Forza fans have discovered every inch of the land down under in Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One and Windows 10 since its release in September 2016. From the beautiful beaches of Byron Bay to the glistening streets of Surfer’s Paradise at night after a rain shower, Forza Horizon 3 took visual quality and excellence to a whole other level for the racing genre. But now it’s time to revisit Australia and the Horizon Festival down under with the Xbox One X Enhanced version of Forza Horizon 3 – available today as a free download for Forza Horizon 3 owners on Xbox One X.
Powered by the excellent ForzaTech engine developed by Turn 10 Studios in collaboration with Playground Games, Forza Horizon 3 delivers a rock-solid Native 4K HDR experience on Xbox One X. Forza
Motorsport 7 debuted in Native 4K
resolution in HDR at 60fps on Xbox One X last November, and now it’s time for the beauty and action-packed fun of Forza Horizon 3 to receive that same 4K HDR treatment, delivering a staggering quadruple increase in pixel quality.
In addition to the resolution upgrade, Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One X includes a host of other visual upgrades and enhancements, including improvements to car reflections and shadow resolutions, as well as increased texture quality for road and terrain surfaces, improved draw distances with an increased level of detail, and even more, including 4X MSAA and 16x anisotropic filtering, as well as the highly-detailed Native 4K Photo Mode with faster loading times overall. In addition, all of the enhancements included not only apply to the open-world of Australia, but also both Blizzard Mountain and Hot Wheels Thrilltopia from the game’s post-launch expansions.
“Forza Horizon 3 has always been a fantastic-looking game but the clarity and detail of native 4K resolution really brings the vast playground of Australia to life like never before,” says Playground Games Creative Director Ralph Fulton. “In addition, we’ve made a number of graphical improvements to the game, such as increased shadow resolution, improved visual effects and increased LOD and draw distances, which take advantage of the power of the Xbox One X.”
Whether you’re jumping across the dunes of the Australian Outback in your favourite off-road racing truck or building up new fans for the festival by pulling off stunt driving with your friends in your favourite buggy in the rainforest, the 4K-enhanced version of Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One X blends both beauty and fun to result in the most visually-impressive and enjoyable open-world racing game on Microsoft’s latest console.
Other noteworthy improvements to Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One X include sharper and clear reflections, crisper and better-defined shadows, increased motion blue quality to make the driving experience “significantly smoother,” and improved detail visible in environment textures and road themselves, thanks to the increased 16x anisotropic filtering. The improvements made here have been designed to compliment the dynamic time-lapse skies found in Forza Horizon 3, which impacts nearly every scene in the game and affects the overall feel to the game.
The enhancements included for Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One X are all about visual quality, so whilst there’s no 60fps offering as some hoped, the visual upgrade on offer here is vast, as not only do players benefit from an increased resolution, but they also receive both texture and quality upgrades to bring it almost on par with a high-end Windows 10 PC.
In addition, those on 1080p displays will benefit from these upgrades, as well as less jaggies and greater visual fluidity thanks to default super-sampling technology, which sees the Xbox One X retain the 4K output quality and detail before scaling it down to 1080p to match your display. It’s impressive work to say the least, and you can find out more about how it all comes together in our in-depth Xbox
One X Review.
Players on Xbox One X will also benefit from the addition of a 4K Photo Mode on Forza Horizon 3, which was added to Forza Motorsport 7 with its Xbox One X Enhanced Update. This allows both users on a 4K and 1080p display to capture and save native 4K photography that can be downloaded onto any device and shared online.
Forza Horizon 3’s Creative Director Ralph Fulton also shared how easy it was to bring up Forza Horizon 3 in Native 4K resolution with spare headroom to push visuals further on Xbox One X. The combination of Native 4K with HDR on Xbox One X is “a real, evolutionary leap in graphics,” he says, and the Xbox One X Development Kit allows the team at Playground Games to take full advantage of the horsepower inside the system, and also create additional improvements on base Xbox One and Xbox One S hardware thanks to the “trickle-down effect” where the improved developer kit allows further improvements on the less powerful machines.
“It’s been incredibly straightforward. It took us less than a day from receiving our first Xbox One X kit to get Forza Horizon 3 up and running in 4K, and when we did we still had a lot of spare headroom on both the CPU and the GPU,” he explained. “The Xbox One Development Kit for the Xbox One X is by far the most developer-friendly and powerful dev kit we’ve ever worked with, which makes it a pleasure to develop for.”
So, there you have it – the 4K Xbox One X Enhanced Update for Forza Horizon 3. It’s available today for owners of both the upgraded console and the open-world racing game, and I’ll be checking it out for a deeper look once the update drops and reporting back with my own thoughts and impressions of the improvements on offer from playing on a 4K HDR display.
Forza Horizon 3 launched in September 2016 on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and not only is it one of the most critically-acclaimed racing games of all time, it’s all one of the most beautiful and fun to be had. Whether you’re playing on Xbox One or Windows 10 PC, the racing experience on offer from Forza Horizon 3 is one not to be missed, and with today’s enhancements, there’s never been a better time to lead the Horizon Festival in the vast and epic landscape of Australia.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.