During my earlier meeting with Forza Horizon 2 devs Playground Games, they put a heavy emphasis on the racer's new dynamic weather system. Raindrops spatter windshields, turn roads into soggy slicks and reduce visibility. At the time I wasn't able to experience the effect for myself, but after a bit of hands-on time, I've learned one crucial point: Summer showers turn exotic supercars into missiles with all the guidance of a blind penguin.
The key thing to remember is that all weather in Forza Horizon 2 is actually dynamic. A given race may be bathed in sunshine, while the same race, later in the game, might feature a sunny start, followed by a momentary deluge, then a bone-dry race to the finish. In most racing games, weather has a less than realistic effect, but in the case of Forza Horizon 2, a sudden downpour translates to cars sliding off the road at 160 miles per hour. Once the rains come, you should be prepared to drive as cautiously as possible, lest your expensive ride turn into a rolling hunk of scrap.Sliding sideways off the road isn't always a negative, however. Unlike the original Forza Horizon, even simple point-to-point races feature multiple paths to the finish line. One rain-slicked corner might send you careening into a vineyard, only to regain control on an unforeseen dirt road that could shave a few precious seconds from your overall time.
The return of the asynchronous multiplayer drivers known as Drivatars might worry some, given this new emphasis on realistic rain physics, but helpfully, the AI-controlled drivers in Forza Horizon 2 seem far less prone to destruction derby tactics. Even during the rain, the only collisions I had were completely my own fault, and the computer characters seemed to take a more conservative approach to navigating the Italian countryside once the clouds opened up. Granted, they're still driving cars capable of topping 200 miles per hour with little trouble, but the end result is less a high-speed game of bumper cars, and more a rapid test of your braking abilities and reaction time.
Forza Horizon 2 debuts on September 30, leaving scant time for major alterations, so once the racer rolls around, beware the rain. It might look pleasant and inviting, but behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracan, all those tiny droplets may as well be death threats from Lord Poseidon himself.
- Key specs
- Game format Optical disc, Downloadable
- Online features Multiplayer, Voice chat, Video chat, Store, Browser
- Drive capacity 500 GB
- Controller type Wired, Wireless
- Motion controls Camera / optical
- Video outputs HDMI
- Released 2013-11-22