When Forza Horizon 3 was released earlier this year, it would be an understatement to say that it impressed me. In fact, I stated that it was “as close to perfection as an arcade racer could possibly be”.
After countless hours spent driving around its beautiful recreation of Australia like a madman since my review, I stand by my words – though as time has passed, and the list of things left for to do in the game has grown ever smaller, there’s only been one thing on my mind: I want more. Turn 10 and Playground Games must have been listening to me; Forza Horizon 3’s first expansion, Blizzard Mountain, has been released just in time for Christmas, and like Forza Horizon 2’s Storm Island, it’s a quality piece of DLC.
Taking you away from Australia’s sunny climes, Blizzard Mountain lets you loose in your own winter wonderland, requiring you to not only defeat your opponents but also the environment to emerge as the King of the Mountain after ten gruelling stages of events. As you’d expect, it looks absolutely sumptuous, especially if you have a 4K TV that’s capable of HDR, with an abundance of snow and ice that realistically reflect sources of light and a general level of detail that never fails to impress. The random blizzards that occur are undoubtedly the highlight however, reducing visibility in a way that is harrowingly convincing which leads to some tense moments while racing.
Blizzard Mountain’s snow and ice is more than just a visual treat though; it really does affect your ability to drive too. To complete the 30-odd race events you’re required to take, the crown snow tyres are a must, and luckily all cars in your garage that are capable of having them are automatically changed over upon your arrival at the mountain. Even then though, you may find that your favourite rear-wheel drive car just doesn’t cut the mustard, especially when attempting to go off-road. No, on Blizzard Mountain four-wheel drive cars reign supreme, and to bolster your line-up a whole host of new cars and trucks have been added for you to take for a spin. You can jump behind the wheel of Ken Block’s 2016 Ford GYMKHANA 9 Focus RX for example, or maybe you’d prefer something a little sturdier, such as the 2016 Nissan Titan Warrior Concept. Either way, you’ll love your time throwing them about in the snow.
In addition to Blizzard Mountain’s fantastic new racing routes, there’s a healthy amount of new PR stunts to be completed too. Speed Traps, Danger Signs, Bucket List Challenges; they’re all here, yet instead of awarding fans for completion, all activities on Blizzard Mountain reward you with Stars. To win the maximum of three Stars on any given race event you’ll have to attain first place whilst also completing an objective, such as achieving 20 wrecking skill bonuses. For PR stunts, the number of stars you earn depends on your performance. Those who just want to make their way through the Kingmaker tournament will find that the 100 Stars required to do so may only take a few hours of their time, but those wanting to collect all 160 Stars that Blizzard Mountain has to offer will find a meatier challenge.
For ardent fans of Forza Horizon 3, like myself, Blizzard Mountain does not disappoint. It offers more of the sublime racing action that the series is known for, but in yet another environment that keeps the experience feeling fresh and engaging. Priced at £15.99 though, only those hell-bent on achieving all 160 Stars will perhaps feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. It’s a shame, as Blizzard Mountain really does offer some seriously enjoyable moments, but for a lot of players it’ll all feel a bit too brief. If money is no object, or if you’re the type of player that likes to eke every last drop of gameplay out of everything you play, then Forza Horizon 3’s Blizzard Mountain is a must. If you’re a casual player just looking to expand your Forza Horizon 3 experience however, you might be better off waiting for it to go on sale.