Gaming Hype: Forza Horizon 2 “Storm Island” Expansion Coming Tomorrow & Bringing Off Road Crazyness With It (UPDATED)

Posted on 12.15.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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I have been playing Forza Horizon 2 for a few months now and I don’t think I am even half way through everything there is to do in the game; yet Playground Games is ready to drop a whole new metric ton of extra stuff on us in the new “Storm Island” expansion pack.  Storm Island is a “mysterious island somewhere off the coast of Italy” where players can participate in 80 new events in new environments including trails where the sky is darkened by volcanic ash in new off road cars like rally cars and super stadium trucks.  Check out the trailer below to see more.  If you want the Storm Island expansion it comes out tomorrow (Dec. 16th 2014) for $19.99.  If you are a Forza VIP member then you can get the expansion for $9.99.

UPDATE: Scroll below the video for the official press release which lists new events, and the new cars that come with the expansion pack.

[Source: IGN]

Press Release:

The epic road trip continues on Xbox One with the expansion for “Forza Horizon 2.”

Storm clouds are gathering; a fierce tropical storm is about to break. Several of the world’s most iconic off-roaders are lined up, poised to spring with a punch of the gas pedal. Thunder crashes in the distance, an omen of the dangerous terrain and extreme elevation changes that await. Drivers grip their steering wheels, ready to tackle the epic challenges ahead. Welcome to a new land of extremes with the “Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island” expansion!

The Storm Island expansion brings fans more of what they love about the year’s best racing game: more beauty, more fun, more challenge, and more ways to compete with and against friends. The “Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island” expansion is available now exclusively on Xbox One and can be purchased from the Xbox Live Store for $20. “Forza Horizon 2” VIP owners will receive a 50 percent discount on the expansion, making the price just $10 for VIP members.

Here’s a breakdown of the new content coming with the Storm Island expansion.

Dangerous Beauty

This expansion pack for “Forza Horizon 2” features a new location to explore, the mysterious and foreboding Storm Island. This is a land of gorgeous variety and monumental challenge, with sudden and dramatic terrain changes that push players and their cars to the limit. Storm Island also features the most severe weather conditions ever seen in a “Forza” game, including fierce tropical storms and thick fog that will add an entirely new level of challenge. On Storm Island, the weather and the world combine to present players with extreme adventure every time they get behind the wheel.

Storm Island has been built with the “Forza Horizon 2” engine and infused with brand new technology that showcases the beauty of the world. New features like swaying trees in extreme windstorms and the rays of the sun cutting through thick fog bring the adventure and splendor of Storm Island to life in ways players have never experienced before.

Action-Packed Fun

Storm Island brings more intense racing action with an emphasis on all-out, off-road fun. The expansion features 90 new events with five new event types players can test their skills in, and all have been designed to bring the most out of both the driver as well as every vehicle in the game. These new events include:

Rampage

Rampage events are point-to-point off-road sprints, where the driver will contend with obstacles and smashables (including the brand new smashable chicanes) before crossing the finish line.

Brawl

Grab your favorite four-wheeled weapon and strap in for these off-road circuit races featuring extreme terrain, lots of obstacles to take advantage of, and new smashables to wreck.

Extreme Cross Country

Fans have played Cross Country events in “Forza Horizon 2” but have never played them quite like this. With more extreme elevation changes, a variety of different terrain types, and strong storms to contend with, Storm Island’s Extreme Cross Country races are not for the faint of heart.

Cross Country Circuit

One sprint in a Cross Country race will get players’ heart rates up. But how about multiple laps? In Cross Country Circuit events, players will be taking on those same unpredictable challenges in multi-lap races that will test both their stamina and skill.

Gauntlet

Gauntlet events have become the stuff of legend on Storm Island. These point-to-point races are held only at night, and take place during the types of storms that normally have proper names attached to them. These epic races are long and dangerous – with minimal signage to guide players during the race. Just completing a Gauntlet event is challenging enough. Victory will take a special combination of skill, bravery, and luck.

The Adventure Never Stops

Storm Island is a massive expansion of “Forza Horizon 2,” with tons of content and replay value. In addition to new event types listed above, Storm Island will include new items and locations to explore – including new roads and bonus boards, a brand new Car Meet, new Bucket List challenges, new speed trap and speed zone leaderboards, and additional Rivals events.

