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Forza Horizon 2: Fast & Furious / 04th April 2015

The combination of Forza Motorsport and the Fast & Furious series is one that very few would have thought about combining in any sense, and so it was to me that the very mentioning of this drab movie franchise within the same sentence as my beloved driving simulation would provoke only anger. And whilst, thankfully, it is Playground Games’ sterling arcade driving experience that suffers the indignity of the movie tie-in, the end result has actually proven to be, rather surprisingly, a brilliantly executed piece of standalone content that will joyfully while away a few hours of your time.
Comprised of, on the Xbox One version, a massive 15 Gb download, the Fast & Furious expansion actually takes place on a sizeable chunk of the existing Forza Horizon 2 map, and whilst the fundamental gameplay simply rehashes a fair amount of the old content, it still does enough to distance itself from the core experience to offer a genuinely different style of play. Centred on the city of Nice, players can take part in street races, off-road jaunts and an additional two events that see them tasked to best an attack chopper and finally a cargo plane in a desperate attempt to ensure that the characters of the movie series can pull off some daring job.

To aid players in their quest to not only overcome these challenges, but acquire ten vehicles (sadly these are primarily American cars, and mostly Dodge creations at that) in pink slip races, Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious has a new trick up its sleeve, nitrous. Whilst personally, I don’t believe that nitro boosts have any place within the confines of a Forza branded game (Horizon included), I shall let it go this once as it has actually been implemented fairly well. Boosts are only available within events, and the effect that they have on the overall speed of the game is somewhat more realistic and refined than in other racers. The effect of this is highlighted by a slight judder that Playground Games have added to the screen, as well as more obvious audio cues, that serve to give the impression of speed.
Ultimately though, the content included herein is essentially just rehashed from the main game, even the opening to this expansion is lifted straight from the full Horizon 2 release, which perhaps does feel a little bit cheap. There are more issues with the game beyond this though; whilst the driving assists from the main game are still on offer, there are no vehicle upgrades available, no tuning options and it’s also entirely devoid of the ability to change liveries, which is perhaps most disappointing for a Forza branded product. Also, the vehicles unlocked here cannot be taken across to the main game, which would have been a rather nice way of merging the two releases.

However, Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is – for the time being at least – a entirely free standalone game, though this will only be the case for the first two weeks after its launch before a more hefty price tag of £7.99 gets slapped on it. With a flimsy connection to the films (only Ludacris provides voice work for the game), a selection of exotic vehicles (there’s still a Maserati Ghibli and a Bugatti Veyron on offer) and a few more hours of enjoyable, well honed racing, this still remains a must have release for any fan of Playground Games’ genre defining masterpiece, and ultimately, what more could we have possibly asked for than that?

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