A tour de Forza.
With Forza Motorsport 5 running along swimmingly, Turn 10 Studios has switched its attention to its other series, Forza Horizon, which debuted just under two years ago in October 2012. Back then, I reviewed the title with high marks, celebrating the freedom of its open world but wanting more of the technical racing that the main series is known for. Luckily, Forza Horizon 2 looks to offer much more challenge, just by the hands-on demo available at Microsoft's booth at the recent E3 2014.
Choosing from three vehicles—the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, a Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4, and Nissan GT-R Black Edition—I experienced a twelve-man race along a coastal road populated by various Drivatars, A.I. racers who supposedly drive like the Gamertag-users that they're meant to represent. I started off behind the pack since the player before me decided to leave mere seconds before the start of the race, but I was able to pick up the pace easily. And I played the demo over again, just to make sure I jotted down those car names down properly.
Interestingly, the racing line didn't strictly follow the roads but through the fields and over the hills, though it's not too strange since it's supposed to provide the shortest route anyway. Between the jostling and the trading paint, I earned various points for almost everything, including drafting bonuses, clean racing, clean passing, awesome wreckages, and skill chaining. Tightly cornering through checkpoints, I was able to pass enough competitors to claim fourth place.
As usual, checking the mini-map in the lower left-hand corner every once in a while is smart as a way to prepare for future turns, and you have the ability to rewind time if you make a mistake. But it's more important to pay attention to oncoming traffic, especially in this race on a two-lane road (if you include the oncoming lane). To make matters worse but much more beautiful, the dynamic weather, 24-hour-cycle system kicked in with the rain making the roads slick.
Though there won't be any beta for Forza Horizon 2, a demo will be available in the fall. The final tally for the car roster will be beyond two hundred, though without Porsche, and the livery editor from FM5 will be transferred over to FH2 as well. Forza Horizon 2 will release September 30, 2014 exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox One.