This gorgeous new racing game does something incredibly smart

I don’t know about you, but I play video games to play them. Not to watch pretty videos, not to adjust settings — my time is limited, as is yours, so I appreciate it when a game gets to the point quickly.

The gorgeous new racer “Forza Horizon 3” nails this.

Forza Horizon 3MicrosoftThis is actually how good the game looks.

I started the game, and within minutes of the absolutely ridiculous “Fast & Furious-style” intro, I was behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Centenario you see above. 

The premise of “Forza Horizon 3,” as explained in the intro, is simple: You’re the boss of a festival — the “Horizon” festival — which combines street racing culture with, uh, like a fancy version of Burning Man? Kind of?

The ridiculous tone of the rest of the game is set in these two minutes. Here’s an actual quote:

“It’s big and it’s hot and the roads are just wide open. Bro, we’re talking fast cars, cool beats, summer sun, classic style, blazing days, banging nights, burned rubber, wild parties, and exotic animals. So put your pedal to the floor as we welcome you to Horizon Australia.”

Indeed.

“Forza Horizon 3” is a game that revels in being over-the-top, and it’s thankfully done with a wink and a nod (and probably the word “bro”). 

After a late title screen, three minutes after pushing start, I’m behind the wheel of the aforementioned Lambo. Like so:

Forza Horizon 3MicrosoftJust look at that subtle instruction, bro.

And that’s tremendously meaningful! I got this racing game to race cars, right? That’s the point? Well here I am! Racing cars!

More seriously, it’s just a crazy way to start a game. Most racers ask you which car you’d like to start with, if you want to drive in automatic or manual, and all sorts of other stuff. Heck, most games in general still open with stuff like brightness settings and difficult levels. 

Instead, “Forza Horizon 3” says, “Hey, you’re in Australia. The game is very pretty. There are lots of cars. Now get in one that’s going fast and make it go even faster.” Sure thing!

Forza Horizon 3MicrosoftThere aren’t any flying cars in ‘Horizon 3,’ bro, but there are sand dunes!

In doing so, the game teaches basic mechanics (pull the trigger to accelerate, push Y to rewind the race, etc.), sets a tone for the game (go FAST!), and immediately pulls you in. It certainly pulled me in. 

And then, when you’re getting comfy? “Horizon 3” thrusts you into a totally different vehicle:

There’s good reason for that: “Forza Horizon 3” is a racing game where you’ll drive through a diversity of regions. It’s totally normal to jump from a street race to a rallycar race in one step.

As such, the first five or so minutes of “Forza Horizon 3” is one of the most satisfying I’ve played in any game. It goads you in with silliness, then throws you into racing at full speed — and that’s a damn-near killer combo.

“Forza Horizon 3” arrives on September 27, exclusively on Xbox One and Windows 10. Check out the first 30 minutes of gameplay below (including the amazing intro), care of Polygon:

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