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Quarter mile livestream: Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon


I don't got friends...
Mar 27
// Steven Hansen
Are you's all ready to live(stream) your life a quarter mile at a time?! Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, a standalone expansion, is available for free on Xbox One and 360 until April 10. If you download it before...
Free Forza expansion photo
Free Forza expansion

That free Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon 2 is out today


You don't need the base game to play
Mar 27
// Jordan Devore
More free stuff to download on Xbox One and Xbox 360 assuming you get around to nabbing Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious before April 10, at which point the standalone expansion becomes $10. As we said previously,...
Quarter mile at a time photo
Quarter mile at a time

Forza Horizon 2 gets free, standalone Fast & Furious expansion


Free for the first two weeks
Feb 25
// Steven Hansen
Get ready to live your life a quarter mile at a time. An Xbox and Universal partnership has borne Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, a standalone expansion.  Not only do you not need to own the base game to pl...
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

Time to get your Stig on


Forza gets Top Gear love
Feb 03
// Robert Summa
If you're a car junkie, then you should be very familiar with Top Gear. Microsoft is hoping that familiarity will lead to DLC sales as the Forza Horizon 2 Top Gear Car Pack has just been made available to Xbox One racers for $5. Have a look at the list of cars available (including a freebie):
Forza Motorsport 6 photo
Forza Motorsport 6

Microsoft announces Forza 6...with a nice, stationary model of a Ford GT


Forza Motorsport 6
Jan 12
// Steven Hansen
Forget the Euro-dynamism and great soundtrack of Forza Horizon. Microsoft and Turn 10 have announced Forza Motorsport 6, baby!  Look at that well-modeled Ford GT, Forza 6's "cover car." Look at it. Look at it again. Exc...
Storm Island photo
Storm Island

Forza Horizon 2's first DLC takes places at the ominous Storm Island


Gee, I wonder what happens there
Dec 16
// Brett Makedonski
Forza Horizon 2 shipped this fall with plenty of inclement weather, unlike some other game. Nevertheless, its first add-on centers around even more torrential downpours on the paradisiacal sounding Storm Island. Storm I...
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Link: Open letter to Microsoft, Turn 10, Playground Games on DLC


Nice work, Cheapy D
Oct 07
// Dale North
Forza Horizon 2? Pretty damned good, right? Having to buy a car pack to get the most desired DLC car? Not so good. I have strong feelings of my own on that and other DLC topics surrounding the Forza franchise, but I can save ...

