We’ve already reviewed Forza Horizon 2, the open world racing game from Playground Games, Sumo Digital, and Turn 10 Studios. In an interesting twist, the people at Forza have teamed up with Universal Studios to bring us Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious (not a mouthful at all!) just ahead of the launch of Furious 7 next week. The game is a standalone expansion and as such does not require Forza Horizon 2 to play, and until April 10th it’s free (and yours to play forever) – after which you’ll have to shell out $9.99USD to get behind the wheel of some of the cars from the Fast & Furious franchise. So just how does this stand up to the full version of Forza Horizon 2? We take a look in our Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious review.
While the story in Forza Horizon 2 pretty much mirrored that of Forza Horizon, I was curious to see how they’d fit the Fast & Furious story into the game. After the opening sequence, which is a mix of clips from the Fast & Furious franchise and in-game footage, your phone rings and the unmistakable voice of Tej Parker (voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) wants to recruit you to acquire 10 cars for the Fast & Furious crew – all of course from the upcoming Furious 7 movie. From there you’re tasked with a series of challenges across the south of France, around the Nice area, in which you will acquire one of the vehicles upon completion – no simple jacking of cars though, everything must be won by completing races or other tasks Forza Horizon-style. Make no mistake, this is a Forza Horizon game but at the same time the Fast & Furious branding still manages to comes through throughout the game. Even the achievements are “branded” to an extent with names that give nods to events in the Fast & Furious movies like “Too Soon Junior” (use all your nitrous in the first half of a race), “2 Fast” (perform 5 “Speed” skills), “2 Furious” (perform 10 “Wreckage” skills), “Tokyo Drift” (perform 20 “Drift” or “E-Drift” skills), and others.
As mentioned above, the game requires you to roam the south of France looking for the ten Furious 7 cars as tasked by Tej for the Fast & Furious crew. The game plays the same as Forza Horizon 2, however as a bonus Tej has been so kind as to add nitrous boosts to your vehicles for that extra bit of speed. Aside from that, you have the same free roam options, races against other vehicles – including a combat chopper, a hidden barn find, festival boards to smash, speed traps, Bucket List, Reward sign smashing, and weather effects. Missing from the game though is the skill tree system, but given the limited map you have to work with and the story it’s not a big deal and doesn’t have an impact on the gameplay. You also can’t customize your rides like you can in the full version of the game, but given that you are being tasked by Tej to go after specific vehicles, it’s not something that really comes up during the game. There is however a couple new event types including reaching your destination within a specified time without exceeding the damage limit.
In addition, partway through the game you get introduced to the Forza Hub app, and are awarded the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan L2 610-4 to use in this expansion. If you’ve played previous games you’ll also receive 250,000 credits for use in Forza Motorsport 5 and Forza Horizon 2.
The vehicles drive awesome as one would expect out of the Forza franchise, and you can really feel the difference between driving the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T or the 2012 Nissan GT-R. And hey, if Dennis McCarthy, Picture Car Coordinator for Furious 7, says they drive the same in game, who am I to argue?
One thing to note though. The game is very short. After my first hour and 15 minutes of playing I’d already hit 19/26 achievements for 660/1000 gamerscore and at the three hour mark, I only need two more cars to complete the main story and hit all the achievements. You could do it even faster if you don’t get sidetracked just roaming around or using the Fast Travel feature to return to the garage, but hey – where’s the fun in that?
Given this is a portion of the full Forza Horizon 2 game, the graphics are just as great and the new cars are fantastic looking. Some of the cars include a 2012 Nissan GT-R, 1970 Plymouth Road Runner, 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, an armour plated 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and of course what Fast & Furious game would be complete without Dominic Toretto’s 1970 Dodge Charger R/T? As with the surrounding French countryside environment, these new car models are a treat to look at while racing or stopping to snap photos using either the in-game photo mode or the Xbox One screenshot feature.
The sound effects are just as rich of course, from the roar of the engines to the whistling of the nitrous, and while you have a choice of various stations in Forza Horizon 2, the standalone expansion limits you to one station with music more in line with the Fast & Furious movies – including the “F.I. (Instrumental Mix)” by Wiley which plays throughout the intro sequence.
Drivatars and full online races are also present in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious so you can go up against your friends and other players should you choose – while behind the wheel of one of the new vehicles.
I had mixed feelings when I heard that Forza had teamed up with Universal Studios for this standalone expansion. On the one hand I’m a huge fan of both franchises, on the other Hollywood and the game industry has a bad record at translating video games into movies (or vice versa). Fortunately the two franchises work very well together, and by replacing the otherwise somewhat bland Horizon Festival announcer with the voice of Ludacris and adding ten outstanding cars that are a blast to drive offer a refreshing take on the game. For those that have the full version this is a fun – albeit short – diversion, while those who haven’t played before it’s a great introduction to the series and gives them a chance to try it out on a smaller scale before investing in the full version of Forza Horizon 2. It is unfortunate that at the moment you can’t use the Fast & Furious cars in the full Forza Horizon 2 game, but I imagine that this could change given the player feedback and requests so far. At the end of the day, you can’t beat the price of free (before April 10th), and even though this is clearly a marketing ploy for both Forza Horizon 2 & the Fast & Furious franchises, it’s done well. At $9.99 this standalone expansion is well worth the price of admission.
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