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OS Scores Explained Forza Horizon 2 Overview (Xbox One)
Pros
Exciting racing, beautiful visuals, and a deeper experience.
Cons
The Storyline and tutorials are a bit tedious, earning XP points can be a bit of a grind, micro-transactions are back.
Bottom Line
A better experience, in almost every facet of the game, than the original. A must buy for fans of racing titles.
9
out of 10
Forza Horizon 2 REVIEW

Forza Horizon 2 Review (Xbox One)

 
Very few developers have the reputation that Turn 10 has of Microsoft Studios, and they have it for a good reason. Having churned out quality Forza racing titles since 2005, the studio has always found a way to make each new release feel fresh and redesigned, without sacrificing the core formula that has made the Forza Franchise so beloved over the last decade-plus.

In 2012 the studio branched off from the standard Forza racing genre and released Forza Horizon on the Xbox 360. It was a different take on the Forza series, that saw the user dropped into a open world racing festival type atmosphere, and gave them the ability to play the game as they saw fit.

Here we are two years later, and now Turn 10 and Playground games is at it again, only this time they have power of the Xbox One to accompany them along their journey. Now the question is, is the journey worth it?
 
 
Gameplay

Being just 2 years removed from its initial release, the developers had big shoes to fill, and boy have they filled them. Topping almost every aspect of its predecessor, Horizon 2 does so much right in the game-play department. From the difficult melding of arcade and simulation driving styles, to simplistic vehicle upgrades, the game is accessible to most, if not all types of fans. Whether you’re navigating through the tightly twisted turns of France, or ripping through the grape fields of Italy, the game offers fun at almost every turn. One can follow the storyline of the Horizon Festival in a linear fashion, or simply wreak independent havoc on the cities and countryside’s of the many different locals.

Initially you will find yourself sitting behind the wheel of basic vehicles, but as you progress you will have the ability to purchase or earn new rides by completing in-game goals. What’s nice about Horizon 2 is that even if you choose not to follow the predetermined path of Horizon champion, you are still given the ability to earn, purchase, and upgrade your cars. The game allows users to participate in side activities such and rival races, free roam, or online road trip. All of these events and activities will reward you in some form, and of course, there are hidden ways to earn a multitude of cash and cars without even entering a single event.

Forza Horizon 2 is an arcade racer at heart, but mixes in strong doses of simulation aspects to appeal to the hardcore crowd. It requires one to feather around the corners properly, use precision skills to pass someone cleanly, and if you turn assists off, you better understand how each car individually handles, and the layout of the course you are racing. Speaking of assists, the game offers up a wide variety of ways to race in both difficulty and style, and it is almost impossible for someone not to find settings that will suit them. You can literally turn off or on, and any combination in between, of assists, and those can be changed over the course of your time with the game at anytime.

One final word on the game-play, and that simply is this. I have never raced a game that offers so much fun and excitement, whether you are driving a high performance sports car, or an off-road vehicle such as a Jeep Rubicon. Each particular vehicle you purchase or win has its own distinct style, and offers their own brand of fun.
 
 
Career

The offering from Turn 10/Playground Games delivers its own version of career mode. Instead of racing a predetermined schedule or path, Forza allows players to jump around and enjoy all different types of disciplines at any given time. You can jump straight from off-road to street racing, to extreme off road, and back to road courses, and it all counts towards your final goal of becoming Horizon Festival champion. There are different championships, and within each championship one will find a set number of races. Each race will allocate a number of points towards the championship depending on how you finish, and as the winner is the racer who has accumulated the highest number of points at the end of each championship, aggregate style.

I am personally a huge fan of this style of “career mode,” as it doesn’t dictate what I do, or how I do it. The game lays the groundwork, and lets the user build it brick by brick, and at their own pace and style. One of the few knocks on this gem is that navigating your way through the map is a little messy at times, and sometimes you may feel lost. Once you truly understand it all, and grasp what the game is allowing you to do, than the world map becomes easy to read and understand.

You will notice that even in career mode, one can set and change the difficulty at any time, and of course the higher the difficulty, the higher the reward. In all my time with the game, the racing was fun, challenging, and fair. The Forza “Drivatars” return, and I felt like they raced aggressive, but clean. One has to earn the right to pass, but there are plenty of opportunities to do just that over the course of the race. Horizon Festival career mode will keep you busy for a very long time, and every twist and turn along the way is just as fun and beautiful as the previous one.
 
