A review by Andrew Cunningham for Brad’s Blog.
The first Forza Horizon on Xbox 360 was a fantastic game. I never would have thought they could create a better Horizon, but they have. With Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One, Turn 10 Studios and Microsoft Studios have managed to keep the simplicity of the first title, however succeeded in adding the depth of graphics and superior game experience that we as consumers have come to expect from next generation consoles.
While Forza Horizon 2 is a driving game, it’s not necessarily just for driving game enthusiasts. It’s a fun arcade adventure that can be played by anybody, no matter your level of Ayrton Senna within. When reviewing this game my standard equipment was both the standard Xbox One Gamepad and also a Fanatec CSR racing wheel with Clubsport pedals. Being an arcade game and not a driving simulator, I don’t feel the racing wheel enhanced the overall experience. There are not too many ‘car games’ I can say that about.
In Horizon 2 when you race you earn credits and experience which can then be used to purchase cars and upgrades from local factories all over America. You quickly find yourself immersed in a racing world pitted against different drivers and courses on city streets, country roads and dirt. It’s also a lot of fun driving to the races on public roads which offer you a few minutes to get the feel of the machine you just jumped in to before going head to head in a race. In most car games you might find yourself having to start with a Mini or a Renault hatch, not so in Horizon 2. I found myself sitting in a grunty US muscle car in under an hour, which I have to say was surprising but a lot of fun!
Something new in Forza Horizon 2, is that the other drivers you race against are not created by an engineer at Microsoft Studio months before release. These drivers you compete against are actually real players from all over the world where Horizon servers have artificially replicated their individual driving styles and characteristics and then created a kind of AI version of that player. This makes the game a lot more interesting as you don’t feel like you’re racing against made up characters like Buffalo Boss Bob or Dark Lord Dan but real players like AussieDavid99 and AE86fan1; people just like you and I.
Ultimately, the true joy in playing Forza Horizon 2 is that it doesn’t feel like there’s any friction to get started. You just pick up the controller and play. The latest Horizon title rather shares similarities with Grand Theft Auto in that there’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored and enjoyed.
This game is every bit as good as the first one, and then some. It’s fun, infectious and well worth the purchase price even if you’re not a fan of driving games.
by Andrew Cunningham
Contributor for Brad’s Blog.