Gaming Hype: Project CARS Gets Delayed Until March 2015

Posted on 10.20.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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In today’s official “bummer” news it was announced that Project CARS from Slightly Mad Studios has been delayed until March 2015.  Originally the game was to be released for PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 (PS4), and Wii U next month in time for the Holiday season.  However, the Wii U version was always meant to be released in 2015.  Now all the other versions will join it.  I have to say this is pretty disappointing, especially since I was really looking forward to this game after playing it at E3 this  year.

Disappointment aside there is a really puzzling aspect to this story and that is the reason given for the delay.  Remember how I mentioned that Project CARS was going to originally release next month in time for the holiday shopping season?  Well it turns out that is exactly why they decided to delay it.  Confused?  Allow me to explain.  It seems that if Slightly Mad Studios and Bandai Namco the official publisher and distributor of Project CARS are worried that with so many other games coming out during the holiday season that Project CARS will get lost in the crowd.

By pushing the release to March they believe they are giving Project CARS “the greatest chance for “success and visibility”.  Normally, I would agree with this strategy however this time I do not and I will tell you why…

Firstly, I could understand being hesitant to go up against some of the big holiday releases but given the quality, finish, and overall positive impressions of the game so far I would reckon that this game would do just fine against any other triple A video game release this year.

Second, under normal circumstances the holiday season is a tough time to release a new IP but for Project CARS this would actually be the BEST time.  Gamers who are on the look out for a racing game for Christmas this year have very slim pickings.  To date there are only 3 major racing games out for “next gen” consoles: Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Horizon 2, and DRIVECLUB.

Mostly everyone who wants Forza Motorsport 5 has it already since its a launch title,  Forza Horizon 2 is a great game and will likely pick up more steam over the holidays but its still an Xbox One exclusive so not everyone in the next gen console audience can get it and this brings us to my third reason why this delay comes at a bad time.

DRIVECLUB is the only major racing game available on Playstation 4 right now and its reviews are mediocre at best.  Many outlets find DRIVECLUB to be an average racing game that is only made better by its online components.  The problem with that is currently most if not all of DRIVECLUB’s online components are not working due to major server issues and as of now it is unclear when those issues will be fixed.

This leaves PS4-owning racing game fans with virtually nothing to choose from as its likely many of them would not want to buy a broken game.  If Project CARS went ahead as scheduled the PS4 crowd would FLOCK to it in droves!  Perhaps the sales on Xbox One would not be quite as strong since it would be going up against Forza Horizon 2 but Horizon 2 is an open world game where as Project CARS is closer to a sim like Forza Motorsport 5 but includes a few things that Forza 5 lacks such as dynamic weather and possibly a larger track selection.

To me this seems like a great opportunity missed for Project CARS but hopefully this time will be used to make the game even better than it was when I played it.  I’ll keep you posted!

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Gaming Hype: Totally Radical 80’s Inpsired Game “Drift Stage” May Include 4 Player Local Multiplayer (Video)

Posted on 10.06.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Back in August three totally tubular dudes announced that they were making a game inspired by the racing games of old such as Outrun, Rad Racer, and Pole Position but with a modern twist and 80s art direction called “Drift Stage“.  It took the interwebs by storm and got many drift fans very excited for what was to come.  Well it had been a while so I decided to check out their “bitchin website” to see if there were any new updates and it looks like the trio has been quite busy testing potential features for the final version of the game.  The video below is a test of a 4 player split screen local multiplayer mode that I sincerely hope makes the final cut!  Racing online is cool but there is nothing quite like going up against your friends in the same room and the ability to completely gloat in person!

Just watching a four way split screen like this instantly brought back memories of playing GoldenEye on N64 back in high school.  I am so looking forward to this game!

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Hype Review: Forza Horizon 2. Its Back. Its Bigger. But Is It Better? SPOILER ALERT: ..Yes, Yes It Is.

