Published on December 16th, 2016 | by Justin


Winter DLC All-Wheel Slides Into Forza Horizon 3

December 13th marked the first DLC to the newest (and most successful) addition to the Forza franchise.  Blizzard Mountain for Forza Horizon 3 unlocks a new zone for players to explore, but with a winter twist.  Once a ski resort, as the lore goes, the Horizon festival expanded upwards (literally, it’s a mountain) to provide a place for racers to test nearly 400 vehicles that the game offers on snow and ice.  The $20 DLC is also available via a $35 Expansion Pass which gives access to the new winter content and also access to whatever madness Playground Games are concocting for the second DLC.  Owners of the FH3 Ultimate Edition also receive the benefit of a $10 discount off the Expansion Pass, bringing the total to $25 for the two DLCs ($12.50 a piece, just shy of a 40% discount) if you purchase before the end of the year.


The locale itself is pretty much what you’d expect if you’ve played the base version of the game.  The mountain is littered with both sprint and circuit races, bucket list challenges, and PR stunts set in a naturally beautiful environment with dynamic weather (surprise, you’re in a cataclysmic blizzard for this race!) The snow effects are very well done, whether in the light of day or reflecting the high-beams of one of the seven new vehicles that you receive with your purchase.  I’m unsure if I’ve just become accustomed to the desert and forest locations, but much of my time on Blizzard Mountain involved a slack jaw and mutterings of how good it looked, to the point of calling my girlfriend into the room to “LOOK AT THIS IMMEDIATELY.”


Subjectively, the DLC introduces three or four new challenging surfaces for the digital racers to acclimate themselves to.  There’s snow covered roads with exposed asphalt (the grippiest of the new surfaces), compacted snow (the kind you see in a road before the plow comes), loose snow (the kind rich people ski on), and even ice (frozen water).  The Horizon series isn’t exactly known for its true-to-life physics model or accurate representations of how cars behave in the real world, but the new surfaces still react how you’d pretty much expect them to.  Most cars will handle the snow covered tarmac pretty effortlessly as long as you’re not in some rear wheel drive monster with 1000+ horsepower and slick tires, and even the compacted snow is fairly manageable in anything under S2 class.  The other two surfaces are a very different story, however.


First, the deep, loose snow is an obvious challenge for any vehicle running a low ride height, so best to stick to the roads and paths unless you’re in something built for off-roading.  Ideally, you’ll want a truck or SUV because the rally-type cars seem to suffer from a lot of wheelspin once you’re in the thick stuff.  Finally, the last of the new surfaces is ice. I’d like to give some pro tips for when you inevitably run into your first ice patch. To start, you’ll need a 90-degree countersteer, upshift to dull the revs, then pump the brakes in a slow and steady motion to the beat of the Michael Jackson song “Beat It” while reciting the alphabet backwards and rubbing your stomach and praying to whatever god you believe in because all of this is useless; nothing can be done about this ice. You’re probably going to crash, and burn, and crash again.  And it’s great.


Don’t get me wrong, I actually love the challenge that Blizzard Mountain has brought to FH3.  It’s a racing game where you can generally get away with some pretty ridiculous stuff.  As long as you countersteer enough you can survive just about any slides without removing your foot from the throttle for even a moment.  I spent a solid three hours exploring the DLC and somewhere around the halfway mark I finally realized that the same driving style that worked previously just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.  I started practicing some throttle control, short shifting through the gears to make better use of the low RPM range, and suddenly I found myself quite a bit quicker.  It’s a bit of a difficult learning curve (especially if your first winter vehicle has 900HP like the one I chose…) but I’d recommend starting with an A-class or even B-class car to help smooth the transition.


Overall, I’m very satisfied with the quality and quantity of content offered in this DLC, but the $20 price tag for Standard Edition owners who aren’t keen on the Expansion Pass seems a bit steep (unintentional winter gaming joke there).  If you love or loved FH3 enough to play it more than 20 hours then I’d seriously consider picking up Blizzard Mountain, but if the base game wasn’t enough to hold your attention then I doubt you’d find the DLC any better.  I recorded some gameplay footage of the new content for my YouTube channel, and the first of those videos is linked below with more on the way.

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