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Parents' Guide for Forza Horizon 3 (PEGI 3+)

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In collaboration with the Games Rating Authority, here’s our parent’s guide to FORZA HORIZON 3

1. PEGI Rating

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Forza Horizon 3 as PEGI 3, suitable for all persons.

The Games Rating Authority clarifies their PEGI details by saying that ‘Forza Horizon 3 combines exotic real-world cars, a realistic open-world driving experience, and the exciting atmosphere of the fictitious Horizon Festival’, and that the game raises no issues.

2. Genre

Forza Horizon 3 is a racing game set in an Australian-themed open world including beach towns, city scapes and the Outback.

Explore the open world driving a variety of cars, competing in races and other driving activities to gain fans and open up the map. As well as a wide range of single player activities the game has 12 player online racing and 4 player online co-op as well as a world populated by ‘drivatars’, non-player opponents that base their behaviour on that of real life players. The Australian environment has been realistically recreated in the game, with skies based on HDR captures of the real Australian sky, a 24 hour day/night cycle and a dynamic weather system.

3. Similar Games

Forza Horizon 3 is the third in the series of open world racing games, itself a spin-off from the main Forza series, and while it appears super realistic it contains some of the bright spirit of classic arcade racers like Out Run.

4. Story

Forza Horizon 3 casts the player as director of the Horizon Festival, organising races and recruiting racers as well as building your own racing career, winning races and performing stunts to increase your popularity and gain fans. The game avoids a heavy narrative and character arc, with bright, simple player characters and limited interactions outside races.

5. Developer

Playground Games developed the previous Horizon titles and boasts veterans of Project Gotham Racing, Burnout and Need for Speed games. Turn 10, developers of the core Forza series, also contributed to the game.

6. Format

Forza Horizon 3 is available for XBox One and PC through Microsoft’s ‘Play Anywhere’ scheme that provides digital downloads for both formats. The game costs around £50 or $60 for the standard edition, with more expensive editions available including downloadable content. DLC packs can also be purchased separately. On XBox One a XBox Live Gold subscription is required for online play.

Users of the XBox One S with a compatible TV will be able to play Forza Horizon 3 with High Dynamic Range, providing greater depth of colour than conventional HD.

7. Duration and Difficulty

The main story of Forza Horizon 3 can take around 17 hours to complete, dependant on ability, rising to a massive 80-plus hours to find every secret and complete every corner of the game. Multiplayer options should provide even more hours of play for those who dig deep into that side of the game.

8. Themes

Forza Horizon 3 offers an idealised vision of driving as a realistic fantasy of safe, high speed excitement under bright blue skies or fierce night time neon, where every environment is a potential racetrack unhindered by speed limits, danger to drivers or sudden engine failure. It’s a beguiling vision, but perhaps not one to try out in a Ford Fiesta on your local bypass.

The series has become more family friendly over time, with the original Forza Horizon being rated PEGI 12 for occasional bad language. As with Forza Horizon 2, part 3 takes a more family accessible tone and with that provides driving aids for beginners.

9. Why people play

Forza Horizon 3 offers a large open world of driving possibility, a stunning antipodean landscape packed with race tracks, stunt opportunities, desirable cars to acquire and other distractions. The emphasis is on fun and flexibility rather than rigorous simulation, allowing you to drive precisely rendered cars that won’t suddenly choke on sand or get stuck in a ditch when you decide to take them off-road into the bush.

Skills, cars and types of play can be acquired as you progress through the game, giving a constant sense of achievement even outside conventional races. It’s a sense of open, arcadey fun reminiscent of the blue skies of Out Run as much as modern racers, one that feels accessible to anyone who gets a thrill from high speed movement through stunning landscapes, not just die hard petrolheads with well-honed reaction times. It’s not real world racing, but maybe what racing is like in a better world.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.