Microsoft revved up August’s Games with Gold free game collection with 2012’s massively popular, open-world driving simulator, Forza Horizon 2, developed by Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios. The game also came a free download of the Forza 10 Year Anniversary skin pack, and the Forza Hub — an all-in-one app for everything Forza.
Not being a “car guy” myself and not having played many of the previous Forza titles (none for any extended period of time, anyway), I was a little apprehensive about this free game because I didn’t think that I would enjoy it as much as someone who was into cars.
However, Forza Horizon 2 proved me wrong. I really enjoyed this game, its mechanics, the graphics, and the overall feel of this free game.
Forza Horizon 2 Gameplay.
The first thing I noticed about Forza Horizon 2 was the game’s incredible graphics. The cars and scenery look nothing short of stunning, and the amount of detail really brings the game to life. I was curious to see how the game would progress in this open-world environment. Would it be a free roam of the entire area, where the player can decide on what they want to do when they want to do it; or would it be a more structured story?
Well, Forza Horizon 2 has a bit of both.
Players are dropped into the Horizon Festival, a racing competition in Southern France and Northern Italy. There they compete in championship series throughout cities to see whom the best driver is, earning points for their finishing position in each of the races. End the series in first place and you become champion of that series.
One interesting aspect of the game is that it has no AI drivers. All drivers which you compete against are “Drivatars” of the people on your friends list. These Drivatars race in a similar style manner that driver would, making as if you are actually racing your friends even though they are not online. Conversely, your Drivatar appears in your friends’ games and earns you credits and experience points while you are offline.
Forza Horizon 2 Cars.
Forza Horizon 2 has a massive amount of cars for players to race. From traditional models to exotic styles and classic cars, this game has no shortage of vehicles for every type of car lover. Players can earn more cars by completing events and races, and by purchasing them in the store with in-game credits. One way to earn a bunch of credits — and even new cars — is through the “Wheel Spin,” which activates each time you level up your driver. You can level up by completing driving tasks such as drifting, burnouts, near misses, and more for experience points.
Once you get your dream car, there are seemingly unlimited ways to customise your vehicle from the look, to the parts, and the specs of each car. As I said before, I am no car guy, so I did not delve too deep into the customisation of the inner workings of a car, but I took a quick look and discovered that you can alter nearly every aspect to increase your car’s performance and truly make the car your own.
Forza Horizon 2 Extras.
Besides taking on the Horizon Festival races, players can drive around the city and try their hand at “Bucket List” challenges. These special challenges are scattered throughout the landscape and allows drivers to get behind the wheel of some exotic cars and complete specific challenges, like driving an Aston Martin through the city of Nice before time expires. Nothing compares to virtually driving up a mountainside going more than 200 miles per hour.
Another interesting part of this game is the skill tree. With each level, you earn a skill point that you can allocate to unlock perks that will increase your score for certain skills. However, the skill tree isn’t like many skill trees I have seen before. Instead of a standard skill tree that filters down, Forza Horizon 2’s skill tree expands outward, so when you unlock a skill, the surrounding skills become available to unlock with more skill points.
Forza Horizon 2 Verdict.
Forza Horizon 2 is a solid game that provides a lot of fun, for racing fans and non-car enthusiasts alike. Also, for an achievement hunter like myself, the achievements come fast and furious once you get going in this game, (sorry for the obvious pun there).
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