Following on the heels of 2012’s Forza Horizon, the Horizon Festival has returned, and that means a return to ‘open world’ car worship. With a huge amount of drivable terrain, a monster list of cars, and whole lot of ‘gas gas honk’, the Horizon awaits in a stunning Southern Europe with Forza Horizon 2.
Release Date: Sept 30, 2014
I must be the only non-racing, racing game fan. Ya, I know, that’s a mouthful. I’d apologize, but I knew exactly what I was doing. Not that I don’t enjoy a good ‘spin’ behind the wheel, but it’s usually low slung and piloted by an oversized cartoon gorilla. I have never been very good at driving games, or, I should say, ‘real’ driving games, anything with the word ‘arcade’ or ‘kart’ in the title or description is just fine, but I’ve become a great admirer. I have ‘car’ friends of course, we all do, but I’ve also covered the development and release of a LOT of them. I’ve learned a few things, for a start, Sim style games (no, not The SIMs, though, now that you mention it…) are always at the cutting edge of technology, they push physics, graphics, level editing. They’re slick, and getting slicker, big and getting bigger, which is a great way to describe the second installment of the ‘Horizon’ series, Forza Horizon 2.
‘Big’ is an excellent work to describe Forza Horizon 2. It was a good word to describe its predecessor, so maybe ‘Bigger’ is what I’m looking for. Based around the ‘Horizon Festival’ a fictional car-centric event, taking place at lavish locals around the world, this time, Southern Europe (Southern Italy and the South of France). I mentioned bigger? With a map thrice the size of the first one, Forza Horizon 2 is putting the ‘open’ into open world driving, and it looks incredible. I have a great admiration and affinity for world building, and I have to say, watching this wonderfully rendered work of art fly by in the graceful arc of a controlled drift, my clutch foot and shifting hand start to spasm. The thrill of the ride is becoming hard to deny, even second hand. Featuring a huge roster of 200 plus machines at your disposal, they are fully detailed, lovingly crafted, and beautiful to watch in action. Unlike some of the more ‘serious’ (read snobby) Sim titles will stick to the high performance, the slick and powerful. Not Forza Horizon 2, have you seen some of these? I mean, there’s a Willy’s Jeep in here, and for the completionists, the rare, secret ‘Barn’ location cars are back. The action is locked at 30 frames per second, for a smooth driving experience. Forza Horizon 2 features a dynamic weather system, a series first, combined with the day and night cycle, and Southern Europe comes to life. I expect some fairly fantastic user created wallpapers to turn up before very long.
It’s an almost glutinous revelry in ‘car’ glorification, but the Horizon Festival is a great excuse to race. Event after event, car after car, drive in a huge world with a huge expanse of vehicles to play with. The online features, including ‘Road trips’, (driving with friends, get it?) as well as crash heavy ‘king of the hill’. Putting the ‘open’ into open world driving, take to the off road and barrel down shortcuts, trade paint, earn rewards… hilarity ensues.