Review: Forza Horizon 2

Sep 25 // Brett Zeidler
Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Playground Games (Xbox One) / Sumo Digital (Xbox 360) / Turn 10Publisher: Microsoft StudiosReleased: September 30, 2014MSRP: $59.99 (Xbox One) / $49.99 (Xbox 360) If you're familiar with the first Forza Horizon, you'll feel right at home. The Horizon Festival is taking place again, except this time it's all the way over in southern Europe by way of France and Italy. Your role is, yet again, to become the top Horizon racer by collecting different colored wristbands as you win championships and work your way up the ladder. Your progress is tracked a couple different ways. Obviously an overall level is raised by completing activities, and every level gives you one Wheelspin. The Wheelspin is a slot machine that either gives you a credit payout or a free car. I've gotten some sweet rewards from this thing. Tracking your progress is really easy with a win/loss ratio, but in Horizon it's all about how cool you look while doing all this. Drifting, near misses, getting air, and destroying things in the world can all add to a skill chain if done in a row. After accruing up a certain amount of points, these unlock skill points that can be spent on perks. Everyone loves perks. These are pretty standard, and increase things like bonuses, XP, or unlock certain abilities that make life easier.  There's a couple characters that interact with you over the course of the game; Ben and Ashley. Ben is the guy. He's the type of guy everyone wants to know, party with, and, in Horizon 2, he's that guy everyone wants to drive with. He's the guy leading the Horizon Festival, after all. Be prepared to hear him say "mate" at the end of every single race. I promise it gets funny eventually. Ultimately, he ends up helping the player learn the mechanics of the game, suggesting where they should go next, and even hooks them up with new rides every once in awhile. Ashley is the mechanic that fixes up all those new rides, and that's all she's really present for outside of being a support character. As far as story and character development goes, that's as in-depth as it gets in Horizon 2. That's really all one expects from a racing game, anyway. It's non-intrusive (nor over the top) to -- and provides a good foundation for -- the real focus: racing. Forza Horizon 2 doesn't attempt to shake up the tried-and-true racing formula. The championship event races break down into one of two types: beat everyone to the finish line in one long sprint or in a traditional lap-based race. Instead of structural variety, Horizon instead relies on locale and visual variety to keep players interested. This was totally the right call. Forza Motorsport 5 was already a visual treat, but the heavily modified engine used in Horizon 2 is absolutely breathtaking. All of the 200-something cars are painstakingly detailed (interiors and all) as always, and are convincingly true-to-life. Southern Europe features back country, densely packed urban areas, coast towns, and everything in-between. It's a very, very big world that's incredibly open and just begs to be explored. For the first time, Forza now has a dynamic weather system. Truly, this is the standout visual element in the game. Sunsets and sunrises are amazing, and never look the same as the cloud placement/density changes their appearance every single time. At any moment, thick clouds could fill an entirely blue sky and, suddenly, there's a downpour of rain. Radio personalities will also comment on this when it happens, which is also pretty cool the first few times it happens. This isn't just a visual trick either, as rain will puddle up in the roads, bead up on the cars (and windshields), and create slick conditions. The visual effect on the windshield is particularly jaw-dropping; light will refract off of each individual bead of rain and cause visual interference just as it does in real life. Windshield wipers will automatically clear the windshield, and will leave a line of water wherever their turn radius ends. You have never seen something like this done in a racing game before, and it's something you really need to see for yourself. In motion, everything comes together to create one of the best-looking titles out there right now. Horizon 2 runs in full 1080p at 30 frames per second, never dipping below that. Some may have an issue with a racing game running at 30 FPS, but it's honestly no problem here. Everything runs incredibly smooth and feels perfectly responsive. If I wasn't told it ran at that frame rate, I would've been none-the-wiser. Having a vast, detailed world can still feel empty fairly quickly if there's not a lot to do, and thankfully Horizon 2 does not come up short in activities to partake in. Outside of over 150 championship events, there are Showcase events, barn finds, Bucket List activities, speed traps, and online modes. Showcases have the player up against some type of machinery (not a car) in a head-to-head race. They're easily the craziest out of all the events, and, despite being blatant smoke and mirrors, created some of the most memorable moments in the game. Since there's so few of them, I won't spoil any of the surprise. Definitely be on the lookout for these every few championship events. Barn finds are nothing new, and still task the player with finding an old, rusted-out vehicles in abandoned barns around the map. They're actually pretty difficult to find. I found an army jeep in one of them, which felt particularly silly to bring into a racing event, but things like that fit right in with the rest of Horizon. It's just a fun atmosphere. Bucket List activities are pretty straightforward as well. These also involve finding cars around the map, placed on the side of roads. However, these cars are usually the best in the game and give a taste of what they're like by completing small activities in them (with varying degrees of difficulty). Speed traps are simply just cameras that radar how fast you're going on a particular road. Sometimes I'd try and beat my personal best on these over and over before I realized I spent a good twenty minutes doing this. At any point, two button clicks will take you to the online lobby system. No menu navigating or lobby juggling needed, as it just works within the game and brings you together with strangers or friends in the full game world. You can participate in road trips, championship events, or explore parts of the map together. It's the type of thing where the structured events are certainly fun, but I imagine the community coming up with pick-up games that add to the multiplayer's longevity. The avoidance of too much menu navigation extends into the rest of the game as well. If you have a Kinect hooked up, a digital personal assistant named ANNA can take your commands and make life a whole lot easier. ANNA allows you to just about play the entire game without ever using a menu of your own doing. Say you know you just want to do the next championship event -- you can have ANNA set the GPS navigator to take you to whichever one is nearest. She'll also provide suggestions of things to do occasionally, or you can just outright ask her what it is she thinks you should do next. This system creates a nice flow, and truly enhances the experience. It's the perfect use of the Kinect. I'm all about a stellar soundtrack, and Horizon 2 nails it. There's something to be said about driving a Lamborghini through a super dense field somewhere over 150 mph, barely able to see, with Chvrches is playing in the background. A soundtrack where Chromeo, The Clash, or Thee Oh Sees are just as likely to play as Vilvaldi, Schubert, or Tchaikovsky excites me like nothing else. Playground Games really knows how to make a road trip playlist. With the original Forza Horizon, we were a little disappointed in the frequency and length of the loading screens. Unfortunately, that's still the case here. Again, the loading screens aren't overwhelmingly long, but they appear before and after every single race. All that time adds up to quite a lot. It's understandable that they're there, but I could've done with less of them. If you were a fan of the original or its simulator brother, there's no reason to pass up Horizon 2. It's simulation enough to not lose longtime fans, while easing the realistic driving just enough to allow new players to jump in and not feel like the car physics are working against them the whole time. Every element in Forza Horizon 2 adds up to an exceptional experience. The story isn't over the top so as to get in the way of racing, driving feels as good as it ever did in Forza Motorsport, there's a ton of things to do, and the game looks absolutely beautiful -- especially the long-awaited dynamic weather system. Forza Horizon 2 is a must-have on the Xbox One.
Forza Horizon 2 review photo
Good racing, mate
The original Forza Horizon impressed us back in 2012 with its ability to incorporate what we already loved about Forza Motorsport into an absolutely massive open-world sandbox racing game, while not completely ditching its si...

