E3 – Forza Horizon 2 Hands-On Preview

The original Forza Horizon was a great amalgamation of open world driving and driving simulator track-based racing. Forza Horizon 2 continues the peanut butter and chocolate-esque combination of the two on the Xbox One.

Instead of returning to Colorado, the sequel takes place in southern Europe which contains some of the most beautiful and diverse terrains in the world.  The playable area is also designed to be three times bigger than the original. With this picturesque new location, the detail on the cars themselves has been heightened as well to look as realistic as possible. You can see individual water droplets as they run down the side of your car and dirt streaks as you barrel around off-road.

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I’ve already spoken about the tactile rumble in the triggers of the Xbox One controller and how beneficial they will be to racing game players. They felt great back when I played Forza 5 for the first time, and they feel just as good now. You can feel the throttle start to shudder when you’re pushing the car too hard into a turn. If you don’t listen to the car, you’ll find yourself sliding sideways off the road and into the bushes. Ordinarily this would be a problem but with as wide open as the world is in the game, it’ll be a while before you smash into a wall or boundary. I found myself being pushed off the road into the bushes then had to speed through a cropfield before emerging back on the road a few hundred yards away.

Again, thanks to the tactile rumble, I was able to feel the difference in the control I had over the car. They were pretty static on the asphalt but as soon as my tires hit dirt or a wet road, the triggers started to rumble signifying the engine redlining and attempting to establish traction with the ground.

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Speaking of wet roads, the weather now plays a more significant role in races. Thanks to the dynamic weather system, about midway through a race, it started raining heavily and I struggled to keep my car on the road because of it. This feature is a great added bonus because it’s something players are going to have to deal with as it spices up races and keeps racers at the front of the pack from simply cruising to the finish.

Forza Horizon 2 is a ton of fun without getting too easy and gamers can look forward to blasting around the gorgeous southern Europe in a brand new Lamborghini Huracán on Xbox 360 and Xbox One on September 30th.

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