mean who'd show up to a street race in a Cadillac Escalade or Merced Benz G65 AMG?

You can join others in a convoy, and cruise to a car meet; I think even some guys organized a virtual stance nation, where people just park the cars and take pictures.

Speaking of pictures, all mighty photo mode allows me to explore my passion of automotive photography and take pictures at some of the most exotic location of cars that I can only dream about seeing with my own eyes.

If you area car spotter, which is something I do as well, the game has got you covered too, as with said photo mode you can earn in-game credits by taking pictures of cars on streets!

How cool is that?!

While undeniably an eye candy, Forza Horizon 3 carries a strong degree of authenticism that die-hard fans of racing games as well as all petrol heads around the world would definitely appreciate.

Forza Horizon offers an phenomenal blend of realism, imaginativeness and somehow manages to reach out and touch every car fan out there.

Despite being a racing game, Forza Motorsport 3 is unique in a sense that players have a choice of putting all sort of competitions aside

and experience car life in a way that not many can do in reality.

Perhaps in essence, despite having pure racing game roots Forza Horizon has moved towards augmented reality segment and lets you experience life in a virtual world.

For car guys like myself this hits the spot,

and for that reason Forza Horizon is the absolute winner when it comes to automotive games.




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