When Turn 10 Studios decided to team up with newly formed UK based developer Playground Games way back in 2009, they had a strong desire to create a compelling spinoff title from their highly acclaimed Forza Motorsport racing game series. This blossoming partnership led to the creation of Forza Horizon, an open-road racing game complete with all the nuances and features that make traditional Forza games fun, competitive and engaging.
After the first game sold extremely well on the Xbox 360, both teams shifted their focus towards bringing that same winning formula to the Xbox One. The end result is a phenomenal title that is not only the best Forza racing game ever created, but also arguably the best exclusive game out on the Xbox One right now. Here are a few more reasons why Forza Horizon 2 is worth both your time and money.
The premise of this sequel revolves around players participating in the Horizon Festival and exploring the beautiful open roads of Southern Europe by way of France and northern Italy. Shortly after arriving at the fictional racing event, you are given the opportunity to choose from 3 different cars including a BMW Z4 SDrive35IS, Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe, and Toyota Supra RZ. Each vehicle has a total of 3 or 4 specific racing events that it can be used for. Successfully completing all of the required races in top place for any of the chosen vehicles earns you a championship and unlocks the next region for you to explore. There are over 200 cars in the game and a staggering total of 168 championships to win across 6 different regions.
No two races are ever typically the same as both the location and atmosphere play a huge role in the overall gameplay experience. By implementing dynamic weather effects for the very first time in this series, the developers have succeeded in creating a truly realistic driving experience that remains extremely immersive throughout. When you add in the fact that the game is presented in full 1080p and runs at 30 fps, you’ll instantly see why it incredibly easy to be drawn into a fast-paced world like this one.
Completing each race earns you both Cash rewards (CR) and Experience points (XP). CR is determined based on your finishing position, difficulty level, and assists. XP is gained through the skillful maneuvers you execute during the race. While CR can be used to upgrade and buy new cars, XP can earn you random wheelspins where you have a chance to either win money or new cars. Skill points also aid you in earning perks, which can then be used to increase your performance numbers and abilities as you progress through the game.
In addition to the races listed above, the developers also went the extra mile of adding a few surprise events and challenges along the way. Two of the most notably exciting race types are the Showdowns and the Bucket List. In a showdown, the main objective is for the player to successfully outrace different vehicles such as stunt jets and locomotives. The player is rewarded with the preselected car they used in that particular showdown if he or she is able to complete it. The Bucket List is known simply as a set list of challenges that are spread throughout the entire map and involve you completing tasks in different cars within a certain time limit. There are also Barn Finds hidden throughout the map and are the perfect places to find specially built cars and trucks. Collectively, all of these event types are extremely fun to partake in and are highly recommended for those who are looking to get more out of the game.
Outside of the career mode, players have the ability to free roam and participate in online road trips with friends. The drivatar system also makes a return from Forza Motorsport 5 and you have the ability to challenge your rivals at any given time. One of the great things about Forza Horizon 2 is that the world always remains fully connected no matter which mode you’re playing in. This concept is even further emphasized by several Car Meets that you are able to attend while driving through each area. This is an awesome concept because it allows you to compare cars, download another player’s livery design and/or buy a replica of their car. Features like these are important because they provide a high replay value for the title and will definitely keeping the community fully engaged from day one.
With so many positives about this game, there is at least one negative that I can’t help but mention. Being that this is an open road racing title, you can’t help but feel like the same rules should apply to the races you participate in. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case as checkpoint markers are often placed on certain paths that you have to stay on. While I can understand the logic behind this, I’m a little puzzled as to why you can’t use alternate routes if you venture off course. Perhaps this was done specifically to prevent those from cheating and keep everyone on an even playing field. Either way, this definitely wasn’t a deal breaker for me as I thoroughly enjoyed the competitive nature of the game.
Forza Horizon 2 is a standout entry in the series and without a doubt a clear-cut favorite for best racing game of the year. If you’re not familiar with the series and you want a lengthy racing game to sink your teeth into, then this title was made just for you.
This review was based on a digital review copy of Forza Horizon 2 for the Xbox One provided by Microsoft.