Forza Horizon 2 Hands-On Preview [E3 2014]

Forza Horizon 2

I’ll admit that I’m not a car person, and could care less about what is referred to as car porn. It’s just not for me, and never will be, especially since, in all honesty, I don’t even want to own a car. Driving is fun at times, but it gets tedious after a while, and dealing with insurance, repairs and everything else is a money sink that I’d rather not have to worry about. Yet, I quite enjoy playing racing games, especially arcade ones.

Considering how I started this article, it’s likely that you’ll be surprised when I say that Forza Horizon 2 was one of the few games that I was most excited about going into E3. It’s an arcade racer which caters to the rest of us, as opposed to the gearheads (no offence meant) who the traditional Forza games are made for, yet it remains in tune with its series’ core values. Because of that, it’s steeped in more car culture than most of its peers, without being overbearing.

Earlier this week, we were able to go behind-the-scenes of E3 in order to watch a developer-run preview of the game, followed by getting our hands on it ourselves. During the demonstration, quite a few things were highlighted and talked about, those being enhanced Driveatar AI, which not only analyzes how players drive but also where they drive and replicates it, unbelievable-looking and thoroughly realistic dynamic weather, and a wide open world that was inspired by parts of France and Northern Italy. All of that stuff was shown in detail during the preview, too, as we watched the player race through old streets before taking a detour through destructible vineyards.


Watching the driver follow a friendly Driveatar through shortcuts in an impromptu race was a treat, as was hearing that players can theoretically follow their pals’ ghosts to hidden collectibles. The car clubs that were shown were also pretty cool, especially since liveries can be exchanged. Actually…speaking of those, it’s important to mention that the game’s perk system will allow players to earn an extra cut on each livery and paint job they sell.

Adding onto things, Forza Horizon 2 will apparently include an incredible amount of content, a lengthy list of cars (which come in different varieties), more exotic showcases and an improved Horizon Festival. That, and more music, which is something that played a large role last time around.

Due to a heavy schedule and time constraints, I didn’t get back to Microsoft’s booth to play Forza Horizon 2 until early this afternoon, but I’m glad that I did. Only one countrified race was available for play, but it was enough, and it was great. If the rest of the game is just as good, then it’s going to end up being a beautiful, 1080p masterpiece.

*Note: All of the screenshots we used for this article were taken from the original Forza Horizon.