Review: Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island (Xbox One)
Forza Horizon 2 launched to massive critical appeal as being one of the best racing games in 2014. It brought forth many elements from several racing games to produce one of the most enjoyable open-world racing games to date, and it’s exclusive to the Xbox One. Now it’s time for its first set of DLC, Storm Island.
If you know me you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of DLC content. I often feel as if the content should have been part of the original outing. It’s as if the ‘bonus content’ was excluded from launch. Storm Island is not a pretender to the throne, but it can stand on it’s own four wheels independently. As soon as you start up Forza Horizon 2, once downloading your DLC, you’re asked to make your way to the Harbour. The harbour? *all excited and stuff*. That’s right, you’re on your way to a brand new island, Storm Island. Duh.
Once you land you’re off to the Storm Island Horizon Hub. Here you get to sign up to new off-road championships. There are 6 tiers with 5 events within each to compete in. Each event hosts several races. Once you’ve selected an event you’re of to select or buy a car and upgrade it. There are new upgrades Spring and Dampers, Transmission and Tire Compound) specially tailored for the Storm Island DLC pack that helps you control your car in the off-road conditions. Once you’ve kitted your car you’re off to take on the elements.
It’s called Storm Island for a good reason. You’ll see the wind blowing viciously through the trees as the rain comes pummelling down, and when the rain subsides you’ll have to deal with thick fog. What makes the challenge all the more difficult is that the Storm Island DLC is based on off-road racing. It’s not quite rallying, but you’ll rarely get to feel a smooth tarred road – in other words the Xbox One controller constantly rumbles while playing this. You’ll also have to contend with these bad conditions at night, though not each and every race will throw you at the elements. There are some events that takes place in sunny conditions and brings a feeling of relief, as your concentration levels have to be super sharp otherwise.
There are 5 new race types: Rampage – point-to-point off road sprints that has you dodging obstacles, Brawl – Bash your way to first place in extreme conditions, Extreme Cross Country – unlike the original Cross Country events in Forza Horizon 2 you’ll have to deal with excessive elevations and storm conditions, Cross Country Circuits – Competing in cross country laps and Gauntlet – the toughest of the lot sees you racing only at night in extreme storm conditions. The events are all a massive amount of fun in their own right, but I must admit that it got a bit ‘samey’ towards the end of it all. The variety of the original was missing.
There are thankfully new bucket events and should you smash blue wrecking boards you will now receive discounts for upgrades. You’ll also get to discover new barn finds, with emphasis on ‘discover’. Unlike the original you’re not provided with a rough estimate as to where you can find the barns. You have to go adventuring. Speed traps are back, as there are a whole new bunch of roads to dominate and it’s got its own Storm Island Online Championship.
Considering that the DLC will last you well over 15 hours and that you get five new cars you can’t help but feel that this is DLC done right. The events might become a bit monotonous after several hours of off-road racing, but you simply need to jump on the fairy and head back to the bigger island to spice things up. If you have doubts about this DLC it’s perhaps just your personal storm in a teacup.