With the Demo being made available to download just last week and the 3rd of October release date looming, Frugal Gaming’s MrBaddog and PridedLlama both share their thoughts about one of the biggest Xbox exclusive titles set to launch this year.
The original Forza Horizon was one of the finest examples of open world racing to date. A fictional Motorsports festival played host to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful racing ever realised. From its open rural landscapes to the constricted canyons, rarely had a Motorsport game been so visceral. Tearing through a busy highway, circumventing traffic to the tune of ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ by The Hives, is there any better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Fast forward to today and the long awaited sequel power slides onto the Xbox One. Moving away from the original Colorado setting, the Horizon festival has thundered into Southern Europe. Tight city streets, sprawling vineyards and perilous Cliffside roads await those in search of infamy. Arriving on a ferry at the wheel of a throbbing Lamborghini Huracan, stamping on the throttle, tyres screech as they are very nearly ripped from the rims, you disappear in a cloud of smoke and goosebumps, the sense of raw power is almost tangible.
The beauty of the surroundings is astonishing and the attention to detail is staggering, the world created here feels alive. Flora and fauna sway in the wind, towns are heavily populated with decor, not that you may notice when you are hurtling at 200 mph bumper to bumper with other competitors. Couple this with the lavish care which has been spent recreating each of the cars and you have one of the best looking racing games ever created.
Road surfaces genuinely feel different to drive upon. Whether you’re sliding through fields and dirt roads or burning along the tarmac, the cars handle convincingly. It is an awesome feeling when you hit the bend just right and you slip around the corner at breakneck speeds. Take care when the rain comes, the car will squirm and slide as you fight the elements for control. It is all perfectly balanced and incredibly satisfying.
As this is only a demo, there are a limited amount of races for you to enjoy. There is a stunning cross country point to point race which will have you tearing through the countryside and then there is a tight and twisting circuit race. Also available to try is the new ‘bucket list’. Find the Koenigsegg and you will be challenged to ‘drive like you stole it’, which essentially means drive as fast as you can past a predetermined speed camera. Events make a welcome return, the one on offer here will have you racing an aerial display team. These are great fun and add to the overall festival feel. There is very little to do with regards to the online side of things. A free roam mode is available so you can have a little taste, but much more has been promised come full release.
If you enjoyed the first title or you’re a fan of open world racing, Forza Horzion 2 looks as though it will keep you entertained for quite some time. With its improved graphics, wonderful handling, dynamic weather, varied races, extra challenges and an enhanced multiplayer there is a lot on offer. A truly epic racing game may just be on the horizon.
I hate this time of year, grey skies that are forever gloomy and not a glimpse of the sun for weeks. We have got a long wait ahead of us for Summer to return, but Playground Games might just be offering us a winter sun deal far too good to pass up.
Forza Horizon was both a commercial and critical success. Whilst Turn10 Studios doggedly stick to their tried and tested, if somewhat increasingly stale formula of exclusive track based racing, the original Horizon flipped the whole thing on it’s head and added a much needed injection of personality and fun. Horizon 2 looks set to expand on every aspect that featured in the first open world title, and befitting of a game developed primarily in sunny old England adds dynamic weather with very British rain.
The whole game is much more European affair this time round, and it’s all the better for it. Gone are the rocky and dusty roads of Colorado, replaced by sparkling Mediterranean tides and lush Tuscan panoramas. Quite simply it’s a perfect fit not only in the pretty department but also in the driving.
No longer confined to just the roads, the environment and setting is more important than ever. While established franchises continue to lean heavily on Americana, what Horizon 2 and it’s locals brings to the table is altogether more refreshing. Twisting coastal roads, open highways and quaint villages abound, but its off the beaten track where things get even more interesting and fresh.
Opening up the fields and dirt tracks has upped the drivable area in the new instalment by 3 times the size when compared to the original. While a point to point race might start on pristine tarmac it won’t be long until you’re bumping and swerving farms and fields at breakneck speeds. It takes the whole franchise a step further away from it’s Motorsport roots and offers a real challenge if like me you are used to dropping all the assists. It’s exhilarating in a way that Forza Motorsport 5 just never got close to matching.
700 events, nearly 150 music tracks, 7 radio stations and over 200 licensed cars. Add to that truly breathtaking environments and vistas gorgeously rendered in full 1080p not to mention Sean Maguire! Yes Sean Maguire in 1080p too! October the 3rd can’t come soon enough. I still have a couple of little reservations, all the dev speak about 3 times the drivable area is rather ambiguous, and for all the near 150 songs they still don’t have a GEM106 equivalent but, the hours and hours of gameplay being offered in much sunnier climes will be the perfect Autumn antidote. I’ve dug out the factor 50, ordered a new pair of sunglasses and I might even top up my tan whilst I wait for Forza Horizon 2 to release. Actually sod that, I’m off for another spin on with the demo!
Forza Horizon 2 is developed by Playground Games and set for release on the 3rd of October on xbox one, an xbox 360 version by Sumo Digital is also set for release on the same day. Both impressions were taken from hands on time with the xbox one demo.