Sunday, October 2, 2016

Forza Horizon 3: My first week in Australia

Four days before Forza Horizon 3 went on sale on Tuesday, I got myself an early access to this game via the Ultimate Edition I pre-ordered days before it went live to the eager public like you and I but no matter the outcome, I am very happy that I spent my first week exploring the Australian scenery in this newest installment.

Man, I'm glad I've signed up to this experience. I can finally leave my Ridge Racer fantasies in Europe behind and get into the festival business in Australia for real. Wait, let me guess, I have a lot of memories regarding Australia, huh? Not in the slightest but I've seen good car commercials, mostly Japanese and Korean ones, took place in the Land Down Under, even open areas like the Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road where it looks good to drive even in strong rains. Being in the self-styled "universal automotive playground" is like a dream come true but being in charge of the Festival feels like, to put it a broad context or anything, a producer. I can think of myself as...the producer of this whole festival in Australia! That's a plus!

So, what I have done in my first week in Australia? Come on, I'm sure you guys did everything better than me on day one...


In my first day of duty as an honorary "producer" on Horizon Australia, like what every player starting their first day of the job, I've been given a choice of four cars to start with; a Shelby GT350, a Nissan Silvia S15 complete with Rocket Bunny bodykit, a BMW M4, and an HSV Gen-F Maloo GTS. I've picked the Maloo and if anyone asked me "why start your first day on a pickup truck?", I would say "This is not a pickup truck. It's a ute, and it holds significance here". Of course, my car of choice does pick significance here.

The Maloo, Aborigine for "thunder", is a high-performance version of the Commodore-based Holden Ute and in this Gen-F model, based on the Holden VF Commodore Ute, they Aussies really want to give its farewell party a big bash, given the fact that production of these machines will end within a few months. The GTS model is powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine sourced from the Camaro ZL1, producing 577HP of power and 545ft-lb of torque, making it the most powerful ute in the world.

maloo (2)

Seeing this as an opportunity to try out the most powerful ute ever made by Holden's HSV, as much as anyone in the world who want to drive this ute they've been asking for, I set off on a maiden voyage to begin my career as a "producer" and despite my "pest control" look that others think they've called for a pest control hotline, the rear-wheel drive Maloo, despite nearing its end-of-life status within a year, shows what an Aussie ute can do, combining its commercial use as a business car and its fun factor as a sports car in one unique package. I drove this car at my first race and judging from its progress, looks like my road of creating a very successful festival has begun. At least it's fun to toy around than that lousy "school idol festival" they've got hooked on. Byron Bay was just the beginning because throughout this journey, players can expand their festival throughout different places across Australia and how they'll make it to the Final Showcase is up to them, even me.

rr (2) rr

Having expanded the Byron Bay site, I got myself the keys to the Range Rover and because I am growing familiar with how the Range Rover behaves, as well as its Terrain Response thing, I have summoned a familiar look from the past and yes, it's that Love Live Eli Ayase theme I made back in Europe (FH2). Europe called, Australia answered. It's back and I managed to tweak it to SVAutobiography levels while surviving cross-country trials. Having managed to survive and win another set of events in this car, I've been given a choice to pick a new route; either Surfers Paradise or the Outback. I'd pick the Surfers Paradise because that metropolitan landscape really suits my liking.

nd nd (2)

With Surfers Paradise is my next venue, I used enough funds I won on events to buy a car and to keep it simple, I've gone to the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 (Roadster). Because of the news that the Roadster has reached one million units ever made, I've even created an event made specifically for Roadsters of all generations, courtesy of the Horizon Blueprint. I made an event for all generations of Roadsters but before getting ready, I made my fourth-generation Roadster a minor tweaks to keep it competitive and for a bonus: a dab of "Yousoro!" You got me because my new Roadster is now themed after Love Live Sunshine's You Watanabe. Surprised to see a Aqours-themed car I made, huh? But still, a little "Yousoro!" goes a long way to score another win.


Following my win in a game of Mazda Roadsters, I bought myself another one and it's a BMW M4. Although I didn't picked that one in the beginning, I still managed to buy one and drive it because I had Horizon memories on this car, although the BMW M4 featured in FH3 looks something different because the BMW M4 is just one of the few car to offer bodykits for the first time. The bodykit offered for the M4 was courtesy of Liberty Walk and thanks to the Liberty Walk look, the M4 looks more of a touring car than a normal M4 itself and upon recycling my familiar design I made on this car, which is themed after THE IDOLM@STER's Yukiho Hagiwara by the way, I had fun driving this Bimmer with the Liberty Walk look round town and scored some victories. Following my wins round Surfers Paradise...

I've been notified that a Barn Find is hidden several miles away from the Surfers Paradise Festival Site. This is the first of the 15 barn finds players must find to keep it. The first barn find I found is...


...a Dino 246GT, of course, and because I got my first barn find, I returned to Surfers Paradise to host a race dedicated for this car and win. Nothing says the first car you found in the barn can be the best car you'd ever driven, especially if it lives up to the legend.


While taking a break from my Festival duties, I find something to pass the time. Whether from completing Bucket List challenges, finding beauty spots, breaking boards, nothing's better to pass the free time than taking street races not sanctioned by the Festival. Seeing this as a challenge, I took my Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III for a spin and when I get bored after winning a street race...

...I've been notified that I heard another barn find rumor hidden somewhere and when I rushed to the very location...


...I found myself a Lamborghini LM002. Believe it or not, Lamborghini made a four-door SUV that others believe that it's a treason to the Lamborghini heritage, but known to be one of the rarest of the extinct specimens and a reputation of being called the "Rambo Lambo" because of its macho looks for an sport-utility vehicle.

488 488 (2)

Don't tell me how did I got my hands on the Ferrari 488 GTB because by chance, I obtained it for free via Horizon Wheelspin (although my VIP membership will deemed to be questionable by some). I once hosted a race for V8 Ferraris like the 488 to shine and won, then took on a street race and won by flying colors, it's hard to say that the turbocharged replacement for the rather excellent 458 Italia has a long way to go but feels like it got its head in the game...for me.

With enough routes to create a championship somewhere in Surfers Paradise, I once imagine what would my first championship be like and in my Horizon Blueprint terms, I've even come up with a race made solely for VXR models. Wait, VXR?!

vxr vxr (2)

Did you mean this VXR? The Vauxhall Astra VXR? I know that this is the only VXR in the game but you should know that the four-door HSV GTS and its Maloo counterpart did sold in the United Kingdom as a Vauxhall, so that fits the qualification of a three-race championship I've came up with. Before setting off to a race, I got a first dab of the Astra VXR via a street race and despite my appreciation on how it behaves as a hot hatch, I feel a little nervous on what would it be like if a two-litre Astra VXR takes on a horde of V8 Aussie-fed VXR8s and after some major tweaks as well as making a design for my race-prepped VXR, themed after Love Live Sunshine's Hanamaru Kunikida, it's challenge accepted, zura. Did I said "zura"? No matter the outcome, I've emerged as a winner in a game of VXRs I made.

With my Festival Sites now expanded to three; with my third one opened at the Outback, there's a lot of work that needs to be done while getting on my long-and-winding road towards the Final Showcase and making my Horizon Australia a successful one if I know what my hectic schedule is.

Oh, and if you want to see my FH3 gameplay videos, CLICK HERE.

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