Published on October 23rd, 2014 | by Remy Cuesta0
Forza Horizon 2 review: Field of its own
Never have I seen a new franchise that spawned from an already successful racer have the dedication and care that Forza Horizon 2 has. The level of detail throughout the entire game is something to take note of and admire. From the dynamic weather effects, seamless interaction between its offline/online and steady frame rate traversing through its open world is a real sight to see.
Right out of the gate Forza Horizon 2 takes everything it did from the last game, elements from Forza 5 and mashed it into one. Giving you a much bigger, smoother and jammed packed game. The game takes place in Europe northern Italy, and some areas you traverse around are France and Nice. While it’s not the exact size it is however quite large and much larger then the piece of Colorado from the previous game. Horizon Festival is the main event which is going on there and has pretty much taken over the area to give you races , new events like the bucket list which is taking certain vehicles and completing goals among other things.
While their is a lot of open road, grass fields and hill type areas along side the city/towns their is just so much more to do here. The detail in Vespa’s/Scooters, street lamps, groves, barns are only a fraction. A big request from the previous game was dynamic weather and when it rains it pours. Water on the pavement, droplets on the car and headlights turned up to see as much of the road as possible. Our small and only complaint here is that rain in some areas like your windshield seem to be static as going from 0-100 has no affect on its physics. Night time driving here isn’t new but it looks so much better this time around. Reflective lights from posts and tunnels have a real shine to them as well.
The 200+ cars in this game are all unique from its sounds to its movements. The engine roaring and the inside car view for every car in game, not as surprising for the series but should be noted as a whole. Engine upgrades and tuning ones vehicle is readily available for those that want their car to be to their liking. Forza has always been known to have quality in its cars from top to bottom and this doesn’t disappoint.
The online connectivity of the game is where it really shines since it takes one of Forza 5’s most well known feature, Drivatar which is AI racers/cars based on friends from your list to drive against. The system worked quite well in Forza 5, making recreations of how players acted and putting that data into the the AI racers. In this game all computer controlled racers in the street are now taken over by these Drivatars which is much better then regular AI opponents. While it works similar and were even impressed by the fact the level of the actual player is along side their names when the drivatars are driving around we can’t help but be distracted by the constant change in cars they have or population in friends that don’t have the game at all. This is probably done as fillers to give you a broader list of people to see while driving but would like to contain the list to only people that have played the game.
The multiplayer is quite possibly the most seamless transition in any racing game without it constantly being online of course. Going from solo to a multiplayer session or free roam happens in a matter of seconds. Their are many options of play to explore. Besides the competitive modes themselves you now have the ability to have car meets, take road trips to each event race and much more. This is all on top of the actual co-op races that are added like bucket list . One of our favorite things is the ability to have a smaller session like bucket list challenges when others are having an event race in the online free-roam. While you can’t make separate event races this is a pretty big step in doing other things split across multiple people while in an online area.
Every element of the new franchise is improved upon which is quite impressive considering its size and amount going on at once. Menu’s are slick, gameplay is refined and graphically gorgeous at every turn. The original Forza Horizon was one of our favorite racing games of last gen and this one steps it up a notch. Playground Games has a real hit on their hands has been only making things better. Where the next one could go? Has us all the more excited for this thriving franchise.
Summary: Forza Horizon 2 doesn't miss a beat. Everything has been turned up to 11 and while the Drivatars could be slightly better executed the good drives past any bad by miles.