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Play Forza Motorsport 5 for free this weekend


Win a chance to race IRL
Sep 03
// Dale North
Xbox One-owning Xbox Live Gold members can play Forza Motorsport 5 for free this weekend, starting 12:01 a.m. Pacific time September 4, running through midnight on Sunday. The entire game is available for free play. It's a bi...
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Forza Horizon 2 demo coming to Xbox One on September 16


Achievements announced
Aug 27
// Dale North
A demo for Playground Games' Forza Horizon 2 is coming to Xbox One on September 16, just ahead of the September 30 release date. They promise a "brief taste" of what to expect in the full version.  You'll find an Achievements list for Forza Horizon 2 below. Some of the names are super silly.
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

This Forza Horizon 2 trailer uses the word 'social' too much


Social, connected, social, connected
Aug 12
// Alasdair Duncan
Okay, maybe the snarky headline was a bit mean but the devs behind Forza Horizon 2 are really making sure that you know that the game is social and connected. Aside from those buzzwords, what does that actually mean in terms...
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

The new Forza Horizon 2 cars are mostly vehicles you'll never drive in real life


I bet you could swing a 1977 Ford Escort, though
Aug 05
// Brett Makedonski
The new batch of cars revealed for Forza Horizon 2 brings about a bit of a staunch reminder that open-world racing games aren't all that realistic. Let's face it -- there's a slim chance you'll ever be behind the wheel o...
First 100/200 cars photo
First 100/200 cars

There's a Hummer H1 in Forza Horizon 2, and these 99 other cars


Over 200 in total, here's the first half
Jul 22
// Steven Hansen
I hate Hummers so much. Only in America would a car that stupid get that popular. Of course, Forza Horizon 2 has the H1, the actual Humvee-looking one that isn't any less stupid for civilian driving, but at least it doesn't look like a gangly, overgrown Power Wheels like the popular H2 you still see out and about sometimes. The first 100 cars are listed here.
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

Forza Horizon 2 will have a digital personal assistant named ANNA


Interesting
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
Forza Horizon 2 is coming to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 later this year, and more details are starting to arise with every passing week. The latest development is "ANNA," the "digital personal assistant" of Forza Horizon 2, w...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza Motorsport 5's Hot Wheels Car Pack is silly


They're not, like, miniature die-cast cars or anything
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
Hot Wheels? I'll admit it -- I got slightly excited. Those plastic orange tracks were my jam as a kid. But Forza Motorsport 5's Hot Wheels Car Pack, the last of the monthly car packs for the game, is really just more real-wor...
Just say no photo
Just say no

Forza Horizon 2 won't have 'token' microtransactions


Forza Forza!
Jun 17
// Steven Hansen
Forza Horizon 2 creative director Ralph Fulton told Digital Spy that it would eschew the series' microtransaction currency, tokens. "The approach we've taken is that we've designed our game at Playground Games from ...
Forza Horizon photo
Forza Horizon

Video: Bust up some guy's vineyard in Forza Horizon 2


E3 2014 impressions from Mike Cosimano
Jun 13
// Jordan Devore
In Forza Horizon 2, you're headed to Southern Europe. We sent one of our video guys, the energetic Mike Cosimano, to check it out at E3. He really, really dug the last Horizon and it sounds like the sequel is more of the same on a grander scale, for better or worse. That includes Drivatars. They're back, with a vengeance.