Posted on 09.30.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Its been a long time coming, but today everyone can finally get their hands on Forza Horizon 2!  First announced a short while before E3 this year, Forza fans have been waiting to sink their teeth into a brand new open world and full of bright shiny tasty cars!  So, is it everything we hoped it would be?  Is it worth the wait?  More importantly, is it worth $60?  Here is my take…

DISCLAIMER: Microsoft provided an early full copy of Forza Horizon 2 as well as a loaner Xbox One console for the purposes of this review.  Since I needed a console to play the game I have had significantly less time with the game than most of the other outlets who reviewed the game.  This is why I am doing a written review rather than my typical video review.  This review will also be a bit leaner since I did not have as much time with the game.  That being said, lets dive in!

What is Forza Horizon 2?

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Just in case you haven’t been paying attention to this website or various others for the last 6 months or so let me fill you in on what Forza Horizon is all about.  “Horizon” is a virtual music and automotive festival that usually takes place in a sprawling, scenic local, and is essentially a free-for-all to any gear head to drive their dream car in an open world in anyway they see fit.  Forza Horizon 2 greatly expands on what the first Horizon game did, specifically by moving the location from Utah to southern Europe with locations like Nice, and Sisteron.  All in all the area in which players can explore in Forza Horizon 2 is double what it was in the first Horizon game.

How does it look?

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As stated in the disclaimer I played the Xbox One version of Forza Horizon 2 and like its cousin Forza Motorsport 5, Horizon 2 seems to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s power.  The visuals are stunning.  The cars look very realistic and sharp inside and out.  I was half expecting the visual quality to be lower than that of Forza 5 but the standards were still set the same.  In some ways Forza Horizon 2 actually looks better than Forza 5 but more on that later.  Anyway, its more than just the cars that look good the environments are amazing.  Whenever I plow through a vineyard in first person view its almost like I can smell the soil and the grapes being stirred up and smashed by the car. To make things even better visually Forza Horizon 2 has dynamic weather.  This is the first and only Forza game so far with weather effects and it looks awesome!  The way the water beads on the car’s paint surface and windshield looks incredible.  The weather also realistically affects how the environments look as well.  Reflections of the car and its surroundings can be seen on wet asphalt.  Random puddles form, differences in the terrain create pools of standing water.  Once the rain stops the moisture doesn’t just magically disappear, it actually takes a while to dry off!  Because of the extra visual detail that the weather adds it actually makes the game look even better than Forza Motorsport 5 in a way. For their first time doing weather the team really knocked it out of the park!

How do the cars drive?

When the first Forza Horizon game came out many were skeptical as to how the car physics would play out.  At first glance Forza Horizon seems very much like an “arcade” style racer, which typically means very floaty loose physics meant more for forgiveness than accuracy.  The first Horizon game eased fears by using the same physics system used in Forza Motorsport.   Horizon 2 follows the tradition by keeping its physics firmly based on the simulator side although things are tweaked just a little bit to make things a little more accessible for less experienced players.  However, just like in Forza Motorsport assists can be turned off for increased realism in handling (as well as difficulty).  Additionally tuning has been expanded so that parameters can be more finely adjusted that previously allowed in the first Horizon game.  The only thing that would have made this better is if they allowed for a tune to be exported from Forza Motorsport 5 to Horizon 2.  Maybe in the next version?  Also, as I mentioned earlier the new weather system adds a whole new layer to the game’s physics.  When it starts the pour everything changes and players will have to take real care to make sure they stay in control.  This isn’t to say that as soon as it rains handling goes out the window but it does get more difficult.  Combine that with the fact that players will never know when the rain will come and you have the makings of challenging gameplay.

How many cars are there?

I wont spend too much time here since this info is pretty easy to find but there are over 210 cars available at launch with more coming via DLC in the future.  As far as the curation of the cars available trust me when I tell you all your bases are covered.  There are plenty of exotics, supercars, sports cars, classics, and cult classics to choose from.  Anyone will be hard pressed to find a car that should be in the roster but isn’t.  Its all there!

How much is there to do?

