Welcome to my review of Forza Horizon 2 for the Xbox One. For this review I used the Thrustmaster TX Racing wheel with a T500 modified set of pedals and a TH8A shifter.
Some of you may have seen the first and second hour of gameplay I had posted and I’d like to apologize to the Horizon 2 PR team for posting that too soon. I was a little confused over how the embargo worked and was allowed to post this review before launch, but not raw gameplay like I did. That gameplay will be back up and viewable on launch day.
Forza Horizon 2 will release on September 30th for both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 here in the states and a few days later elsewhere. I will only be reviewing the Xbox One version.
The Day One Edition will retail for $59.99 US, £49.99 Pounds and, €69.99 Euro
Its published by Microsoft and Turn 10 and developed by Playground games.
Little info on Playground games, some of which I didn’t know about.
They are an independent UK game development studio formed in 2009. It was founded by the leadership team responsible for the Codemasters racing franchises “TOCA,” “GRID” and “DiRT,” and over the past several years has enhanced its core team with experienced developers from Bizarre Creations, Black Rock Studios, Slightly Mad Studios, Criterion Games, Rockstar North and Ubisoft Reflections among others.
So they have developers from all over the racing game industry and have pulled from just about every dev team there is on the console side of things.
Now to some of the features of Forza Horizon 2.
It has more than 200 cars and most likely we’ll see more as DLC in the future. The cars range from extreme off-roaders to modern supercars, classic muscle, more. Every car and truck is has full cockpit views, including functional windshield wipers, working headlights, and authentic interiors. Although you can’t turn on the wipers or headlights on your own, they do automatically when needed.
The location is set in Southern Europe with a dynamic weather system for the first time in a Forza game. It will also cycle through day and night, and race environments will be time and condition customizable.
A road trip career mode adapts to your car choices with hundreds of events. There’s a variety of free-roam driving that consists of racing, hunting hidden treasures like barn find cars (which are tough to find by the way and I have yet to locate one although trying for about an hour) . You can also show off your customized rides at car meet locations spread across the world
There’s also some cool special events like racing against planes and trains. You can also find power ups scattered all over the landscape.
Multiplayer allows for 12 players connected at once and you can do a wide variety of activities with or against each other.
You can also create or join a car club that can consist of up to 1000 members. Speaking of, if you’d like to join mine, it’s ISRTV.com or the three letter tag of ISR. It’s open to anyone, so join it if you want and then come to our forums to setup some online activities ! I’d love to join you for a variety of open world fun. You can get to our Forza Horizon forum section here on the screen that’s clickable if you’re on a PC, or it will be in the description of this show.
In solo play the Drivatar technology from Forza Motorsport 5 makes it’s way to Forza Horizon 2. I have to say, they’re as good or maybe better than some of the guys I’ve raced online so far. I’ll talk more about that when I get to AI in my review.
Sim, Simcade or Arcade ?
We get some crap for covering titles like this because our name is Inside Sim Racing. To those of you that are going to complain, we have plenty of coverage of all things sim racing related. That being said, this is not a pure arcade racer. It has some of the best physics I’ve felt in a console title but also has some arcade style events. So it’s definitely simcade leaning towards the “Cade” due to the fact that there’s no race tracks or things of that nature.
As I just mentioned, very much on the sim side and what feels like the same exact tire model and physics from Forza 5. The off road driving is amazing, the way the cars slide and react to the terrain. I’d say the wet road physics are dumbed down a tad.. But on the other hand, try taking a beast like a Corvette Stingray off road and you will soon see that this title is hardcore when it comes to the driving model. I ran some multiplayer events last week with Brian Mechberg of Turn 10 and some other guys from the media and took my Vette into some of the events and had my ass handed to me because we ended up driving off road.
Full tuning and upgrading is available. Someone online asked if you can do engine swaps and yes you can, just like in Forza Motorsports titles.
Force Feedback and Wheel settings
Forza Horizon 2 is compatible with the Thrustmaster TX Racing wheel and eco system peripherals including the TH8A and T3PA pedal sets. For this review as I mentioned, I used the Tx base, 458 GTE rim, T500 modified pedals and a TH8A shifter.
