Ground Punch’s Best of 2016 – Game Awards

Forza Horizon 3 is a truly spectacular racing game, that is not only the pinnacle of the Forza Horizon games, but also a new milestone for arcade racers. In many ways Forza Horizon 3 is not an arcade racer with the genre’s staples; cop chases, nitrous oxide, crazy car customisation, all missing. Horizon 3 is a ‘grown-up’ approach to the genre if you will, removing any barriers between the player and their ability to enjoy driving a fast car in a beautiful open world. Players can customise the game’s near-perfect driving experience to their liking, with options to turn the usual assists on or off and to opt for a realistic or more arcade-style handling. Then, there’s the gorgeous and breath-taking slice of Australia that Playground Games has recreated, featuring sweeping highways, beautiful beaches, challenging off-road tracks, winding forest trails, tight urban playgrounds, and even some peaceful suburbs for you to tear through, making for possibly the best open-world in a racing game this decade. This playground also has allot to offer, with the usual mix of races, showcase events, and collectibles fans of the series have come to expect, and there’s also the incredibly fun bucket list challenges that see players in a variety of vehicles taking on challenges such as racing across swaths of Australia, and performing crazy jumps and drifts. Add into the mix an exhaustive list of dream cars, customisation and tuning options, an expansive single player campaign, and great multiplayer and Forza Horizon 3 really does have it all. For fans of the genre, this is simply a must play title.

Written by John Bennett

Stylish, lightning-fast, and brutally uncompromising, Trackmania Turbo is a game that I loved to hate in 2016. With a bright, charming art style and relatively noob-friendly opening hour, Trackmania Turbo is deceitfully chipper, lulling players into a false sense of security before throwing more and more savagery at them. For the uninitiated, Trackmania is less of a traditional racing game, and more of a platformer with cars; one that tests players’ reflexes, vehicle handling skill, and determination in equal measure while setting them against pre-determined times and global leaderboards. With 200 tracks included in the main campaign, robust online and local multiplayer modes, a fully-featured track creation tool, and a $40 pricetag, it’s hard to beat Trackmania’s value if you’ve got the skills and patience to master its unique brand of challenge. If not, there’s still a lot there for the casual set in the form of user-generated content and 100-man multiplayer matches, even though the average player probably won’t make it to the end of the campaign.

Written by Sam Young

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