Why the heck is Forza Horizon 2 trying to get me killed?

Jun 10 // Steven Hansen
[embed]276206:54279:0[/embed] Seriously, who did they hire to run this event? It started out well enough, driving through some scenic roads that gave way to a farm setting. I tried to race carefully, following the helpful race line that goes green when you're free to speed up and warns red when you should be breaking. Break before the turn, punch it in the turn. Some of the AI racers, at one point, cut through a cornfield to get an edge. Have you ever driven through a cornfield? At 140 miles per hour? Bad idea. I kept to the road like a responsible driver. Then the race line led me through a corn field. The heck, guys? I was still holding a respectable, middling 6th/7th place or so at that point when the race route led into a regular road full of cross traffic and commuters. Someone is going to get killed! Not me, because I have a helpful rewind button. I tried not to lean on it, but when I went grill to grill with oncoming traffic, I used it. I tried not to rewind further, which you could do. Just the one, I thought. When I resumed, I still didn't have room to veer out of the way. I smashed into some poor soul and got myself knocked into about 11th of 12. Then the thunder claps. Rain started, making roads even more squirrely.  I would never recover, even when the rain stopped, roads still left wet. I cruised into a 12th place finish and enjoyed the sun reflecting off of the rain slick roads. I may suck at racing games, but the Forza Horizon series continues to still make it fun as hell regardless, like a photo realistic Mario Kart.
Forza Horiszon 2 hands-on photo
Cutting through cornfields, racing against oncoming traffic, and more
Driving is dangerous. We take it for granted, but you're more likely to die driving to the airport than zipping through the air a mile high in a heavy, metal tube. I am pretty okay at driving, but I am notably not great at dr...

E3 photo
E3

Forza Horizon 2 hits Xbox One on September 30


Playground returns for another open-world racer
Jun 09
// Jordan Devore
Playground Games announced a September 30, 2014 release date for Forza Horizon 2 during Microsoft's E3 2014 media briefing this morning. The Xbox One version was mentioned specifically during the event, but the game is also ...
Free Forza 5 track photo
Free Forza 5 track

Nürburgring track available free today for Forza 5


OMG DLC!
Jun 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Forza 5 gets a free downloadable track based on the the Nürburgring motorsports complex in Nürburg, Germany. It's free starting today, Turn 10 Studios announced today during Microsoft's E3 presser. In addition to a Grand Prix track, there's a longer loop vaunting 12.9 miles of tarmac and more than 1,000 feet of elevation change from its lowest to highest points.
Forza photo
Forza

Forza Horizon 2 will display at 1080p, running at 30 frames per second


The difference between a game with set tracks, and an open world
Jun 06
// Abel Girmay
So it seems Forza Horizon 2, unlike Forza 5, will not be running at 60 frames per second. While it will still display in 1080p, the open-world nature of Horizon doesn't seems to play nice with the idea of a locked 60fps rate,...
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Forza Horizon 2 coming this fall for Xbox One and Xbox 360


Drivatar comes over
Jun 02
// Dale North
The follow-up to 2012's Forza Horizon is coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 this fall. IGN has the scoop on Microsoft's announcement of open-world racer Forza Horizon 2. They say it's being handled primarily by the group that di...
Deals photo
Deals

Xbox One Kinect and Forza 5 bundle $120 off at Walmart


With your choice of Call of Duty or NBA 2K14
May 27
// Abel Girmay
If there are still any Xbox One holdouts among you that would like a Kinect included, Walmart is running a pretty nice promotion. For the standard SKU price of $499, you will get an Xbox One with Kinect, a down...
Forza photo
Forza

Turn 10 is adding 20 more cars to the Forza Motorsport 5 season pass


Good for them
May 23
// Jordan Devore
The Forza Motorsport 5 Car Pass will give owners more than initially promised, which is the kind of sentence I rarely if ever get the opportunity to write. Let's cherish this moment. Specifically, Turn 10 Studios has plans fo...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza Motorsport 5 gets another free track tomorrow


