Games: Forza Horizon 2

Games: Forza Horizon 2

Unless you are a multi-millionaire, zipping along the French Riviera in an Italian supercar will only be a dream.

But now, you can live out your motor fantasies vicariously with this game.

The original Forza Horizon was set in Colorado, United States. Its successor takes you from southern France to northern Italy in what must be one of the most picturesque road trips. The driving area is now three times bigger and you can explore and enjoy the scenery from France's glamorous Cote d'Azur to the rolling hills of Tuscany in Italy.

Beautiful and breathtakingly detailed, the vast landscapes are mind blowing. There are cliffside roads fringing the Mediterranean, crowded European towns with cobbled streets, expansive fields, endless vineyards and farms.

Yes, you can drive your fabulous Lamborghini Huracan through cornfields or cross-country terrain if you so desire.

The sound effects are awesome. Pounding soundtracks from one of three in-game radio stations deliver an adrenalin rush. Or just ramp up the volume to enjoy the roar of the engine and the audible contact between tyres and asphalt.

For the first time in a Forza franchise game, there is a dynamic weather system. Finally, you can drift and slide all you want in the rain.

As in the original game, you are taking part in the Horizon Festival, a car and music festival with plenty of parties and races all day and night on the open roads of southern Europe.

Your goal is to be festival champion. To climb up the rankings, you enter festival races from Nice to Castelletto.

There are two main race types - lap and checkpoint. In lap races, you do laps on closed roads. Checkpoint races take place on open roads and move you from one point to another, during which you have to cope with plenty of slow-moving traffic.

Each festival race will earn you credits and experience points. You can also earn them by driving a clean racing line, smashing lamp posts, having near misses or just simply by discovering new roads.

It can be boring just driving from one place to another. But now, you can race against "drivatars" (artificial intelligence avatars of real players) in solo offline mode or against real players online for more "paint-swopping" and crashes together.

To enter such races, you must drive to certain locations to sign up. You can either pull up the world map or use Kinect by saying "Anna". She is the voice assistant and can help you plot routes and suggest what you should do next.

When not racing, you can do the Bucket List. This lets you drive luxury cars, such as the McLaren P1 and Pagani Zonda C, to complete a set of challenges, such as having 20 near misses within a stipulated time. You can also enter Showcase events in which you race against trains and aircraft.

There are more than 200 cars for you to drool over, from the huge Cadillac Escalade SUV to the splendid Audi R8 V10. You can tinker with each car's interior and exterior to your heart's delight.

The game's racing engine is somewhere between simulation and arcade. You can make it more of a challenge by turning off all the driving assists. As each car handles differently enough, you will soon appreciate the differences in power, cornering and braking abilities.

Forza Horizon 2 lets you drive the car of your dreams in a stunning open game world. With so many cars to choose from, the only thing petrol heads will get bored with is the limited choice of in-game radio stations.

trevtan@sph.com.sg

Rating: 9.5/10

Price: $69.90 (Xbox 360; Xbox One, version tested)

Genre: Racing


This article was first published on Nov 19, 2014.
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