With the likes of Driveclub and The Crew currently making headlines, it’s very easy to overlook Forza Horizon 2, the spin-off sequel to the Forza Motorsport series. Having never played the original Horizon and only played the Motorsport franchise, I was pleasantly surprised by the content. Forza Horizon 2 is a blend between a simulator and an arcade racer.
Complete with a huge free-roaming map with over 200 cars to choose from, there’s plenty of content on offer. It doesn’t really have a substantial story, but it’s a driving game, so I didn’t blame it for not pushing the boundaries in that department. For what story there is, it revolves around
a the ‘Horizon Festival’, set in southern Europe. In the festival there are road trips which take you to different locations, allowing you to race in four events. If you have the highest points by the end of the four events then you win that championship.
There are 168 championships in total, giving you quite a lot to do. After winning 15 championships you can enter the Horizon Festival Finale. The finale is basically a longer race that you get every 15 wins. But in no way should you not aim to complete them, you get paid loads of CR (in-game currency) upon their completion. You also level up throughout the game for winning events, and from this you will earn different colour bands that go on your driver’s wrist. I know, riveting.
Let’s move onto the engine of Horizon 2, being gameplay, which is the real reason you should buy this game. There are so many driving games out there now, it’s not that hard to make the driving feel good. That being said, Horizon 2 improves some of the key areas most other titles fail to succeed in, but falls back in one or two areas as well. One key part of driving is speed. Making cars seem fast without a ridiculous amount of motion blur is a bit hard, yet it does it perfectly. In addition, Forza nails the handling of fast cars without making you feel like you’re completely losing control. Sadly, I feel like the game is lacking in the crash department. Driving a Bugatti Veyron at 250 mph through the woods only to then hit a tree dead-on and have the car bounce straight off, broke the realism for me.
Even when you change the difficulty on the tire grip, it still doesn’t feel like much of an impact in my opinion. This game has so much content I’m almost certain I’ll never see through to 100% completion, which is a pro and a con. It has great value for money, but also any completionist will have a long grind to 1000G it. Having said that, on your way to completing it, the variety of modes in Horizon 2 is amazing. I never thought racing 52 hot air balloons or 3 jets would be so fun. Those experiences come form the new bucket list mode, which is also a great way to let players use some really awesome cars without having to use any CR.
If you have an urge to drive around and find hidden classic cars, then Forza’s got you covered with ‘Barn Rumours’. As you play through the game a section of the map will be rumoured to bear an abandoned car, with the specific area highlighted on your map. Obviously if you go and find it, then you claim it as your own. It’s a nice little addition to the game that helped give it a little more variety. With the 168 championships in the game it can get a bit monotonous just doing road trip after road trip, just to do four races around the six different locations. That being said, the online road trips are really fun. Driving across Europe to get to the next events is sometimes more fun than the actual events. Luckily they aren’t always racing and can contain modes such as Infected, which is basically a variation of tag. I could go on for hours about the gameplay in Forza, but I’m gonna spare you the time and just say it’s awesome.
I personally don’t really care how a game looks graphicly, but Horizon 2 really is a stunning game with a great atmosphere. That’s all I really have to say about the graphics apart from that destroyable objects look great. Now to the highlight of the game for me, being the soundtrack. The OST in Forza is perfect for any EDM fans with there being a whole radio station dedicated to Hospital Records. If you enjoy music at EDM festivals you may just want to buy this game to sit in free roam and jam to the radio.
FH2 isn’t a perfect game but it’s pretty damn close. I did run into a few bugs with one in particular cutting out character audio from certain cutscenes. Luckily I didn’t find any game ruining bugs. One thing that keeps a lot of great games from being perfect is running out of fun content. I really wish Horizon 2 had a track maker mode like Halo’s Forge mode or GTA V’s map editor. Imagine how fun doing loop the loops in some hyper cars online would be. We can but dream. Lastly I found the impact really feels lacklustre, and that is quite important to me for a driving game.
- + Loads of content
- + Awesome soundtrack
- + Amazing atmosphere
- - Lacking impact
- - Couple of small bugs