The setup screen is exactly what you will find in Forza Motorsport 5. The Force Feedback actually feels a tad stronger, or maybe it’s cause I’m going off road. You can adjust Vibration and Force Feedback from 0-100 and you can also adjust your degrees of rotation in 20 degree increments from 270 to 900 which I recommend keeping at the default of 900.
I take out all deadzones which is actually the default setting except on the clutch where I lower the outside deadzone so I have a shorter throw on my clutch which aids in shifting
The TH8A works like a charm and you can run with a manual and full clutch. Just make sure your TX wheel has the latest firmware or as you may see in my first few hours of gameplay, it wont work.
In regards to controller or button configuration. I would like to see an option to do a custom setup versus just having 5 presets. Example, I would love an option to use the Dpad to look around when trying to locate a barn find. You can configure your wheel to look left and right with the paddles if you are using the TH8A to shift.
That’s definitely a limitation or disadvantage of running a wheel as you can’t just look around when driving in cockpit mode.
I see a lot of people bitching about it being locked at 30 FPS and I personally don’t have a problem with it. Visually it looks stunning ! Love the rain effects, the day to night transitions which by the way I would like to have a button to turn the lights on. Sometimes they don’t come on soon enough.
I like the coloring and saturation and think they did a great job overall. Love plowing through a field at 100+ and seeing things fly. I have yet to see a frame rate hiccup while driving no matter what’s going on.
I would like an option to adjust the field of view but so far, I like how most of them are set. I’d also like to turn off the on screen wheel since I have one sitting in front of me.
How about we talk damage now ! I have to say, that if you’re running the off road events with full damage, you may want to reconsider it. When I raced online against Mechberg and the media guys, they had cosmetic damage only and I was beating the heck out of my car. If you want the ultimate challenge, crank the AI up to unbeatable, turn full damage on, all assists on with simulated steering and hang on ! I can’t imagine you’re going to win too many events the first time out at that setting. Especially off road.
You can beat your car up so much that it’s barely shifting and just sputtering along. Also if you miss-shift with full damage, you will beat up the transmission and your shifts get slower.
Sounds, as usual in a Forza title are awesome ! If you like driving with music, they give you a pretty good variety to choose from. I just unlocked an Italian station and was hearing classical.
The car sounds offer major thump and sound like you would expect those particular cars. On the console and almost industry wide the Forza series sets the benchmark for incredible sounds.
For a lot of titles we’ll talk about tracks here, but instead I’ll talk about the open world.
Tons of life to the point where I had to turn down the force feedback cause of the off road driving. I work up a sweat because of how much the wheel is dancing and almost whipping out of my hands. The tracks they’ve created for the racing are a lot of fun too. Don’t miss a checkpoint, or it will send you back to it.
As I already mentioned run as good or better than some of the people I ran against online. Seems they’ve made some big improvements to it and it makes for some great offline racing. On unbeatable, they are pretty much exactly that.. Unbeatable..
Tons to do, but I would have liked to have seen more than 12 players max. I would think minimum of 16, but that’s not the case. I also think it would be cool in the open world to see hundreds of players, but that’s obviously a limitation of the internet and most likely frame rate.
Overall though, there’s a lot you can do with it online and I’d love to meet up with more of you out there to experience it.
Not going to go over pros and cons because I just did while I talked about the different areas like Physics, graphics, etc. So I’ll get to my final thoughts.
If you enjoyed the first Forza Horizon, you should love this one. I would highly recommend it to anyone with an Xbox One and especially if you have a wheel and pedal setup, this game is a blast ! This game is DEEP and offers a lot to do and should be good for many hours of fun. Once you finish things offline, you could do a ton of stuff online. Or do a combo of both.
As some of you know, we don’t the revs scale as a score for products anymore so instead, I’ll give this title a big thumbs up. Great job to all involved with developing it and I’m looking forward to many more hours of enjoyment out of it.
If you wanted to watch those first hour videos I posted, they’ll be back up on September 30th. I’ll also add my third hour as well as my multiplayer time with Brian Mechberg.
I hope you enjoyed my take on Forza Horizon 2 and thanks for reading.