I’ve always been the kind of gamer who’s more Burnout than Gran Turismo, more Need for Speed than Forza. Call me old fashioned but if I want a more realistic racing experience I’ll get in a real car and drive down a real road.
It’s a good thing then that Forza Horizon 2 sits somewhere in the middle of fantasy and reality as once again we’re plunged into a festival atmosphere and asked to get behind the wheel of some really cool cars and drive them round the stunning beauty of Southern Europe.
Set in an open world with a fair amount of hand-holding to make sure you never don’t know what to do next, you’ll be asked to race through at least 15 championships before you can take part in the grand finale and prove you’re the best driver at the festival. You’ll be doing laps round city streets, tearing cross country through fields and driving from A to B as fast as you can in muscle cars, rally cars, old classics and Chelsea tractors. There really is a lot to do here.
The stand-out races though are some of the challenges you’ll be set in Bucket List events. Here you hop in a car you may not already own and get to do really cool things like race a train, beat the sunset or swerve down a mountain road whilst the equivalent of the Red Arrows break the sound barrier above you. It’s really exciting stuff, especially when you’ve got the volume turned up and the controller vibrates wildly when they pass just feet away from the roof of your car!
When not taking part in actual races there are also plenty of other distractions as well. You can take photos of other cars on the circuit which to be honest if a fairly mundane task that slows down the action thanks to loading times, you can smash through billboards to gain extra XP and get discounts off fast travel, there are special cars to find hidden in barns about the place and there are speed traps to race through as well. All the time you’re also facing against other Drivatars based on the race styles of real life drivers in your friends list, and earning points as you drive for near misses, drifting and smashing through scenery which you can spend on perks to earn even more points to suit your driving style.
As you’d expect, this game looks gorgeous and it all runs really smooth too. The soundtrack is also excellent and as you go up through the ranks, new radio stations are unlocked to give you even more variety when doing donuts. You can also take the game online and compete in road trips with your mates and swap and buy cars in virtual car meets.
There really is a lot to do in Forza Horizon 2. Not all of it’s original but if yo’ure into your cars, want to drive realistic representations of them and even tweak under the hood, then this is certainly the game for you – especially if you find simulation driving games a little too pedestrian. Forza Horizon 2 gets 8 out of 10.
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Related: Forza Horizon 2 review on Youtube