For the first time in years there is a DLC add on for a game that has totally exceeded my expectations. Its fast, furious and filled with upside down racing and high octane. This is the Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 3 and its exceptional.
I must admit I was on the fence prior to the release of the FH3 Hot Wheels expansion as the price was a little steep at $30 and I was unsure as to whether there would be enough value here to justify that purchase. Well, I decided to take a leap of faith and invest and I am glad I did as FH3: Hot Wheels DLC is worth every single cent.
To find the Hot Wheels expansion you need to drive to the location on your map which happens to be along the coastline where you meet with the festival organisers. Shortly after a small conversation, you notice an island in the distance where you must travel to reach the Hot Wheels racetracks. It’s a clever way to introduce the DLC rather than modify existing streets and cities that you’ve already explored. Once you arrive you follow the usual progression path which is to drive to any one of the selected routes and events to begin. As you would expect there are a host of events ranging from circuit races to sprint races, speed traps, speed and drift zones are all here. There are a host of different classes starting from class B right through to class S2 and you need to complete as many as you can to move into the next race class that unlocks more events on your map.
Each event has a potential 3 stars that can be earnt should you win the race and complete and other associated tasks, for example performing 15 drifts in a race and coming first will earn you the full 3 stars. Simply winning a race event will only earn you 2 stars, so there is always that incentive to keep trying. What you will immediately notice also upon your arrival to Hot Wheels island is the sheer amount of orange and blue circuits that loop around each other, mountain’s, cliff sides and more than the world’s biggest collection of freeways. There are loops, half pipes, jumps and rings of fire to pass through as you fly around the tracks. There are a host of blue intersections that enable you to change course much like the city streets which is great. Also, important the Hot Wheels tracks have in the majority of places an edge barrier which in most cases prevents you from leaving the track as you slip and slide around the course. Some parts don’t have any protective barriers so be careful not to fall off the track. Thank goodness for that rewind button which I made use of quite a bit.
Before you reach a major jump, long stretch of road or an upcoming loop de loop, you will see boost pads which are controlled by large engines that propel you forward at a significant rate of speed, so fast that you’ll be bouncing off your rev limiter. What I must commend the developers here on is again the way the cars handle and drive through the tracks and loops. It doesn’t feel like an arcade racer such as Trackmania Turbo where the controls were your enemy. Here it feels incredibly good and controllable which is key to being as much fun as it is here. I never felt like I had absolutely no control and the steering was tight and accurate.
In terms of vehicles, Hot Wheels adds a range of cars and even a barn find as well. There are an additional 11 cars here and include the Hot Wheels Bone Shaker and custom 2005 Mustang, plus the 2010 Pagani Zonda R and more. There are two funky Hot Wheels models, the Twin Mill and the Rip Rod which are amazing rides with my favorite being the Twin Mill which features twin V8 Supercharged engines, what a monster!
Throughout the Hot Wheels island, you’ll find city streets, ocean beaches known as sizzling sands and mountain areas known as Spiral Summit and more to explore. There is even a massive robotic T-Rex thrown in for good measure as well which reminds me of the old Beetle Adventure Racing on the Nintendo 64. Scattered across the island as well are billboards that need to be found, however you can’t just take the nearest route to find them as you cannot get off the tracks at most points and need to travel further out to get onto land before you can seek out the billboard signs.
Graphics & Sound
Visually FH3: Hot Wheels island is a sea of blue and orange tracks that light up your eyes with their vibrant colors. The cars also shine like the Twin Mill with its metallic blue paintwork that reflects the sun perfectly during certain times of the day. Rain and weather effects also change the dynamic of the world and also affect the handling of the cars on the track surface. Rain drops cloud your view as does sand from the beach that litters your windshield, all these details make for an incredible experience.
If you have ever wanted a sequel to the original Stunt Car Racer from the Amiga 500 then look no further. No seriously, Forza Horizon 3: Hot Wheels expansion is the best track racing experience I’ve ever had with its crazy circuits, death defying bends and crazy loop de loops to conquer. This expansion is so totally and completely unexpected and that is what makes this expansion incredibly fun and rewarding as well. A truly exceptional add on to the award-winning Forza Horizon series that is definitely worth its $30 price tag any day of the week. A must buy for those who enjoy cars and have ever had a hot wheels car or track in their possession.
The version reviewed here was the Xbox One version. The Forza Horizon Hot Wheels expansion pass is available also on Windows 10 as part of the Play Anywhere system.