 
Multiplayer

Just like to rest of Forza Horizon 2, the ability to race online is seamless and easy to do. Literally with one touch of the controller, you will find yourself ready to face other users, and during our testing it was flawless and fun. What’s even better is the fact that there are no lobbies, no waiting, just racing.

There are multiple online modes, including a co-op bucket list, in which you and a friend search for hidden exotic cars around the map, and each car has a certain goal that needs to be achieved in it while driving. It could be as simple as surpassing a certain MPH while in speed-trap mode, or hitting a certain number of big-air jumps during a designated time frame. No matter what, the bucket list is a lot of fun, and will keep you(and your friend) busy for hours.

Another option available online is once again the ability to create a car club. Once the club is created, members can join, and the group can race other groups for skill points and online supremacy. The club can have up to 1,000 members, and allows the user to decide what type drivers he wants in the “club.” Overall the online portion is pretty straightforward, but offers a solid and unique racing experience.
 
 
Final Thoughts

If you were one of the fans who felt Forza 5 was a bit dull and lifeless, than it would be a disservice to yourself not to pick up Forza Horizon 2. Excitement is there to be had and almost every turn, and the game is so fun and deep, it makes it hard to put the controller down. Whether it’s furthering your festival progress, racing your rivals or simply driving to your next location, the game is beautiful to see in motion, and just as fun to race. The developers have eclipsed the original release in almost every way possible, and this is a title that is not to be missed. The racing is exciting, the visuals are often jaw dropping, and the depth of the title will have you wanting more the minute you turn the system off.

If you’re a fan of the first Horizon title, or just Forza in general, than Forza Horizon 2 is a must own exclusive.

Learning Curve – If you’re new to the series, the driving nuances will take a bit to understand and get under control. If you’re familiar with the Forza series, than you will feel right at home.

Visuals – In motion, the game is almost photo realistic, and standing still, it’s just about as nice. The locations are stunning, the car models are authentic looking, and the day-to-night transitions are outstanding. Let us not forget the weather effects either, because they are handled just as superbly.

Audio – The cars sound authentic, and the festival crowd is energetic and on point – at far as we could tell from sitting in a car at least. The soundtrack coincides nicely with the overall festival atmosphere, and storyline voice-acting comes across organic.

ValueForza Horizon 2 is deep and unique, and well worth the full retail price. There are very few titles, let alone racing titles, that pack this much value into one game, but Forza Horizon 2 does so almost perfectly.

Score – 9.0 (All-Time Classic)

Forza Horizon 2 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 Maddenaddictive50 @ 10/02/14 11:31 AM
A faboulous game so far. But it is missing neon lights and nos lol.
 
# 2 Nomah5 @ 10/02/14 01:34 PM
Ive watched twitch streams and read endless amazing reviews. Yet to see a bad one. I am planning on grabbing it but am concerned the online portion will get old and stale. Does this game have a ton of longevity?
 
# 3 oldman @ 10/02/14 01:35 PM
Am I wrong in thinking that this game is closer to Burnout than Forza 5? If I am feel free to set me straight. I really wanted this game and then I played the demo and it has sent me in the other direction. (That and Shadow of Mordor!)
 
# 4 speedtrucker @ 10/02/14 04:22 PM
ugh... FIFA, this, Mordor... going broke.
 
# 5 Osbourne @ 10/02/14 04:58 PM
Arcade racing... It is not a must buy for anyone who prefers simulation.
 
# 6 bluengold34_OS @ 10/02/14 05:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomah5
Ive watched twitch streams and read endless amazing reviews. Yet to see a bad one. I am planning on grabbing it but am concerned the online portion will get old and stale. Does this game have a ton of longevity?

I can only speak for me, but I find myself playing for hours at a time, and I have been playing my review copy for over a week. I prefer sim racers, but there is no denying this game has some true depth, and offers a ton of fun. If one picks up FH2 with the thoughts/hopes that it's a pure sim style racer, you don't understand what this series is about, and what the developers were/are trying to achieve.
 
# 7 TNBassMan10 @ 10/03/14 11:57 AM
The online mode is stupid. I'll take lobbies and waiting to race an actual C Class (or whatever class you like race) instead of being forced to do the Road Trips which have mini-games involved. Don't talk to me about Online Free Roam cause the chance of getting more than 4-5 racers in a single race is less than 10%. The single player is amazing. The online modes are stupid.