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I am just going to flat out say it now.  It will be a very long time before any player does all there is to do “officially” in Forza Horizon 2.  There are hundreds of roads and over 700 (yes 700!) events to do.  Depending on how casually one games they may not even finish it all before the next Horizon game comes out.  The possibilities are expanded even further when considering other events such as “bucket lists” (one-off events that encourage major hoonage), the return of “barn finds”, and the fact that you can challenge just about any car on the road to an impromptu street race.  That last part is even more special in Horizon 2 since this time around players deal with “drivatars” just like in Forza Motorsport 5.  Each “AI” car is literally based off the “driving personality” of another real player.  This adds a whole new dimension to not just every random street race but all the races in the game because you are always racing against drivatars.

The seamless multiplayer mode adds even more to do with open world roaming lobbies in which players can explore the world as a group and decide what they want to do and literally just do it.  The experience is much smoother, easier, and more fun.  There really is no place where single player ends and multiplayer begins, and that’s a good thing.  Everything about the events and other experiences of this game are really meant to pull players in.  Some people may even find themselves having to reserve time to go back to Forza Motorsport 5 because they will be so involved in Horizon 2.

What’s not to like?

No game is perfect and Forza Horizon 2 is no exception.  While there is a lot to love about this game there are some things I didn’t quite like.  The first is how the driveatars look.  Now that might seem like an odd statement considering drivatars use the same cars that everyone else uses but there is one key difference.  For some reason driveatars are given graphics schemes and those schemes tend to be on the tacky side.  I know this is kind of a knit pick but its just weird to see a Lamborghini Aventador with a 1992 Hot Import Nights-style checkered flag theme.  In Forza Motorsport 5 this treatment can be turned off but as far as I can tell, that option isn’t available in Forza Horizon 2.

Another thing that took some points off is the music.  Now, I am not saying the music is bad.  In fact, music is a big part of what makes the “Horizon” series what it is.  Just like in the first Horizon game there are radio stations with different genres of music that the player can choose on the fly.  The choices of music are even greater now with over 150 stations to choose from.  The problem is unlike the first Horizon game in which all the stations are available at the start, in Forza Horizon 2 only three are available and more stations are unlocked as you progress in the game.  This lead to me getting tired of the music real fast in the early hours of playing and I found myself just keeping the radio off for the most part until I unlocked more stations.

Conclusion

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Back when Forza Horizon 2 was first announced many of the hardcore fans had a lot of specific and technical questions like “how many cars will there be?”, “how much bigger is the open world?”, “can we turn on the headlights and windshield wipers?”.  I will admit that I had some of those questions myself as I waited for this game to arrive.  Yet, I can honestly say that within the first 10 minutes of playing the game none of that stuff matters anymore.  All that mattered to me was “OMG I am driving a Ferrari through a random field plowing through giant hay bales on a southern European country side and its awesome!”  I think in the end it was that feeling that Playground Games was really going for when they began to work on Forza Horizon 2.  They really did create this virtual theme park of automotive pleasures with seemingly limitless possibilities for having obnoxious fun.   That, my friends is well worth 60 bucks.  I would easily give this game a 9.5 out of 10 and recommend you go out and buy it immediately if you haven’t done so already!

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Gaming Hype: Toyota FT-1 Vision GT Now Playable In Gran Turismo 6 (With Video)

Posted on 09.16.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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In another bout of video game news, today an update was released for Gran Turismo 6 which includes the Toyota FT-1 Vision GT.  As the name suggests the Vision GT is a race version of the FT-1 Vision road car concept that Toyota built for the Gran Turismo “Vision” project.  “Vision” cars (for now) can only be driven in the pristine virtual world that is Gran Turismo, so if you’ve ever wanted to know what its like to get behind the wheel of a pure-bred motorsport version of an already outrageous car then fire up the ol’ PS3 and download the update, its totally free!

If you want to see how the real life version of the FT-1 Vision GT came to life check out the video below:

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Gaming Hype: Forza Horizon 2 Demo Out Today On Xbox Live. Launch Pack DLC, VIP Membership Benefits, Car Pass Announced.