Players can head online to discover awesome new content as well, including four new multilplayer Playground arenas, 20 unique online race routes, six Gauntlet events, three new Showdown events (accessible from the new Storm Island Car Meet location), and five online championship event types including Brawl, Rampage, Extreme Cross Country, Cross Country Circuit, and Mixed events, each of which contain tons of variety in terms of weather, time of day, etc.

The pack will also include five new iconic cars and trucks (see below for full descriptions of the five cars in the pack), plus a new barn find car (which we’re keeping secret for now). For players who enjoy upgrading their vehicles, we’ve also got new off-road suspension, tire, and transmission upgrades that can be applied to any of “Forza Horizon 2’s” 200+ cars. In addition, we’ve also added new rally-inspired body kit upgrades for a select number of legendary cars in game.

All of this amazing content, plus 23 new Xbox Live achievements (adding up to 500 gamerscore points to your total) makes the “Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island” expansion an amazing value for “Forza” fans.

For more on the “Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island” expansion, check out the livestream on the official “Forza Motorsport” Twitch channel, which will be beginning at 11 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

 

“Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island” Car Descriptions

2013 Robby Gordon #7 Speed Energy Drink Stadium Super Truck

With 600 horsepower and enough suspension travel to absorb monstrous airtime, Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Truck was built to conquer practically any terrain. Gordon started the Stadium Super Truck series in 2012 and won its inaugural championship title in 2013. Modeled after the stadium off-road racing made famous by off-road legend Mickey Thompson, Stadium Super Trucks crash, bash, and jump their way around real-life road courses and unique arena courses. The trucks are tube frame, full-race vehicles, similar to a trophy truck. For those looking for something to slide around, catch huge air, or just simply destroy property with, the #7 is ready and waiting to take all they can dish out.

2013 MINI X-Raid All4 Racing Countryman

Since its introduction to the Dakar Rally – the most grueling off-road race in the world – the MINI X-Raid has been the most dominant vehicle in the field. With veteran driver Stephane Peterhansel – aka “Mr. Dakar” – behind the wheel in 2012, the MINI won its first Dakar. Peterhansel came back in 2013 to win again in the MINI. Both years the other three MINIs of the four-car team all placed in the top ten. Built specifically for competition in the Dakar, the MINI X-Raid is all-wheel-drive and is powered by a BMW twin-turbo diesel engine. These rigs are built to withstand the conditions of racing across a multitude of surfaces at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Players won’t find much of the production Countryman here, these ALL4 racing MINIs are bespoke chassis and drive systems. What they will find is a thrilling driving experience that’s somewhere between a world-class rally car and Baja buggy.

2014 Ford Ranger T6 Rally Raid

Ford continues its endeavors to win in off-road racing with its 2014 Dakar Rally effort in the Ranger T6 Rally Raid. Drawing on the proven expertise of South African Neal Woolridge, who beat out several American constructors for the chance to build this effort, Ford has gone to great lengths to deliver a true contender for the Dakar. Under the hood is a military dust-proofed 32-valve V8 – a la Ford Mustang – connected to a Sadev six-speed sequential transmission. The body shell resembles a Ranger four-door 4X4 but, underneath, the chassis and suspension are completely custom. Suspension travel and durability are paramount since this truck will be travelling at more than 100 mph across surfaces that most trucks would crawl over. This will be Ford’s first factory effort in the Dakar and, by the look of things, they are aiming to finish strong.

1981 Ford Fiesta XR2

The smallest of Fords was a success from the moment it was produced in 1976. While not the first front-wheel drive Ford (give that credit to the Taunus) it was the first widely-selling FWD car for the company. U.S.-bound Fiesta models were built in Germany, offering the appeal of a German-built Ford. With an attractive hot hatch look and plenty of pep, the Fiesta just begged to be tossed around. Other than sporty decals and alloy wheels, the one thing the Fiesta lacked was a performance model. Upon testing the waters with the Fiesta Supersport, Ford built the XR2 which brought a stiffened suspension and a 1.6-liter crossflow Kent engine. Given the already nimble and light base, the nearly 100 horsepower of the XR2 really got the party started. When considering this is where the Fiesta of today got its roots, it’s no wonder the XR2 looks so good against the competition.