I love Forza. I said Forza Horizon (X360) was the best racing game ever made. Then they went and changed it. Now, Horizon 2 is the best single player racing game ever but the online is junk. Too much just random driving around and not racing.
 
# 8 chris68pj @ 10/03/14 12:11 PM
I too was reminded of Burnout (Paradise more than the others) due to the addictive nature of finding all the roads and signs to crash through. They could have made that the only objective in the game and I wouldn't have complained. I knew I was going to be hooked on this game after how great the first one was and I'm not the least bit disappointed. While I've enjoyed the regular Forza games, I'll always choose Horizon over those hands down just because it appeals more to what I enjoy.
 
# 9 ven0m43 @ 10/03/14 09:00 PM
Anyone know if there is a difference b/w the xb1 and x360?
 
# 10 Maddenaddictive50 @ 10/04/14 12:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ven0m43
Anyone know if there is a difference b/w the xb1 and x360?
Probably just the amazing graphics the x1 has.
 
# 11 Chairman7 @ 10/04/14 08:46 PM
It makes a really good first impression. Just loving it.
---------------
GT Chairman7
 
# 12 Nomah5 @ 10/04/14 09:10 PM
Chairman 7 I'll add you. Sudbury1978
 
# 13 snc237 @ 10/06/14 12:59 PM
Not a huge racing fan. Bought Forza 5 and it was good but seemed a little dull. Played the demo of horizon and wow is it fun. Probably will be picking this up
 
# 14 Raider131 @ 10/08/14 09:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomah5
Ive watched twitch streams and read endless amazing reviews. Yet to see a bad one. I am planning on grabbing it but am concerned the online portion will get old and stale. Does this game have a ton of longevity?
I've put a little over 16 hours into the game so far I've done 6 of the 16 championships you have to do, and 16 of the 128 that is available. There is a 30 bucket list, where you get to do challenges in classic cars andhypercars. Head to head open races with randomized drivers, as well as online. It's quite a bit to do in it
 
# 15 kwebbvols4423 @ 10/08/14 10:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider131
I've put a little over 16 hours into the game so far I've done 6 of the 16 championships you have to do, and 16 of the 128 that is available. There is a 30 bucket list, where you get to do challenges in classic cars andhypercars. Head to head open races with randomized drivers, as well as online. It's quite a bit to do in it
Like Raider said, there is a lot to do. I have put in 9 hours and just 16% complete and I have barely touched online. I love this game.
 
# 16 murph17 @ 10/09/14 12:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hester
The 360 version lacks weather and Drivatars.
and no DLC
 
# 17 brandon27 @ 10/09/14 03:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider131
I've put a little over 16 hours into the game so far I've done 6 of the 16 championships you have to do, and 16 of the 128 that is available. There is a 30 bucket list, where you get to do challenges in classic cars andhypercars. Head to head open races with randomized drivers, as well as online. It's quite a bit to do in it
I have 14 of the first 15 bucket list cars done, the one I can't get is the driving through the forest at night one. Im positive there's a shortcut to the destination like there was in one of the other challenges in the first 15, but I just can't find it without hitting 50 trees first. I must have tried it about 50 times by now it feels like. I want to get it though so I can move to the next 15. Any tips on that one?
 
# 18 kwebbvols4423 @ 10/09/14 03:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by brandon27
I have 14 of the first 15 bucket list cars done, the one I can't get is the driving through the forest at night one. Im positive there's a shortcut to the destination like there was in one of the other challenges in the first 15, but I just can't find it without hitting 50 trees first. I must have tried it about 50 times by now it feels like. I want to get it though so I can move to the next 15. Any tips on that one?
None what so ever. I am struggling with that one also.
 
# 19 Bmore @ 10/11/14 08:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by brandon27
I have 14 of the first 15 bucket list cars done, the one I can't get is the driving through the forest at night one. Im positive there's a shortcut to the destination like there was in one of the other challenges in the first 15, but I just can't find it without hitting 50 trees first. I must have tried it about 50 times by now it feels like. I want to get it though so I can move to the next 15. Any tips on that one?
It took me forever to complete that. I was able to bounce from one tree to another to keep the car straight and shot right through. There's a lot of luck involved.
 
# 20 DaImmaculateONe @ 10/12/14 08:13 AM
so what are the major differences and improvements in forza 2 from forza 1?
 

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