Gaming Hype: Forza Motorsport 6 Will Be Released Before The End Of This Year

Posted on 02.23.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Last month at the Detroit Auto Show Microsoft announced the coming of Forza Motorsport 6 and the new Ford GT as its cover car.  They also suggested that we could expect the game to release before the Ford GT launches in 2016 but that was about the closest thing we got to a release date.  Today, the release window for Forza 6 got a little narrower.  According to a report from IGN, Microsoft exec. Aaron Greenberg mentioned during an interview that Forza Motorsport 6 would be released in “Holiday 2015″ which pretty much means any time between October and December of this year with September being an outside shot but still a possibility.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Forza franchise so hopefully that will ward off any gremlins that may cause the game to be delayed until next year.  Chances are the world will learn more about Forza Motorsport 6 during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year but I doubt we will get an exact release date.  Although, a playable demo would do nicely!  In the meantime stay tuned!

[Source: IGN]

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Gaming Hype: Forza Motorsport 6 Goes Behind The Scenes Of The New Ford GT’s Development

Posted on 01.26.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) just ended and by now I think it is safe to say that the new Ford GT easily stole the show with its striking looks and the debut of its new “Ecoboost” V6 engine.  Further increasing its momentum was the announcement that Forza Motorsport 6 was coming and that the new Ford GT would be the cover car.  Today, thanks to Forza, we get to see a behind the scenes look at how the new Ford GT was created and some insight into the design choices made by the Ford team.  Its a pretty awesome way to spend five and a half minutes!  Check it out below.

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Gaming Hype: What We Want To See In Forza Motorsport 6

Posted on 01.15.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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Just a few days ago we learned that Forza Motorsport 6 is coming and that the new Ford GT supercar will grace the cover.  Although, that is about all we know and I suspect the world won’t learn more about Forza Motorsport 6 until E3 this year.  Which is kind of crazy because it feels like just yesterday when Forza Motorsport 5 came out and I still play Forza 5 quite often because its awesome.  However, its not perfect.  It has its flaws and issues here and there so I’d like to list off some things that I would like to see in Forza Motorsport 6.  Some of these things are just improvements over what was done in Forza 5 and other items may be things that have yet to be done in the Forza Motorsport series.  Ready? Here we go!

Revise the menu system

As much as I like Forza Motorsport 5, one point of frustration for me is their menu layout.  Most of the menu isn’t that bad just a bit cumbersome but the part that annoys me the most is the menu for buying cars.  For some reason they went from organizing the cars by OEM in alphabetical order to organizing the cars in alphabetical order.  In case you have yet to play the latest Forza games and don’t know what I am talking about; it means whenever a player goes to the car buying menu and wants to pick out a car they will start at say an Audi A3 and if they want to just buy a Nissan GT-R they have to scroll right through EVERY CAR that each OEM between Audi and Nissan has in the game before they reach the car they actually want.  Its really annoying.  There are filters but in my experience they are only a minor help as “manufacturer” isn’t a filter option that is available.

They have done the same thing in Forza Horizon 2 but I let it slide in my review because the car list is not as extensive.  So while they’re at it I’d like them to fix this for Forza Horizon 3 as well!

Add night racing and weather

This is something Forza fans have been asking for since Forza Motorsport 3.  They eventually got it but in the Horizon series and not in Forza Motorsport.  The rumor is that Turn 10 Studios very much wanted to include night racing and weather in Forza Motorsport 5 but since FM5 was slated to be a launch title for the Xbox One the team just didn’t have the time to include it.  However, the Xbox One is going on two years old now and I imagine that Turn 10 went to work on Forza 6 not too soon after Forza 5 was released so I am hoping and slightly expecting that they have had the time and space they needed to include weather effects in the next Forza game.  Personally I would be fine even if the weather wasn’t “dynamic” but just an option that players can turn on and off before a race.

Add timed/endurance racing

With world famous races like the 24 hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 Hours, 12 hours of Sebring, and the glamorously prestigious 24 hours of LeMons its kind of surprising that there was not any timed endurance racing in Forza Motorsport 5.  I think it would be a really cool option for multiplayer racing.  Imagine getting your Forza club together and organizing a 2, 4, 6, or 8 hour endurance race?  It may be a tricky thing for Turn 10 to  do but if they could include it I think it would be incredibly cool.

