2015-01-01

Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island – The Best Game No One’s Talking About

by Yo Snyder

DLC has kind of gotten a bad rap of late. In fact, game
releases overall seemed to have struggled at the end of the year, which why I
find it interesting that Forza Horizon 2
has sort of flown under the radar; and pretty much the only reason that’s been
the case is because everything pretty much worked the way it should. The game
didn’t require a bunch of patches to fix glaring bugs, online functionality was
there and solid right out of the box, and now the game has some high quality
DLC content and yet mostly what you hear about is Halo and Destiny and Assassin’s Creed and DriveClub and The Crew and all the issues associated with those games. Well, if
you want a game that just works, looks great, is a lot of fun, and now has some
killer DLC, pick up Horizon 2 with
the “Storm Island” expansion and travel back to a time when games were just fun
to play.

With all of the chatter and issues around Destiny’s DLC, and the fact that most
DLC these days offer a few new multiplayer maps and what not, I was bit
skeptical about what “Storm Island” would have to offer. The first Horizon also
had a rally expansion, but it ultimately felt disconnected from the rest of the
game and just wasn’t as thrilling or as compelling as I was hoping for.
Fortunately, with “Storm Island”, Playground Games seems to have learned from
the past. In fact, they’ve taken a page from one of the best racing games ever
made; Burnout Paradise. “Storm Island”
is exactly what it sounds like; an island that gets stormy. However, that
brings a whole new and very fun experience to the world of Horizon 2.

Everything about “Storm Island” is extreme. The terrain, the
weather, the cars, the races; it’s a different flavor of the racing in the
world of Horizon 2. It’s also really
fun. What I appreciate most is that, unlike the rally expansion in the first Horizon, this is an area where I can
freely roam and explore; making it feel more like an integrated part of the
world instead of a menu option. Yes, you have to take a ferry there (which is
basically a loading screen), but once there, you have the whole island to
cruise around on. Or, of course, you can enter some new events. These are fun
races that offer some different challenges from the standard races on the
mainland. The terrain is more challenging, and often weather will play a role
as well. The extreme wind and rain, and sometimes fog, isn’t just for looks, it
can makes races pretty tough by making the course hard to see, especially at
night.

To help you handle these more extreme conditions, the
expansion includes some new extreme cars; rugged, rally ready vehicles that
have little trouble with the off-road, cross country, big jump nature of “Storm
Island”. Or, if you prefer, you can head to the garage and upgrade a favorite
car of your own to help it handle the extremes of “Storm Island” (which I did
with my ’69 Dodge Charger painted like the General Lee). Of course, if you
don’t want to compete in the “Storm Island” events, you can cruise around and
try out the new bucket list events, or even go looking for a new barn find
exclusive to “Storm Island”.

All in all, this expansion for Forza Horizon 2 comes loaded with everything I would want in
quality DLC. New areas to explore, new events, new cars, new races; in short, a
new experience that adds to the already excellent fun provided by the main
game. It’s a great reminder of what DLC can be as opposed to what it has
become, especially in some other games *cough* Destiny DLC that locks out previously accessible content *cough*.
Do yourself a favor and get back to the good ol’ days when games didn’t need
countless patches and expansion packs did exactly that; expanded on everything
that made a game fun. In short, just go get Horizon
2
and “Storm Island”. It may just be the best game that no one was talking
about (for all the right reasons).

Score: 6 of 7