Forza Horizon 2 Is More Of The Same And That’s Perfect
There are many games in the world that suffer from sequelitis — the concept of effectively putting out new and unnecessary iterations of a series just for the sake of pushing sales and profits rather than actually creating anything genuinely worth its weight in gameplay value. (Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, I’m looking at you two.) Then there are exceptions to this rule where every subsequent release in the series is welcomed warmly and though it doesn’t do a whole lot entirely new, it’s still fresh and exciting enough that we clamour for it; those of us who enjoy it anyway.
Forza Horizon 2, dear readers, fits firmly into the second of these categories. It’s not going to be an entirely new and unique experience, but nobody actually cares because we all just want to play it already.
Name: Forza Horizon 2
Genre: Petrolhead Fantasy
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One
Developers: Sumo Digital, Playground Games, Turn10 Studios
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: 30 September 2014
Price: Xbox One – $60 (R699)
Before we get to Forza Horizon 2, let’s first talk about the Horizon series of Forza titles. As you might know by now, the Forza Motorsport series released to the world a good few years ago, presenting the first real challenger to Gran Turismo’s racing crown as a serious simulator with a massive selection of cars available to players. But on Xbox 360 because Gran Turismo is obviously a Sony exclusive title. It subsequently took the world by storm and with each release, from Forza Motorsport 2 to 3 to 4, the Forza brand has grown and become something unanimously associated with quality.
But the Forza team were not content to simply put out serious simulators all the time — or perhaps it was Microsoft-commissioned — and so while series creators Turn 10 Studios worked on their next big entry into the Motorsport simulation racers, work got underway on a spinoff series more arcade in nature, called Horizon. Forza Horizon was a fun and quite entertaining arcade racer developed by Playground Games that did not try to do anything too flashy or memorable but was more just about the feel of racing high-powered cars down country roads with caution thrown to the wind and not much care for traction, grip or the perfect line (unless you wanted all of that).
It worked exquisitely and I would say that it was the best racer of that year, beating out a Need for Speed series that of late has been flailing terribly to find some success. Playground Games made it look easy.
Forza Horizon 2 will work almost exactly like Forza Horizon in that racing will take place primarily in a massive open world countryside — although this time they’ve thankfully moved away from North America and into Southern European vistas — with a massive selection of cars available; currently that count is at around two hundred unique vehicles. Hopefully they won’t be pulling the same stunts that Turn 10 Studios pulled with Forza Motorsport 5, where microtransactions ruined everything. Microsoft…
Because Forza Horizon 2 is going to be developed for the Xbox One and Xbox 360, there are also some differences in the core experience with regards to the engines and developers. The Xbox One version will be developed by Playground Games using the Forza Motorsport 5 engine, with all its new additions including a fully functional weather system and that incredible haptic trigger feedback. The Xbox 360 version meanwhile will be developed by Sumo Digital using the Forza Horizon engine from two years ago, with a few new additions but not much else to really write home about. Development on both versions will still be overseen by Turn 10 Studios.
Ideally though, you’re going to want to get your hands on the Xbox One version for maximum benefit.
Forza Horizon 2 will follow the same sequence of events as the first game in that there is a massive cross-country event called the Horizon Festival in which racers are invited to come and partake. In Forza Horizon 2 this open world, which is apparently three times larger than the first game, encompasses southern France and northern Italy. Progressing through the game’s events will unlock more areas for the player to race in. All of it will feature a fully dynamic weather system, which just sounds incredible when you think about how it will look on Xbox One.
Racing modes will be kept more or less intact with a few new additions to both singleplayer and online multiplayer, but the 1000 Club has finally found its place into the game proper. It’s called the Bucket List this time around and incorporates various challenges per vehicle, for you to perform throughout your time with the game. As for the cars themselves, over two hundred cars have been promised on release, and we expect there’ll be more via post-release DLC packs. The three featured cars for the game are the Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4, the McLaren P1, and the LaFerrari — shamelessly copy-pasted from Wikipedia.
In many ways, Forza Horizon games are the polar opposite of Forza Motorsport games. Where both share the love for cars, the simulation settings and the gorgeous tracks, one is a lot more serious and lends itself more to those petrolheads who want to feel every tug and pull of a car as they whip it around a closed racetrack, while the other lends itself more to having a good time. In Forza Horizon 2 you will get the great cars, the simulation settings if you so desire to enable them and the gorgeous racing world. But you will also get a selection of radio stations playing different genres of music, you will get a much more forgiving arcased-based system of handling, and you will also get other kinds of vehicles to drive including Jeeps and minivans, because why the hell not? The key here is having a good time and Playground Games have proven that they’re capable of delivering such.
Suspected Selling Points
- The visuals will absolutely blow your mind; this is in no doubt.
- It is almost definitely going to be a no-frills, no-fuss, pure-fun racing experience.
- Playground Games have proven themselves capable of delivering a solid racer, and with Forza backing this means they can put out all the licensed cars they’d like, which means we get quality in the final release.
- They could start with their microtransactions bullshit again.
- It is entirely possible that if you can’t afford an Xbox One, you’re going to get a drastically inferior version to play.
- And if you’re looking for something fresh and new, such as a persistently online world, then you might be left a little disappointed.
It’s important to note that with Forza Horizon 2, Playground Games understands their audience and knows what type of game to deliver. Although we haven’t had a lot of details on the game since its announcement just before E3 this year, we’ve seen a few trailers and have been drip-fed some beauty shots of cars, so we’ve definitely seen enough to know two things: This game will have a lot of cars, and it will look freaking gorgeous. So if you’re a superficial petrolhead who just wants to get onto a track and rip it up, then you really cannot go wrong here. And if you’re more serious-minded then perhaps you too can benefit from the simulation settings.
If on the other hand you’re looking for something more like The Crew where you have a persistently online racer in which you can play with friends, I mean, Forza Horizon 2 does have an online component of a sort but nothing on that level so perhaps just wait for The Crew instead. This game is for the purists, who don’t mind having some fun along the way.