Forza Horizon 3 shows why Xbox Play Anywhere is just the greatest.
Our full review was carried out on the Xbox One, in part due to the Windows 10 edition not being available at the time. As Ultimate Edition buyers will begin to play it's ready to go with the added graphical benefits of running on the PC.
We buckled up and went for a quick ride, and like what we found.
Xbox Play Anywhere rules
You'll get the Windows 10 version for free with synchronized progress between PC and console so long as you bought a digital copy. If you bought a disc from a retailer you're sadly left out of this party. It sucks, but it's just the way it has to be right now with the way Microsoft authenticates ownership of a game.
If you buy from the Windows Store on your PC then the Xbox One copy will be magically available under "Ready to Install" on your console. And vice versa.
Once you're installed on both formats you'll have no issues going between the two and taking your game saves with you in the process. It's all pretty seamless and just requires that you're connected to data in order to make sure the latest save data is transferred.
For more on Xbox Play Anywhere check out our full FAQ
Extra graphical prowess
You'll need some serious hardware to get the absolute best from Forza Horizon 3, but if you can manage it you can get 60 fps and an ultra-impressive 4K resolution. I don't have serious hardware to achieve the upper reaches but have achieved 60 fps on High settings with a Core i5, 16GB of RAM and a 4GB AMD RX 480 graphics card.
There are a number of graphical settings to tweak in order to achieve your desired maximum performance, but I've literally just set it to high at 1080p and run with it. The good news has been a mostly solid 60 fps, with any dips still keeping the frame rate well above what the Xbox One is achieving. They do happen, though, and it's a little jarring when it does, but overall performance seems good. Races or open road driving both yield smooth, high frame rates.
That added frame rate and graphical oomph from being on the PC makes Forza Horizon 3 even better to experience. Sure, not everyone will get the most from it but if you can, prepare to be wowed. Everything we love about the look on the Xbox One is here, but cranked up a little. It's sublime.
It's worth making sure you have the most up to date drivers from NVIDIA and AMD first as well. Both have issued game ready drivers for Forza Horizon 3 in the run up to launch. When you first choose your graphics settings and fire up the game there'll be a fairly lengthy optimization screen you have to endure. So far, at least, you only have to do that once.
With the transition to the PC you get the additional option of using the keyboard as an input. As I said when I looked at Forza 6: Apex on the PC, this is a bad thing to do. The best experience will come from one of those other input methods for sure.
The natural fit is the Xbox One controller where all the controls will be exactly the same as on the console. You should be able to use any XInput controller that works on the PC, but your mileage may vary.
First impressions are good
Having already given the game a five-star review on the Xbox One, there was never any doubt over the quality of Forza Horizon 3. But, there have been some concerns over the Windows Store in the past delivering AAA games and mostly it's very good here. There have been reports of download issues for folks pre-loading, and we've had to make a couple of attempts at getting it installed.
But once you're inside playing the game it's absolutely fantastic. The increased frame rate and graphical options add even more sparkle to an already impressive title. Importantly it seems mostly solid and smooth, though frame rate dips do happen and they're as annoying as you'd expect when they do. In my experience the outback setting has provided more of these than anywhere else, but races seem steady at least.
If you've bought this to play on the Xbox One and also have a decent PC, definitely try it out. If you've been thinking of just picking it up for the PC, I'd say go for it. It's an incredible game and the PC experience looks like its a good one so far. There should be a demo coming for Windows 10 sometime after general launch, so you can always hold out for that.
But right now this is the best advert imaginable for Xbox Play Anywhere. A marquee title that shows just how powerful Microsoft's Xbox ecosystem is, and we're loving every single second.