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Forza Horizon 3 on Windows 10 impressions: Why Xbox Play Anywhere is so good

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

Forza Horizon 3

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

Xbox Play Anywhere FAQ: Everything you need to know

Extra graphical prowess

Forza Horizon 3

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.

Forza Horizon 3 PC hardware requirements

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.

Input options

Afterglow controller

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 best controllers for PC gaming

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

Forza Horizon 3

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.

Forza Horizon 3 review

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Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

31 Comments
  • And people say Microsoft putting the Xbox games on pc are a bad thing?
  • Charging Xbox prices for a PC game is my only issue - PC owners should have an opt-out of 'anywhere' and save around $10.
  • Xbox prices? All new games are the same price on PC and console, unless you find a deal somewhere.
  • No they're not. Pc games are typically $10-20 cheaper than their console equivalents
  • Just google shopping "dishonoured 2" PS4 & Xbox One £42 PC £30 They always justified it as the consoles were subsidized - theres no argument at all for PC to have the console tax..
  • Negative votes for sticking up for PC gamers.. Too many Xbox kiddies on this site, all I asked for was an opt-out not to remove the option..
  • I think your machine is representative of a lot of machines used for Gaming. There are ultra high end machines, but I think those of us that float between both Xbox One and PC tend to have a very similar system to yours. Great to know how well it runs on what is pretty modest hardware. I'm looking at a new GPU to upgrade my GTX 960 soon, I'm just finishing ReCore first (Which runs maxed out at 1080p, 60 FPS w/ the extra graphical bells and whistles) 1080p is still the sweet spot for many - I hope to see Scorpio doing a lot of true 1080p and 60 FPS games. I'm holding off on final judgement until it's out but the 4K @ 60FPS is still a little pie in the sky in my mind - That of course depends on how much it costs etc. I know it will do 4K like they said, but for many framerate is important. Really like this article and think it's a great example of the average system somebody will have that wants to use it on both platforms, I'm doing it with ReCore and 30FPS on Xbox isn't forcing me to stick to PC exclusively
  • I know an RX480 isn't ideal to try this on, and you may not have 3 x monitors to hand, but can you confirm whether the game supports multiple monitors? Without that stretched look you get on the outer monitors in most games with that setup? I'm guessing it doesn't, and it's not a big deal for me as I won't be playing with all 3 displays with a GTX 960! Just curious
  • Yeah I don't have that many monitors am afraid!
  • Only problem is there are so many users, me included who can't run the game for various issues as seen in the forums (crashing at logo screen). I just hope they fix that so theat we can experience this
  • I remember Skulls of the Shogun had this functionality on Windows 8 and mobile, but those platforms are now the spawn of evil so let's not mention them.......
  • Looks like it's time to upgrade the PC...
  • Did this article actually explain why Xbox Play Anywhere is "so good"? Based on the title, I thought maybe this game highlighted it in an especially interesting way somehow.
  • Have you guys tested the ability to run both versions at once? I know if you buy a game digitally you can run it on 2 Xboxes in the house (even play together in some games) I know Forza was supposed to support cross platform play, but can it be run on an xbox and a PC with one purchase(and probably 2 LIVE accounts)?
  • IGN rating 9.5 but they didn't say any cons so the rating must be 10
  • How much did Microsoft pay for this pile of lies? The game runs like ass when it works, and crashes constantly. The support forum has issues pouring in.
  • OH NO! Someone has a good experience and is automatically a paid shill. Yawn. Haven't had a single crash and my experience with frame rates is detailed above combined with my hardware. I've been exclusively playing on Windows 10 the last two days and it works just great.
  • Same here. Updated the drivers to my GTX 970 and been running it on 2560 x 1080 on high and I've been getting 50-65 fps. Switched over to Xbox and it's been flawless. Enjoying it on both platforms.
  • Well that's what you get for playing this on a Pentium 4 and still have high expectations...
  • I'm hyped for this game but I have to pay my college test :/
  • waiting for gears of war 4 !!   
  • @all - do u guys think, it will be a good move for MS to allow other publishers & developers to launch their game as a play anywhere title ? (those who have both platforms, what's your take ? )
  • Ha Ha Ha, I just had an American complaining to me that the cars are driving on the wrong side of the road and he keeps crashing into oncoming cars. Welcome to what us Brits and Aussies have had playing  American games.  :)
  • My only problem is growing up playing American racing games is I'm too used to virturally driving on the right side of the road, so when it comes to a game based in my own country I still get it wrong all the time xD so many skill multipliers lost to oncoming traffic.
  • Dumb question time....... I'm a PC Owner, my kid has an XB1. I buy the PC version and also install on XB1 with my MS Account. Can my kid play the game on his account while I play on my account on the PC??
  • Double post
  • Doubt it as its linked to your MS account and they'll see two instances running.. If you could then that might reduce the grinding needed for some trophies so double doubt it..
  • Is there the family sharing feature on XB1?
  • Is there the family sharing feature on XB1?
  • No, there was going to be but when MS said they would require the Xbox one to be connected to the internet all the time (or daily) for some strange reason people were in uproar, so MS said f'it then and we lost a few other nice features too..
  • (I7 2600, GTX960 2GB, 8GB ram) I bought this game last night and downloaded the new NVIDIA driver.I managed to get by the crashing loading screen after a lot of trouble shooting, and the game was running from 40-60FPS on 720P at all the lowest settings with a lot of studdering (Unplayable). Btw, the visuals at low settings are disgusting. Additionally the game would not recognize my logitech g27. I immediately got a refund. $150CAD for an early access game that is completely broken is insulting.