Let’s get one thing straight before I get into this review. I’m not a racing game fan, nor am I a car enthusiast. If I see a Lamborghini on the street I’ll gawk and take a picture, but ask me about the complexities of its engine and I’m in uncharted waters. Why am I telling you this? Because I absolutely love Forza Horizon 2, and I didn’t expect that to be the case, at all.
Racing games rarely seem to attract varied customers. There’s been a few that have managed it, games such as the Burnout series by Criterion and Motorstorm on the Playstation 3 brought the masses who just liked putting their pedal to the metal flocking, and Horizon 2 is the newest addition to that prestigious but rather short list.
The game puts you as a young man going on the “gap yah” of his lifetime to the border between Italy and France, to dance in UV paint, watch the sun set on the…wait for it… horizon, and drive the highest maintenance vehicles on the planet as well as possible. What’s great about this though is that the game is an open world racer that strikes a fine racing line between being feverishly competitive and gorgeously carefree.
One moment you’ll be kicking out the back end of your Aventador just the perfect amount to send yourself hurtling around the corner to cut ahead of your rivals, the next you’ll be skirting on and off country roads in a hyper-car, searching for a barn with a hidden vintage just waiting to be sampled on the track.
It’s all still the Forza that the knowledgeable players know and love; the extensive tuning, the people making custom decals so that they can drive an in-game DHL transit around Montellino, the online clubs and desperate vying for places and lap times. But afterwards you can just go for a cruise around the side of a cliff as the sun sets, or give your best shot at a maximum speed camera on a long straight in your new hard earned toy, or go for a road trip with your friends from the coast to the mountains. It’s the best of both worlds because for once you’re not asking if the icing is on the cake, because for once the cake is just as good, even if you might not know precisely how they came about making it that way.
Available on Xbox One and Xbox 360.