1992 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

A turbo-charged, four-cylinder, 4WD, four-wheel steering, four-door sedan, sold in limited numbers makes the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 a treasured piece of JDM history. In fact, without it, the later Lancer Evo might not even exist.  The Galant VR-4 was the platform that Mitsubishi developed its impeccable AWD system and, in the process, won no less than six rally championships. It also makes for a barrel of thrills to drive. The VR-4 ignites off the line, cuts into corners, and brakes with precision. The engine develops potent horsepower put to the wheels via a center differential that detects wheel slippage and re-directs power to the axle with the most traction. Four-wheel steering engages at speeds more than 31 mph and turns the rear wheels up to 1.5 degrees to enable optimum turn angle and cornering stability. One look at the VR-4 equipped with the bull bar, the huge halogen fog lamps and roof vents and dressed in its classic Mitsubishi race livery make it obvious this car means business.

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12 Days Of Hype: Playseat Racing Evolution Top Gear Edition Simulator Seat

Posted on 12.13.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Counting today there are only 12 days until Christmas Eve!  So we are going to post at least one awesome thing each of those days that we think would be awesome gifts for the gear head in your life (or for yourself).  We are starting off the first day with the Playseat Racing Evolution Top Gear Edition simulator seat.  We previewed this set up at E3 earlier this year and its finally available for sale in the USA.  The Evolution Seat is a great way for gamers to play their favorite racing games like Forza, Gran Turismo, F1 2014 and PC games like iRacing.  As a bonus this seat is decked out in a Top Gear theme featuring their “test dummy” checkered design, the Top Gear logo, and The Stig him-her-eh-itself!

Its built to handle many types of wheel/pedal set ups like Logitec, Fanatec, Thrustmaster, and Mad Catz.  Its adjustable for people of different heights, and can fold to save space when not in use.  We have the Forza edition rig and we love it!  Its a bit on the pricy side at $499 but its totally worth it!

You can order it by clicking here and you can check out our preview of it from E3 as well as some more pictures (just click the thumbnails) below.

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DISCLAIMER: Playseat Racing is a promotional partner of MotorworldHype.com

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Gaming Hype: Mazda Teams Up With Forza Horizon 2 and Xbox To Launch 2016 MX-5

Posted on 12.04.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Looking forward to getting your hands on the new MX-5? Me too.  I got up close to it at the LA Auto Show but the majority of the country hasn’t had a chance to get up close and personal with the new roadster yet.  However! They can now do that virtually on Xbox One and Xbox 360.  Today Mazda announced that they are teaming up with Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games, and Xbox to promote their new roadster.

Things will kick off with a branded interactive hub that will show up on Xbox consoles in which users can virtually take a closer look at the 2016 MX-5.  From there players can enter a livery design contest via Forza Horizon 2.  Using the game’s editor players can create their own design on an older MX-5 (the ’94 model to be exact) and then submit it for the contest.  Two finalists will be chosen and sent to the South By Southwest festival next march in a “design faceoff”, the winner of which will get nearly $4k worth of prizes, including an Xbox One console, a 55 inch curved tv, audio system, and the MadCatz steering wheel for Xbox One.  The winning design will also be made available to everyone to download for free.  Also, keep in mind that this contest is open to both Xbox One and Xbox 360 users.  Scroll down for the press release which includes all the steps to entering the contest in addition to the official rules.  Good luck!

Press Release:

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — For the second consecutive year, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is teaming up with Xbox, this time to promote the launch of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 and give Forza Horizon 2 players the chance to enter the Mazda MX-5 Livery Design Contest. An interactive experience with the 2016 Mazda MX-5 and information on the design contest will be available through the Mazda branded hub on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

The Mazda MX-5 Livery Design Contest, which is now live through January 4, 2015, will give Forza Horizon 2 players the opportunity to design the livery for the 1994 Mazda MX-5 currently available in-game. Two finalists will be awarded a trip in March to South by Southwest 2015 for the final design showdown. The winner will walk away with a new 55-inch curved TV, audio music system, Xbox One Kinect console and one MadCatz Racing Wheel estimated at $3,499.95. Additionally, the winning design will be made available in Forza Horizon 2 for all Xbox One and Xbox 360 users as a free gift.

“In addition to shining the spotlight on the 2016 Mazda MX-5 through the partnership, we also wanted to give Forza fans a way to engage and pick up some cool prizes and see their work featured in the game,” said Russell Wager, vice president of marketing, MNAO. “Fans of the Mazda MX-5 are some of the most passionate enthusiasts out there and we look forward to seeing the creativity that comes from this contest.”

