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Forza Horizon 2 Review

"Breathtaking"

Campaign

On the count of ten you will be in Horizon, I believe this starting cinematic really takes you into this bright world right off the bat. The Forza series is well known for its stunning cars and brilliant driving which has definitely taken it to the top of the racing genre. Awhile back we were given Horizon on the last generation taking us off the usual track and into the open world. That's the marvel of Horizon 2 is this beautiful open world that's filled with roads to drive, races to win and side things to conquer. The festival itself is all about fast cars and heart pounding music which it captures both quite well. Something that I particularly enjoyed was that instead of doing introductions you were literally thrown right into the wheel and set off to learn that way. From there you begin your journey and the first road trip kicks off with a number of races available to select from. Of course you can go venture off if you choose, though it's best to play some circuits. Each race will give you a different taste of the action from closed circuits to drifts and just way off into the country racing. On the occasion you will also be sent towards a special moment showcase event that has you racing against some crazy thing from jets to trains or balloons just to be extravagant. After finishing all this you will be set forth towards the next area and this continues until you're allowed to select your own choice of tour. This has something for everyone and covers every vehicle class as there are a total of one hundred and eighty-six variations to choose from. You may win Horizon after so many of these, but the playtime just goes on. After circuit completion you do head back around which only worried me somewhat of how repetitive roads may get, though it was fine with me always seeing new areas whenever I played a race.

Aside from almost a never ending amount of differing races you also have a great number of mini events to partake in such as racing drivatars that return from Forza Motorsport 5 so you'll already have smarter AI and racing rivals that are available after every race. There's also the bucket list which has you take insane cars out for a one time moment whether that be hitting speeds or gaining points. Each bucket list can also be done cooperatively if you so choose to do so as well. Evermore you can locate barn yard finds which have you fix ancient vehicles for some unique ones and the collection of smashing through boards for extra points. Your last random thing to go about doing is the speed traps which is the opposite of real life and a nice change of pace for me as you attempt to be faster than everyone else in the world when passing the traps. This all works in towards the levelling system which will unlock you colored badges to show progression, give you spins of the random wheel for money or cars and work towards skill points that improve the way you play.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer or well the free roam allows you and other players whether that be your close knit friends. Or perhaps any random that needs a party and has you race against one another across the country side. That could very well be just free roam selection in competitive matches that mix up the races with the one having the most experience being declared the victor. Whereas the other option is more fun game modes like King where you all want to be the king by hitting one another and Infection where you try to evade the infected drivers. It's a good amount of mix-up for the modes though those familiar with them may feel the field of play is a bit more tighter, even in the larger selection choices. To be honest the best aspect of this online aspect is grabbing some friends seamlessly and just driving about to explore the world with the occasional choice of playing against one another. It's just a ton of fun to drive about with a friend while crushing some poor guys grapevine.

Gameplay

Horizon 2 looks amazing with crisp graphics at 1080p and a frame rate of 30fps which may make some question the play. I can happily say that even at 30fps it still looks damn impressive and doesn't take anything away from the driving aspect of gameplay. Everything looks beautiful and just responds perfectly throughout the entirety of the quite large seamless world. Whether that be racing on pristine roads or taking it off the tracks into the dirt. Items in the world go flying about and these cars have great particles being attracted to them applying a bit of mess to the sides. The rain is actually my favorite thing about the graphics as it just looks fantastic with drops moving along the vehicle or getting pushed away by the wipers as I mostly play first person. Remember that the play is slightly more geared towards an arcade style compared to how serious Motorsport is so get ready to fly through grass while it's raining and see lots of destruction. I was even impressed by the better people designs as the stick cut outs of Motorsport are actually polygons now with some emotions though they still need work done. That brings me to one issue is that at times with the world looking great and towns being well done is that it just doesn't feel alive enough for me. It's neat seeing balloons in the background and fireworks with me being amazed how they did it, but the world needs to be more lively. Will finally mention that you have an AI assistant by the name of Anna that uses the Kinect voice features to help guide your tour which I found quite helpful. The AI was also much better integrated and worked better than the voice options in other titles which was great.

The Cars

Oh, why hasn't he talked about the cars yet? Well I thought it was best to have a chunk dedicated to these glorious vehicles. There are a ton of cars available for you to play from a number of large manufacturers with some special edition ones. Feel the power of driving premium sports cars or even some more regular vehicles. There will also be tons of post DLC available if you need even more. Everything else is back from previous entries in terms of editing, tuning and applying custom paints. All cars already have a custom paint job so you can get an idea of what others will look like. If you love your car even more you can easily switch to a photo mode to capture its beauty and get right back into the gameplay after. Forza is all about the cars you ride and this time around you can really see these things get beat up by the world all around.

The Conclusion

Breathtaking is the best word to describe or I suppose stunning if you want as well. The world is just crazy in scale and so easy to connect with others. There are so many racing circuits, areas and things to explore or complete. Credits may come a bit easier than some are used to, but this helps everyone get the car of their dreams. You can customize every aspect of your play and show it off to friends. It's the ultimate collection of music mixed into a racing game. Race off on the roads or take it off in the sunset as people cheer and music blasts in the background. It's all about choice and be ready to take off in special moments to share with your friends. This is a beautiful game and looks the best out of all the exclusives I've seen thus far. Forza Horizon 2 is for all those that love to drive.


Forza Horizon 2 Box Art

Review Done on Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One
Review Code Provided by Microsoft


Rating Overall: 9.2

Reviewed by: Jason Stettner
@Skycaptin5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner
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