As far as the racing game landscape stretches, there are thousands of titles spanning multiple consoles, each trying to convince its players that the game is the best of them all. Across the years there have been hardcore racing legacies such as Gran Turismo or the Need for Speed. Xbox Exclusive Forza has been building up momentum lately and with the release of the newest title, Horizon 2, tries to make a definite step up the ladder of the racing genre.
A sequel only in name to Forza Horizon, Horizon 2 shifts its playground from the streets of USA to the beautiful landscape of Europe, particularly France and Italy. Both countries make an incredible setting for a racing game, which is shown by the gorgeous tracks and scenery observed while playing. It is also incredibly tempting to side-track during a race just to stop and marvel at the countryside. Having the Italian stunt planes “Freccie Tricolore” rushing above your head while racing is a feeling which must be felt to be fully appreciated. The game does give a chance for players to stare in awe at the environment while racing too, due to a number of offroad and cross country races and cross region road trips. But focusing on the core gameplay and races that the game has to offer will no doubt have players marvelling all the same. The driving feels as natural as always and as responsive as ever. The cars all feel different, and there being over 200 different cars is just an indicator of how much work was put into this title. Cars range from bulky land rovers to luxurious sports cars, like Lamborghini or Ferrari, all rendered with the same accuracy and attention.
Forza Horizon 2 includes plenty of game modes starting with the main campaign which is pretty long on its own. The campaign consists of a series of championships, featuring different types of cars, be it muscle cars, speed racers and more, and will thus require versatility from the player and not just two good fingers on the accelerator or the brake. Apart from this there are also more games modes such as the acclaimed Online Free Roam, which is incredibly fun if you are in a party of friends. In this mode one can sit back and relax while driving, preferably by night where both cars and environment look at their best, and having a chat about the important things in life and whatnot. If you are not a slow type, there is also the ability to go for online races and decimate opposition with your brand new skills. Horizon 2 also offers a series of challenges divided into sections, such as Barns and Speed Cameras. In the former, one has to search for barns which hide a car inside and thus obtaining said car upon finding the barn. As the name implies for the latter, trigger the Speed Camera going over the according speed limit to have a snapshot taken of you. Campaign, challenges and free roam all grant players skill points, which one may then spend upon perks to simplify or make more enjoyable one’s experience in the game. Such perks may do a variety of things like a permanent discount when purchasing cars, earning better prizes in Horizon Wheelspin or also being more influential when voting in online roam. Upon levelling up, a minigame called Horizon Wheel Spin invites the player to stop the wheel and hope for a decent prize, which may also be a brand new car delivered to your garage. This is a neat way to counter micro transactions since the game ships without these pesky little money grabbers, but no guarantee is given for a future without.
Having a huge range of cars to select from was not enough choice for the player, at least that’s what the guys at Playground Games thought. This is why the vast selection of customization options was implemented in the game. Stickers are endless and you can decorate your car as wildly as your mind lets you. It takes us back to the sweet era where the focus in racing games was on customization, and not shiny graphics, resolution or frames per second. Personalizing your car really shows your character through your ride, and it’s a good thing that Horizon 2 implements the ability to do just that.
Visually, Forza Horizon 2 is incredible. From the most ancient town square to the multiple vineyards sprawling the European landscape, Forza recreates everything in such detail that it feels you have a brand new town in your living room. The cars look stunning and at night they glimmer and shine with light reflecting from competitors’ headlights. It rarely gets better than this. Music is also one of Forza’s strong points due to a rich soundtrack featuring plenty of tracks from different genres to entertain many tastes all the same.
Forza Horizon 2 makes its name heard among all racing games out there, and surely places between the best, if not the best, among open world racers. The locations chosen are perfect, cars are developed beautifully and the sound of both cars and music complements the game to an incredible extent. For racing genre lovers this is a no-brainer, just like all the Forza titles who have come synonymous with racing quality by now.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.