The launch of the very first fully-featured Forza Motorsport title on Windows-based operating systems hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Widespread reports of massive stuttering issues and other technical gremlins have surprisingly lead to a situation where the best possible Forza experience can be found on vastly inferior hardware. To close out the weekend here on PRC.net, Alex K. has sent in a Reader Submission detailing his time spent cruising around the virtual rendition of Australia’s Gold Coast; a piece which indicates the ladies and gentlemen of Turn 10 Studios have made some phenomenally poor decisions in the months leading up to release. Incompatibility with a common PC steering wheel, as well as an intrusive push for users to check out Microsoft’s answer to iTunes are just some of the reasons Forza Horizon 3 feels extremely misguided.
Hey guys, I’m just writing in to let you know I’ve made a huge mistake. I didn’t listen to the articles discussing the performance issues found in the PC version of Forza Horizon 3, and I went out and bought the game regardless. I’m a humble simpleton when it comes to sim racing; I don’t own a multiple input wheel but rather a stock G27. I assumed that considering Forza 6: Apex supported Logitech’s jack-of-all-trades wheel, Horizon 3 would as well. Boy was I wrong.
Although the game claims to support the G27, it doesn’t recognize it on PC at launch. For anybody. On any configuration. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s a hilariously ridiculous situation. Anyways, I discovered that little “known issue” after I’d already bought the game. So I figured I’d suffer through it until the patch was released. Unfortunately, it’s now been two weeks, and we still don’t have a patch. In fact, no word has been said about any patch being in the works, or what it will allegedly fix. The only thing that popped up is a Windows 10 update that fixes the download issues people were having with the Microsoft store.
Now I’m a patient guy, so I’ll wait. I continued to plug through the game without any real force feedback, and I’d like to say that the game’s physics on simulation mode are actually quite fun. But Horizon 3 suffers from serious continuity and flow issues. For instance, if you’re competing in a multi-race championship, the game will randomly drag you across the map to an unrelated showcase event held at one of the festival sites, yet because I raced a random AI driver on the way there – a casual occurrence in the game – suddenly I don’t have to go to the festival site anymore. The game can’t make up its mind when it comes to laying out the road ahead. There is just too much going on and it pulls me in far too many directions. And only after I visited the festival site it originally dragged me to did the game suggest for me to finish my championship first.
But then, and this is the kicker, Microsoft decided it was a good idea to push it’s new Groove Music Service on me. I’ve never even heard of this shit before. Apparently it’s a re-branded Xbox music service. Which is fine if they want to go that route, but quite frankly I’m not interested. So the game offers me a 14-day free trial of Groove, or to outright decline. Really? This is what it has come to now? A push of a failing service inside of a game? Obviously I say no, but then the in-game music service stops working. The car sounds and speech and all that work, but now I have no music – some of which I actually liked.
I was even willing to let it go; I’ll just fire up my own music in the background, and it’ll be fine, right? Wrong! Now you’ve got this huge annoying text in the middle of the screen telling you there is a Groove playback issue. And it doesn’t go away, it just sits there, mocking you and your purchase, like you’re some kind of chump for buying their ad of a game.
What. The. Fuck. Are they for real? Who coded this? A teenager on a weekend or a professional studio? I’m not sure anymore. At that point I rage quit and immediately contacted Microsoft for a refund. I own a lot of broken games, such as Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, and No Man’s Sky, because I’ve managed to find something enjoyable in those titles. But this game is something else; the push of their failing Groove service on me was the last straw.
This reminds me of the time Microsoft was going all-out in their shilling of the Zune, which as you may remember failed especially hard. I don’t really understand why Microsoft believes it’s a smart idea to enter into markets with established powerhouses already; do they really think they’ll dethrone iTunes? Probably not. On the other hand, it’s cool they’re trying shit like cross-platform online play; I booted up Horizon 3 at my buddy’s house on his Xbox One, and we were able to enter a session with our boy Sev on his PC and run a race or two – though I’m not exactly sold on the netcode or overall gameplay experience.
Unfortunately, the whole Groove music thing can be chalked up to Microsoft being Microsoft, and in a few years people will look back on Horizon 3 and be like “oh God that’s the game that was pretty fun aside from the Groove thing Microsoft cancelled six months after launch and shit up all the menus.”
The lack of G27 support is pretty sad. I’m not here to make excuses, but when Kunos or Slightly Mad Studios have these kinds of problems at launch, at least you sort of expect it and can make bets with your friends on the exact kind of glitches you’ll come across. For a huge developer such as Turn 10 shipping a game in this state – from the framerate problems to the most common PC wheel not working – that’s just bizarre. I don’t know how you give the thumbs up to put this thing on store shelves, because with how many G27’s are floating around, a lot of people are gonna find out in a hurry that corners were being cut behind the scenes.
It’s a shame to hear all this stuff about Horizon 3, because I really liked the original and thought it was one of the best racing games ever. Heavily commercializing it with things that most users won’t care for, and failing to catch bugs that directly affect people’s enjoyment of the product is definitely not the way to maintain a positive relationship with your customers.