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I’ve never been all that bothered about DLC for racing games. Maybe I’m a bit odd, but despite absolutely loving the genre I generally couldn’t care less about additional cars being added for a fee. What I do care about is a completely new place to drive around in. Blizzard Mountain provides this, and then some.
Snow and ice have a chequered history when it comes to producing fun environments to play in. In platformers these slippery areas are almost always infuriating, included presumably to make you think you’re playing Super Mario 64. Hardcore racing sim DiRT Rally is even more unforgiving in such conditions, barely counting as fun at all. Blizzard Mountain nails what I want from racing on (and in) the white stuff: namely, it’s thrilling but not infuriating, and pretty damn gorgeous.
Set in its own brand new location, Blizzard Mountain delivers more or less what you’d expect: there’s a mountain and it can get extremely snowy – so snowy in fact that visibility is reduced to nearly nothing during the most intense periods of snowfall. While nowhere near the size of FH3’s main map, this converted ski resort is far from small, with a solid amount of races, challenges and collectables to find.
Rather than being folded into the main career progression of FH3 (which is based around amassing fans), Blizzard Mountain uses a star system, with most events giving a maximum of three stars for winning alongside meeting certain criteria – a few only hand out one star. If you love Forza Horizon for it’s glamorous depiction of driving high-end luxury sports cars, be warned that this expansion is more rugged. There are normal roads to drive around, but the majority of time is spent fighting the elements and terrain in order to successfully guide your off-road vehicle to victory.
While Blizzard Mountain looks brilliant in a picture postcard perfect kind of way, with the light bouncing off your car and the snow/ice wonderfully, the expansion’s best addition is the mountain itself and the events it allows for. Hill Climbs and Hill Descents are superb, with the latter offering some of the series’ most exhilarating action to date. Although the handling model here isn’t an exact copy of what is found in the long-dead but awesome RalliSport Challenge, the sense of speed and the feel of being on the edge of control certainly echoes DICE’s games.
If there’s one niggle with the whole thing it isn’t with the content but how it’s being delivered. If you own the Ultimate Edition of Forza Horizon 3 you can get the Expansion Pass (Blizzard Mountain and another coming in 2017) for about £20. If you don’t own the Ultimate Edition it’s about £30. The Expansion Pass is different to the Car Pass, so don’t get confused over what you own. Having the two different sets of DLC is asking a lot from consumers, and I expect many would have preferred the Expansion Pass to be included in the Ultimate Edition rather than the Car Pass.
Anyway, pricing model aside, Blizzard Mountain is great, and pretty much essential if you enjoyed what the base version of Forza Horizon 3 had to offer.