Dominating the larger part of Microsoft’s E3 2014 booth is a demo for Forza Horizon 2, the latest Xbox One exclusive racer from developer Playground Games. I had the opportunity to go hands-on with it yesterday, here’s what I think.
Forza Horizon 2 trades the Americana backdrop of its predecessor’s Colorado, USA setting for the stunning and varied beauty of southern Europe, offering up an even bigger and more open world than ever before. I raced my yellow Lamborghini Huracan through vineyards and up the precarious mountains roads of the French Riviera, ending in a small coastal town overrun by the game’s fictitious street racing festival, ‘Horizon’. The game world promises to be three times larger than that of the original Forza Horizon, and if the rapidly changing scenery of the demo is at all indicative of the game as a final product, you can expect to see a wide range of environments during your time with the game.
Speaking of environments, Forza Horizon 2 sports some truly breathtaking vistas supported by amazing next generation visuals. Running on a modified version of Forza Motorsport 5’s graphics engine, improvements such as full dynamic lighting for all light sources in the game means everything looks that much more natural, that much more real. New weather effects – a series first – are also a stunning feast for the eyes; I was racing in cockpit view as it began to rain and could not help but marvel at how individual raindrops begin to streak across your windshield and can be seen gathering on the hood of your painstakingly modeled supercar.