Along with the satisfaction of knowing you have good taste, people who buy the excellent new racing game Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One or PC — my review of which is here — who’ve also played either Halo: The Master Chief Collection or Halo 5: Guardians will get a free M12S Warthog CST from AMG Transport Dynamics they can use in the racing game. Even cooler, the Warthog actually handles better in Forza Horizon 3 than it ever has in a Halo game, and even has its own race events. Sort of.
Now, part of the reason that the Warthog handles so well in Forza Horizon 3 is, of course, because Forza Horizon 3 is a dedicated racing game — one that has similar kinds of Jeeps, trucks, and other off-road vehicles — while Halo 5: Guardians and the games in Halo: The Master Chief Collection are first-person shooters. It also helps that Forza Horizon 3 allows you to enable systems that augment the steering, braking, traction, and stability, which can make the game’s controls as realistic as a racing sim, as forgiving as a Need For Speed-esque arcade game, or somewhere in between. Though it also helps that the M12S Warthog CST is the civilian version of the M12 Force Application Vehicle, or FAV.
Of course, giving Halo fans a free Warthog to drive in Forza Horizon 3 is a gimmick. But there’s nothing gimmicky about the Warthog in Forza Horizon 3. In fact, it’s actually one of the more fun off-road vehicles to drive in the game. Compared to other vehicles in the game, the Warthog has great acceleration (its stats put it at an 8.5/10) and braking (8.5/10), is excellent off the starting line (10/10), has good handling (7.9/10), and, for an off-road vehicle, has a decent speed (4.3/10). The latter of which may not seem like much, but during a couple races, I redlined it at 118MPH. This, admittedly, isn’t as fast as the Lamborghini Centenario, which can hit speeds in excess of 215MPH, but then the Warthog doesn’t cost around $2.4 million. Er, I don’t think so. Does anyone know what $28,000 will be in the year 2558 when adjusted for inflation?
Anyway, to test how the Warthog handles in Forza Horizon 3, I entered it in one of the game’s many races. One of the many cool things about races in this game is that when you start one, you’re given numerous different versions of that race that are based on the type of car you’re currently using, as well as other types. Which means that if you own the Warthog, you’ll end up racing it against similar kinds of off-road vehicles.
There are even some Warthog specific events, including some Warthog-only race options, all of which have Halo-ish names, as well as some other events. In one Bucket List challenge called “Search For The Silent Cartographer In The M12S Warthog CST,” I had to drive a Warthog through a beach cave, across a field, onto a twisty road, and eventually through the rainforest. Sadly, for you non-Halo lovers, the Warthog you use in this event is just a loaner, you don’t get to drive it home if you win.
To continue my road test of the Warthog, I next took it off-road, where I immediately noticed that, unlike when Master Chief is driving it around one of the Halo stations, it’s not as likely to flip over (though, again, this is probably also due to it being the M12S Warthog CST, and not the top-heavy M12 FAV). Which is for the best, since you can’t get out of the cars in Forza Horizon 3 to flip them right side up.
As with other cars in Forza Horizon 3, the Warthog is also fully-customizable. Not only can you change the viewpoint from a chase cam to a hood view to one that shows what it’s like to get behind the wheel of this bad boy…
…but you can also adjust many aspects of the Warthog, from the tire pressure and the alignment to shock absorbers to the differential. You can even change the horn sound, including to some familiar ones labelled “Halo Theme Full,” “Halo Theme 1,” and “Halo Theme 2.” Well, once you unlock them.
You can even, if you’re so inclined, repaint your Warthog in a variety of interesting (and, let’s be honest, ugly) colors. Besides the standard issue army green and tan, and a range of solid colors, you can also repaint your Warthog with ’70s station wagon wood paneling…
…a multitude of camouflage paint patterns…
…and some that are known throughout the galaxy as “HEY, LOOK AT ME!! LOOK AT ME!!”
There is, however, one advantage that the Warthogs in Halo have over the ones in Forza Horizon 3. There are no guns in Forza. No machine gun, no rocket launchers, nothing. If you want to beat another Warthog to the finish line, you have to get there first, you can’t blow it away with a well-placed shot.
Lastly, even if you’re not enough of a Halo fan to get a free Warthog, you can still get one during a special #Forzathon event to be held in the game this October. You can also show that you care when you get to the part of the Forza Horizon 3 early on where you tell the game what name or title it should use to get your attention. Y’know, like when someone says, “Paul, we need to get some new Port-A-Potties for the festival grounds.” Besides a wide variety of names, Forza Horizon 3 will also address you as Mr. President, El Pollo Diablo, and, best of all, Master Chief. Long may you reign.
For a deeper look at Forza Horizon 3, you can read my review by clicking here.