More cars from more racing disciplines

Forza Motorsport 5 saw the inclusion of open wheel cars for the first time in the Forza series and that was awesome but I’d like to see that idea go even further in Forza Motorsport 6.  I want to see lots of WRC rally cars, rallycross cars, Grand-Am style Daytona Prototype cars, Japanese Super GT cars, and proper drift cars.  I am aware that there are Formula Drift and D1 cars in the Forza games now but those are mostly custom liveries and tunes made by the community.  I’d very much like to see Turn 10 create some of those cars in studio and include them out of the box or as part of a DLC car pack.  I would also like to see more liveries for the Indy Cars.

Add more wheels and body kits

This is something that has been lacking since Forza Motorsport 4.  The wheel and body kit options in the last two games are lacking and what is included is starting to become out of date.  One of the best things about the early Forza games was the level of exterior customization that could be achieved and the ability to add real body kits to a particular build.  I understand that there are many cars out there that just don’t have any body kits available for that specific application.  Yet, the default body kit of a front splitter and rear bi-plane wing are starting to get a bit tired.  If Turn 10 cannot incorporate more real body kits then I’d like to see more “default” body kit styles from them.  For example, a way to make any car into a widebody.  Their wheel catalog is also in severe need of an update.  More wheel options are always good!

Last but not least: Figure out how to end this silly kerfuffle with EA and Porsche!

RUF is cool but we want Porsche!  Now, it isn’t like Turn 10 has been ignoring this issue.  Hardly.  However, I think its about time to push a little harder to settle this issue with Porsche licensing.  As of now EA has switched their Need For Speed series to an “every other year” schedule with mobile games inbetween.  As such, its likely that the Porsche license isn’t as important to them now as it was back when they pushed Porsche as a main feature of their games.  If there was ever a time when EA may be willing to loosen their grip on the Porsche brand, it is probably now.  Hopefully Turn 10 Studios has a hard charging negotiator at the table with both EA and Porsche right now to work something out.  I would not hold my breath for this one but my fingers remain crossed.

Well, there you have it.  That’s my list for what I’d like to see in Forza Motorsport 6.  Do you disagree with anything on my wishlist.  Is there something you want to see that I may have left out? Let me know in the comments or tweet it to us at @MotorworldHype

If any more Forza Motorsport 6 news comes out we will do our best to keep you updated!

 

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Hype: New Forza Horizon 2 “G-Shock Car Pack” DLC Lets Players Hoon Nissan IDx Concept (Video)

Posted on 01.07.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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The latest DLC pack for Forza Horizon 2 dubbed the “G-Shock Car Pack” includes a pretty eclectic mix of rides.  Most notably the Nissan IDx concept AKA “the Datusn 510 rebirth” is now available to slide and race around Europe!  The car pack also features a few old school rides and a pretty awesome truck!  Its available right now on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 5 bucks and to me it seems like it would be 5 bucks well spent!  Check out the full car list and official trailer below.

G-Shock Car Pack List:

2015 Nissan IDx NISMO
1980 Subaru BRAT GL
2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Shelby
1975 Ford Bronco
1953 Ferrari 500 Mondial

Trailer:

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12 Days Of Hype: Forza Horizon 2 Is The Virtual Automotive Theme Park All Car Lovers Need To Visit

Posted on 12.23.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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There are lots of things many of us want to do in our lives that we just can’t.  For example: I have always wanted to plow through giant hay bales in a Lamborghini Huracan on a European countryside.  Sadly, such a thing is out of my reach.  …Or is it?  Forza Horizon 2 is the latest game in the Forza franchise and just as its predecessor did, it encourages ultimate automotive mayhem and mischief!  There are all kinds of events and races that players can participate within the world of Horizon 2 that it is easy to get sucked into the game for hours.  If you want a bit more info as to what’s in store then check out the review we did when Horizon 2 was released.  The cliff notes is that its a great game that any car lover would enjoy.  It is also available for Xbox 360 and Xbox One (although the version we reviewed was Xbox One).  If you want even more info on the game check out the source link below.

[Source: Forza Horizon 2]

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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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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: 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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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: 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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