Posted on 09.16.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Forza horizon 2 releases in just two weeks but starting today you can try it out for yourself by downloading the demo on Xbox Live.  To further entice potential Forza addicts Turn 10 studios has also announced the details of Forza Horizon VIP membership.  If that weren’t enough they also announced 8 free DLC cars that will be available at launch!  If they actually offer a kitchen sink I think I might be sold…  Anyway, lets get into the details of the goodies shall we?

First off is the 8 free DLC cars that will be available at launch.  Seriously, Forza has been giving away so many cars its like they’re Oprah (I’ve waited a long time to use that joke so make with the lol’s!).  Anyway here is the list of cars that players can get their hands on right away: 2003 Ford Focus RS, 1997 Land Rover Defender 90, 1993 Clio Williams, 2015 Ford Mustang GT, 1987 Buick Regal GNX, 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV, 1968 Abarth 595 esseesse, 1956 Ford F-100.  A pretty eclectic mix if you ask me.  You have a hot hatch in the Focus RS, Muscle in the ’15 Mustang GT, and obscure classic in the Abarth 595 esseesse (how the heck is “esseesse” pronounced?!?!).  On paper the DLC sounds like a nice starting point to play in Forza Horizon 2’s open world.

Next up is the new VIP membership.  Since Forza Horizon is always based around a “festival” style event they are likening VIP membership as something of a “backstage pass.”  VIP membership provides access to “exclusive benefits” in Forza Horizon 2.  The first of which is a 5 car DLC pack which includes the 2012 Lamborghini Urus, 2014 Tesla Model S, 1967 Ferrari 330 P4, 1949 Mercury Coupe, and the 2013 Donkervoort D8 GTO.  VIP members also get “2x player in-game reward acceleration, access to exclusive multiplayer events, in-game gifts from the Forza community team, and special in-game recognition.”  VIP membership will set players back $19.95.  However, current Forza Motorsport 5 VIP members can buy Horizon 2 VIP membership for half off at $9.99.

If you are already firmly in the Forza Horizon 2 camp and for sure going to pick it up then you might be interested in the “Car Pass”.  This basically nets players all of the future DLC (at least 31 cars according to Turn 10) over the next six months in one pre-purchase for $24.95.  Purchase of the Car Pass will also include the 2010 Nobile M600 as a bonus exclusive car.

Whew, is that everything? Oh, wait!  Anyone who has already decided they want to buy Forza Horizon 2 and really eager to have their copy ASAP can “pre-download” it starting today.  Basically, a player would use their Xbox Live account, purchase the game as a download, download the entire game to their console, and then be given instant access to it on the release date (September 30th, 2014).

Ok, I think that covers it all.  Forza Horizon 2 is really shaping up to be a pretty big release this year.  If things work out I will give you my first hand account of Forza Horizon 2 in the form of a review.  I will keep you all posted!  In the meantime I encourage anyone curious about the game to download the demo and get a first impression!  For more info hit up the Forza Horizon 2 website.

Press Release:

Eight Free Downloadable Cars Coming to Forza Horizon 2 at Launch

Bonus DLC Car Pack bringing 2015 Mustang GT and more to game

Forza Horizon 2 is just weeks away and, soon, Forza fans the world over will be exploring the wide-open high-speed highways and breakneck back roads of southern Europe. By now, you’re probably aware that Forza Horizon 2 will ship with more than 200 amazing cars, all built from the ground up on Xbox One. Forza has always been about bringing fans the best content, whether that’s world debut cars like Roll-Royce Wraith or track add-ons like Long Beach, Road America, and the Nürburgring.

As is the case with all Forza games, we’ll constantly be updating Forza Horizon 2 with fresh new content. Beginning on Sept. 30 to coincide with the release of Forza Horizon 2, we’ll be launching a brand new pack for the game: the Forza Horizon 2 Launch Bonus Car Pack. This car pack will feature eight cars representing the awesome variety that can be found in the Forza Horizon 2 car roster – from rough-and-tumble trucks like the 1956 Ford F-100 to the raw power represented by the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. The Launch Bonus Pack will include three never-before-seen vehicles in the Forza franchise: the 2003 Ford Focus RS, the 1997 Land Rover Defender 90, and the 1993 Clio Williams. Best of all, all eight of the cars featured in the Launch Bonus Car Pack will be available to all Forza Horizon 2 players at launch for no additional cost.

