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Forza Horizon 2

Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Release Date: Sept. 30, 2014


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Xbox One Review - 'Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious'

by Adam Pavlacka on April 9, 2015 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Forza Horizon 2 is taking racing fans some places the series has never gone before: off the track, through the rain, and around the diverse landscapes of Southern Europe.

Licensed games based on films don't have the best of reputations. The last Fast & Furious game, Fast & Furious: Showdown, was so bad that Activision didn't even bother to send out review copies. When Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious was announced, we were worried that it would be another quick cash-in. Thankfully, the only real negative to this game is the unwieldy name.

Designed as a "stand-alone expansion," Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is analogous to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It takes the core elements of Forza Horizon 2, repurposes them into a smaller, focused game, and ships at a budget price. The result is a short but sweet gameplay experience that benefits from AAA polish without breaking the bank. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious doesn't get quite as crazy as Blood Dragon, but it does add a "Furious 7" body kit to the standard Forza Horizon 2 experience.

First off, there is no player progression or economy. You don't level up or unlock perks; you simply drive. Since there is no money, cars can't be purchased. Instead, you win them by racing for pink slips. This is explained in-game by Tej Parker (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), who recruits you to race for him. Your goal is to win the cars needed because Brian (a reference to the Brian O'Connor character from the "Fast and the Furious" films) needs them for a job. Tej is the only character to make an appearance in the game (and only via voice-over), but then again, the cars are the star of the show here.

If you've seen "Furious 7," most of the cars found within Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious should be immediately recognizable. You'll be able to unlock all of the following, which includes Dom's custom Dodge Charger R/T and the Lamborghini Huracán, which serves as the cover car for Forza Horizon 2.

  1. 1970 Dodge Charger R/T
  2. 1970 Plymouth Cuda
  3. 1970 Plymouth Road Runner
  4. 1998 Toyota Supra
  5. 2011 Bugatti Veyron
  6. 2012 Nissan GT-R
  7. 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  8. 2013 McLaren P1
  9. 2014 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
  10. 2014 Maserati Ghibli S
  11. 2015 Dodge Charger R/T
  12. 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T

The Lamborghini Huracán is unlocked by visiting the Forza Hub. Four additional cars are available to play in the Bucket List challenges, but those are not unlockable and cannot be added to the garage. They are only available while performing the specific challenges in which they appear. More cars can be seen driving around the streets. You can race against those models, but you cannot drive them.

Most of the included vehicles are also available as DLC for Forza Horizon 2 via the Furious 7 Car Pack. As for the remaining four, the McLaren P1 and the Lamborghini Huracán are identical to their Forza Horizon 2 counterparts, while the Bugatti Veyron and Nissan GT-R are variants of what can be purchased in the standard game.

Note that there is no cross-car support between the two games. You can't import your Forza Horizon 2 cars into Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, and you can't export these cars into Forza Horizon 2. The sole exception is the award car that you get for finding all 20 bonus boards in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious. Once you collect those and check the Forza Hub, you'll be awarded a Toyota Supra RZ with a custom Fast & Furious livery for use within Forza Horizon 2.

Some of the standard Forza Horizon 2 features have been cut from Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, including Kinect support, car upgrades, road trips, tuning options and custom designs. Club support has also been removed. Most other features are still here, including a barn find, bonus boards, the bucket list, photo mode, online freeroam, regular races, speed cameras and showcase events. Full stat tracking is present, along with complete telemetry support. You may not be able to tune your cars, but you can see what they are doing.

The world map used for Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is a portion of what's playable in Forza Horizon 2. You have access to roughly one-third of the overall Forza Horizon 2 map, including the towns of Nice and Saint-Martin. The airport, docks and golf course are also available. If you try to leave the available area by running through a barricade, the game fades out and resets you on the map. So long as you stay within the designated map area, you are free to explore off-road as much as you like. In fact, going off-road is pretty much required if you want to snag all of the in-game collectibles.

There are no new locations to explore, so you don't get access to any of the cities from the film (sadly, no crazy skyscraper jumps), but what's here still offers plenty of driveable territory.

Because it's running on the Xbox One, Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious makes use of the Forza Drivatar system. If you have any friends who have played Forza Motorsport 5 or Forza Horizon 2, AI opponents based on their driving style will appear in-game. If your friends list is short, the game will pull in random Drivatars from other players. The Drivatar technology was one of the more impressive bits of Forza Horizon 2, and it remains a draw here. Having AI opponents that aren't always predictable is a big plus.

The one major feature that is new to Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is nitrous. You can't use it while driving around the map, but it will be enabled in some of the events. You also have the option of enabling nitrous for online multiplayer matchups. The addition of nitrous may not sound like a big deal, but it changes the way you think about racing. It is used in a realistic style (versus arcade), so timing is important. You can't just mash on the nitrous and expect instant top speed.

Music options are limited, with only one radio station available. It offers a mix of songs from Forza Horizon 2 and music from "Furious 7," including "Get Low" and "Now." None of the songs are bad, but the limited selection means that you'll quickly be hearing repeats. Given the high level of polish on the other elements of the game, the lack of options here is immediately noticeable.

If you're just playing through the main story (and going for the Achievements), Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious can be completed in 2-3 hours. If you're going for full completion, plan on doubling that time (unless you cheat and look up a map). That doesn't include the time spent online, racing against other players, or trying to bump your way up the individual leaderboards on each of the speed traps.

Online multiplayer is comprised solely of online freeroam. Once you join a freeroam session, you'll see other players on the map. You can drive around and chat, or you can set up a competitive event. You can play standard races, team races and arena-based modes. Races include circuits, cross country, drag races, sprints and street race options. It's like what you'll find in Forza Horizon 2, just with the addition of nitrous, which is enough of a twist to keep it interesting.

Judged as a stand-alone budget title, Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is surprisingly robust and worth playing. As a piece of Forza Horizon 2 DLC, it's a harder call. If you download the game before April 10 (while it is available for free), it's a no-brainer. Don't hesitate; just get it and enjoy. Once the price bumps back up to $10, the decision comes down to your ownership of Forza Horizon 2 and the "Furious 7" Car Pack. If you already own the car pack, buying this is going to feel like double-dipping on the content.

Score: 8.0/10

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