To enter the Mazda MX-5 Miata Livery Design Contest users must:

  • Sign into the Xbox Live service via an Xbox 360 or Xbox One console
  • Enter Forza Horizon 2, select the available 1994 Mazda MX-5 car and follow the instructions within the game to design a livery using the tools available within the game
  • Once finished, participants will be required to save their design with the name “MX5contest” and upload it to the Forza Horizon 2 storefront during the contest period
  • Entries will be accepted now through January 4, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST

A semi-finalist judging panel, consisting of representatives from Microsoft, Mazda and Turn 10 Studios will determine up to five potential semi-finalists. All submissions will be evaluated on a 100-point scale; with an emphasis on originality (33 points max), aesthetic design (33 points max) and technical proficiency (34 points max). The semi-finalists will be posted on the Mazda hub on Xbox Live from 12:01 a.m. EST on January 26, 2015 through 11:59 p.m. EST on February 12, 2015 for the online public voting phase of the contest. The two semi-finalists with the most votes will be flown to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas where a winner will be determined by three special judges; Derek Jenkins, Mazda’s director of design, Major Nelson from Xbox Live and Forest Byrd with TC9700Gaming.

The official rules can be found on the Mazda hub on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A second contest with Microsoft will be announced at South by Southwest 2015.

This is the second time Mazda has teamed up with Microsoft. In 2013, Mazda made history by being the first automotive manufacturer to globally reveal a vehicle, the 2014 Mazda3, in conjunction with a live concert through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.  For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.

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Gaming Hype: NAPA Chassis Forza Horizon 2 DLC Drops Today. Is An Eclectic Mix Of Classic Muscle And Modern Performance (Video)

Posted on 12.02.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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The latest DLC car pack for Forza Horizon 2 is now available and it has a pretty interesting mix of cars.  The NAPA Chassis pack features classic muscle cars like the Buick GSX but also has pretty crazy modern super cars like the McLaren 650S.  Oh, they also threw in a Range Rover for good measure.  Basically, its going to be really easy to hoon around in the cars provided and it will only set you back 5 bucks!  As a bonus the Lotus Esprit V8 is available to everyone for free this month.  Check out the official NAPA Chassis DLC trailer below to see all the cars you’ll get for dropping a Lincoln.

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Hype Video: Ubisoft’s “The Crew” Launches Tomorrow But Celebrates With Crazy New Trailer Today

Posted on 12.01.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Despite some delays and other hurdles, Ubisoft’s new racer “The Crew” is almost here!  One of the few “current gen” (AKA Xbox One & PlayStation 4) driving games available The Crew is pretty much as its title suggests: its all about joining and/or forming a crew and going on crazy missions with sports cars, supercars, and hyper cars alike.  Think of it as if someone took all the heist missions in the Fast & Furious film franchise and made them into a video game sans Vin Diesel.  If that sounds like a good time then you can pick up “The Crew” tomorrow (Dec. 2nd 2014) for Xbox One, PlaysStation 4 and PC.  If you need more convincing check out the new launch trailer below.  Also, below that you can watch a quick video of my impressions of “The Crew” after I played an early demo at E3 this year.

Launch Trailer:

E3 2014 Gameplay Impressions:

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Gaming Hype: Falken Tire Car Pack DLC Launches For Forza Horizon 2 (With Video)

Posted on 11.04.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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The DLC train keeps on rolling for Forza Horizon 2 as their latest DLC drops today in the form of the Falken Tire Car Pack.  For only $5 bucks you can get six cars that would probably cost over $300k in real life.  That is a pretty darn good deal if you ask me!  So what’s included?  Allow me to fill you in!  In the Falken Tire Car Pack players will get access to the following:

-2014 Alfa Romeo 4C
-2014 BMW M4 Coupe
-2014 Chevrolet SS
-1988 Lamborghini Jalpa
-1969 Toyota 2000 GT
-1990 Subaru Legacy RS

I am personally looking forward to hooning a pristine 2000GT all over Europe!  For the official trailer for the car pack check out the video below.  If you want to grab this DLC for yourself its available NOW for $5 in the Xbox Live Marketplace.  If you bought the “Car Pass” when you got Forza Horizon 2 then this Car Pack is already yours!

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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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