Here’s the full list of cars in the Launch Bonus Car Pack:

  • 2003 Ford Focus RS
  • 1997 Land Rover Defender 90
  • 1993 Clio Williams
  • 2015 Ford Mustang GT
  • 1987 Buick Regal GNX
  • 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 1968 Abarth 595 esseesse
  • 1956 Ford F-100

In addition to the Launch Bonus Car Pack, today we’re also announcing the details for Forza Horizon 2 VIP membership (discounted for current Forza Motorpsort 5 VIPs) and the Forza Horizon 2 Car Pass. As in Forza Motorsport 5, each purchased add-on car can be added to your in-game garage one time for free – without additional in-game credits.

VIP Membership

Forza Horizon 2 VIP Membership (regular $19.99; 50 percent off or $9.99 for Forza Motorsport 5 VIP members) is like a backstage pass at the Horizon Festival, giving you access to cool content you can only get here. VIP members will receive exclusive benefits in Forza Horizon 2, including the VIP Car Pack, featuring five cars (four of which are brand new to the Forza franchise). These five cars include the 2012 Lamborghini Urus, 2014 Tesla Model S, 1967 Ferrari 330 P4, 1949 Mercury Coupe, and the 2013 Donkervoort D8 GTO. VIP membership also awards with 2x player in-game reward acceleration, access to exclusive multiplayer events, in-game gifts from the Forza community team, and special in-game recognition. Current Forza Motorsport 5 VIPs receive a $10 discount on digital purchases of Forza Horizon 2 VIP membership or any Forza Horizon 2 digital offer that includes VIP membership. (Note that this discount only applies to digital offers of Forza Horizon 2.)

Car Pass

The Forza Horizon 2 Car Pass ($24.99) gets you access to six monthly pack add-ons beginning in October, with each pack featuring five amazing cars. That’s six monthly car packs for the price of five! Plus, Car Pass owners will receive an exclusive bonus car for free: the 2010 Noble M600. That’s 31 cars to collect, race, and customize in Forza Horizon 2! Look for more details on the first monthly car pack for Forza Horizon 2 coming soon!

Demo/Pre-Download Available Now

We’ve saved the best for last: the Forza Horizon 2 demo for Xbox One is here! Starting today you can download the demo for the game on Xbox Live and get a tantalizing taste for the game we’ll all be playing starting on Sept. 30. In addition the game is now available for pre-order at your local retailer and for pre-order/pre-download in the Xbox Store.

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Gaming Hype: Forza Horizon 2 Launch Trailer Drops. Is Full Of Shiny Cars, EDM, And Awesome

Posted on 09.11.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Forza Horizon 2 will arrive on store shelves at the end of this month (September 30th) so the launch party is starting to get rolling.  It kicked off with a bright, shiny, EDM-fueled trailer that just released a few moments ago.  The new trailer shows off most of what we can expect from the next Horizon game featuring everything from crazy off roading with Rally Fighters to racing trains with WRX’s.  If you avoid blinking you can see a sample of all the cars that will make an appearance in the game but if you want a full list of all 210 cars that will be available at launch hit up the Forza Horizon website.

In addition to the trailer Turn 10 Studios also released some information on how the “Forza Rewards” system will work with Forza Horizon 2.  Essentially, the “Forza Rewards” program will gift free cars to players who have earned x amount of points just from playing Forza games.  According to Turn 10 players started earning Forza Reward points way back in the Forza Motorsport 2 days.  Points are earned by playing and/or doing different things in each Forza game.  In Forza Motorsport 5 points are rewarded based on how many cars a player owns, how many miles they have driven, etc.  The amount of points a player has will determine what “tier” they are in.

