Forza Horizon 2 Review
Let’s not be pretentious about it; Forza Horizon 2 is a bloody good racing game.
Too easy is it to wax lyrical about the intricacies of racing games, but there’s no emotion here: it’s gorgeous, it’s finely honed, it’s fun.
On the graphical front Forza Horizon 2 more than states the case for the power under the hood (HA! Racing pun!) of the Xbox One; and let’s face it, at this point Microsoft needs all the help it can get.
The glorious vistas of Europe in Forza Horizon 2 create a genuine atmosphere not seen in a racing game since Dirt 2. But where the latter choose to focus on its brash party attitude more than most would care, Forza Horizon 2 instead chooses to opt for that feeling of a long cross-country drive on a gloriously sunny day.
Which is just as well, since cross-country driving will play a large part of the game. You’ll bounce from point to point, picking up race events and culminating in one of a handful of Showdown events – racing against planes, mostly.
The addition of off-road racing has two effects: it means you’re not quite as careful about how you take corners, and high-speed careening through fields and barrelling down hillsides.
Being free to cut corners or clip the edges makes for a much more forgiving racer than its po-faced cousin Forza Motorsport, but it helps add to that festival attitude. The fluidity and pace to it makes for a slick racer.
The strictly off-road events, however, aren’t quite as entertaining. Well, at least, the speed of them is thrilling, but you soon realise there isn’t much in the way of challenge to them.
Part of that is courtesy the AI’s inability to understand the open spaces, the other is the ease with which you can speed through a field – regardless of car type – so you never really struggle staying out in front.
The open world nature of it hasn’t really been improved since the last iteration, either. Though it’s supposed to be little more serious than Burnout Paradise, Forza Horizon 2 could still learn a lot from Criterion’s open world racer.
There are a handful of extra things to do, but not all that much variety in them – which makes the open world nature of the game a little redundant.
With that said, that core physics system makes Forza Horizon 2 one of the best racers currently available, while its ‘attitude’ – however grating it might be – makes for a much more personable game than the tiring sincerity of its Xbox One equivalent, Forza 5.
Version tested: Xbox One