Watch the Forza Horizon 2 gameplay trailer below.
Forza Horizon 2 takes the simulation and visual engine of Forza Motorsport 5 and lets it loose in an open world. Music, festivals, crowds and weather combine with petrol, metal and rubber in a game that looks and feels exciting and challenging.
I’ve enjoyed the various iterations of Forza Motorsport over the years, but the game that has really stuck with the family has been Forza Horizon. This takes the racing simulation of the big game and turns it in an arcade-y open world direction.
At E3 this year Forza Horizon was front and centre at the Microsoft press conference. After the event I had some hands on time with the game to put it through its paces. I was surprised how much of a simulation the game still feels, with it’s more exuberant remit. On the road this is very much a Forza game. Take things off road though, on purpose or accidentally and things are very different.
Not only is the game more forgiving that its big brother but you also discover that leaving the beaten track can often be the quickest option. Forza Horizon 2′s open world encourages you to explore and experiment. Add to the the real time weather and day-night cycles and it looks like Horizon is onto a winning formula again.
Talking to Dan Greenwalt, Creative Director for the Forza franchise I was surprised to hear how much Horizon shared in terms of simulation code base. “This was built from the ground up for Xbox One on top of the Forza 5 graphics engine.” In terms of frame-rate Horizon again impresses running at 1080p at 60 frames per seconds.
I asked Greenwalt whether Horizon was taking its eye off the racing ball. “It’s hard to say if I’m honest. Forza is all about car culture. Motorsport is about competition, it’s about precision. Horizon is about fun and exploration. But that doesn’t mean it’s just about arcade. We have the same simulation modeling as Forza 5.”
Certainly Forza Horizon 2 looks impressive, both in its visuals and realism. It will be interesting to see if it can attract the same strong audience that still play the first game.