Based on the tier a player falls into they will be able to choose up to 5 (non-DLC) cars to add to their Forza Horizon 2 garage right away.  It breaks down like so:

Tier Level Car
2 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
3 2013 Viper GTS
4 2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
5 2014 Local Motors Rally Fighter
6 2013 McLaren P1

Nice line up right?  Still, there may be some out there who have never played the first Forza Horizon game and might be on the fence about this new one.  To those people I would suggest trying out the Forza Horizon 2 demo which comes out for Xbox One on September 16th (next Tuesday).  Anyone that is still on the fence after that can check out our full review of Forza Horizon 2 to get our take on it.

For now check out the new launch trailer below and stay tuned for more Forza Horizon 2 updates!

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Hype: Mercedes Benz Releases “Virutal” Teaser Of AMG-GT Via Instagram

Posted on 09.05.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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In about 5 days Mercedes Benz will officially debut their new AMG-GT coupe to the planet Earth.  However, for those extra anxious to see it Mercedes just dropped a few teaser images of the car on their Instagram account.  The only catch is the images show the virtual version of the AMG-GT which will appear in #DRIVECLUB for Playstation 4.  The two images posted show a rear shot of the AMG-GT and an interior shot but since both pictures are in “twilight” it is hard to make out too many details in either shot.  But hey! It’s better than a stick in the eye!  Click the thumbnails below to check out the two pictures.

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Gaming Hype: Tons Of Codemasters F1 2014 Gameplay Video!

Posted on 09.03.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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The next Formula One game from Codemasters is coming this October (a month earlier than usual) and we are going to present to you four reasons why we have high hopes for this game.  Check out the four “hot lap” videos below taken from actual game play as a preview of things to come.  Naturally, should we get a copy we will do a full review of F1 2014 and let you know if its worth purchasing.  For now we are pretty optimistic!  Now stop reading and start watching below!

Sochi Hot Lap:

Spa Hot Lap:

Red Bull Ring Hot Lap:

Bahrain Hot Lap:

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Gaming Hype: Forza Horizon 2 Demo Coming Next Month

Posted on 08.27.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Despite how packed it seemed to me when I was there, only a small fraction of the planet’s population got to attend the E3 expo or Gamescom this year and thus far those were the only times when Forza Horizon 2 was available to play to the somewhat general public.  However, that is about to change!  It was announced today that a Forza Horizon 2 demo is coming next month!  Yes!  Finally, many more people will get to enjoy driving through a grassy field in a brand new Lamborghini Huracan!  The demo will be available on Xbox Live on September 16th.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that when the game releases on September 30th it will be available for both Xbox One and Xbox 360 the demo next month will only be on Xbox One.  If you already have an Xbox One then you’re set!  If not then well, you’ll have to wait a bit longer before you get a chance to play; OR you can find a friend who has an Xbox One and go play at their house!

Right now we don’t know what cars will be available in the demo but I would not be surprised if it was the same offering of cars offered at the E3 demo with a few added extras.  If you do get to play the demo and are unsure if you want to pick up the game or if you miss out on the demo completely hopefully our review will help you come to a decision!  Stay tuned!

[Source: Microsoft]

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Gaming Hype: Forza Horizon 2’s Social Features Detailed In New Video

Posted on 08.13.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Today, the world got a bit more insight as to just how social Forza Horizon 2 will be once its released this September (9-30-14 to be exact).  Playground Games, the studio behind Forza Horizon 2 released a video for Gamescom (think of it as a European E3) which detailed some of Horizon 2’s social features and how they will be integrated into the different game modes.  After watching the video it appears that Playground Games really wants to make it easy for players to connect with their friends no matter what mode they are in.  It will be easy for players to find out what their friends are doing, contact their friends, and play with their friends from just about any screen in the game.  The video also provides a few more details on the in-game “Car Meets” and how that will change the way players browse tunes and paint schemes.  There have also been tweaks to enhance popular multiplayer modes like “King” and “Infected”.

To get a full rundown of how the social features work just watch the video below!

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