And more cars, if you're a season pass owner
Apr 09
// Jordan Devore
Additional tracks for Forza Motorsport 5 is a very good thing indeed, I think we can all agree. Especially when they're delivered as free DLC. Like the Road America track before it, Turn 10 is giving away another course, sout...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza 5 DLC cars can now be accessed without in-game currency


And all 200 launch cars can be rented
Mar 28
// Jordan Devore
Turn 10 Studios is still attempting to win back disappointed Forza fans following its launch of Forza Motorsport 5 in November. In an open letter, creative director Dan Greenawalt has announced more changes for the game relat...
Xbox One news photo
Xbox One news

White Xbox One coming this year, update coming this March


A huge flood of Xbox One leaks slowly being corroborated
Jan 30
// Steven Hansen
I don't want an Xbox One, but if I did, I'd want One in white. An anonymous NeoGAF poster let loose a flood of leaks, including word that October would see a white Xbox One bundled with Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive. A 1TB con...

Review: Polk N1 Gaming SurroundBar

Jan 17 // Dale North
Polk N1 Gaming Surroundbar Manufacturer: PolkMSRP: $299 (available at Amazon) The N1 is a sharp-looking but compact (about 39" wide, 4" tall) sound bar that manages to pack in four small drivers and a subwoofer behind its cool horizontal slats and under its brushed-top finish. It might be a tad bit bigger than the models that have a separate subwoofer, but it's nice and tidy, and still small enough to fit underneath your television's screen. It's available in both black and white finishes. You won't find a wealth of ports on the N1, but it does have all the bases covered. Two digital connections (SPDIF and Optical) and one 1/8" audio jack will cover just about any need. There's also a SUB-OUT port for those that would like to add a subwoofer. Connectivity is expanded by the built-in Bluetooth chip, which lets you stream audio from just about any compatible device. Polk came to Microsoft for a bit of help with the sound processing for the N1. They were paired up with 343 Industries and Turn 10 Studios to work with their engineers to create a couple of genre-specific sound modes for the sound bar. There are even little buttons on the remote that feature the Forza and Halo logos. Of course, you don't have to be playing Halo 4 or Forza 5 to benefit from the shooter and racing genre modes of the N1. My first impression was that the N1 gets loud! A big sound comes out of this relatively compact sound bar. I did not expect it to put forth such a clean, full sound. That subwoofer may be invisible, but it's definitely working somewhere in there. The N1 has a full range sound that is well-balanced and tight. There's none of that nasty time separation between highs and lows (a wireless sub problem), and it gets away from the hollow, processed sound that so many sound bars suffer from.  The game sound processing modes are interesting in that they perked up the sound of the games I tried it on without harming the audio quality. Too many of the EQ curves thrown into gaming audio products hype frequencies to be exciting, but eventually end up causing ear fatigue. Trying the racing mode with Forza 5 had the sound field widening a bit, making the sound effects more immersive. The shooter mode seemed to make all the foreground sounds even more pronounced. It began to wear on my ears at high volume, though. Neither mode as as gimmicky as I originally feared, and the racing one in particular is quite good. There are a few drawbacks of note for the sound processing. The sub can distort with some of the sound processing on at higher volumes. Also, you need to be sitting dead center for full immersion. Anything outside of that skews the sound field in a weird way.  The non-gaming modes, Music and Cinema, were as useful as they were named, with the Cinema preset working well for content that I tried with my cable box. Again, the N1 put off a rich, full-range sound, with this mode bringing more pronounced dialogue than the others. The N1's sound can easily fill a large room. The Bluetooth streaming mode works like a charm, and it has great range, too.  A few gripes: The remote is a tiny little thing that seems to respond when it wants to. I don't expect it to hold up. Thankfully there's a programming feature included to let you use your existing remotes. I also found that there aren't enough steps between the digital volume settings to fine tune the volume exactly to my liking. And not having a sound-mode button on the speaker is an oversight. My personal preference for gaming, music, and movies is stereo speakers and a proper receiver. While you couldn't manage full tower speakers and an amp for the N1's $299 MSRP, you could swing a budget receiver and some fuller-ranged bookshelf speakers, or a budget set of powered monitors. Even Polk's TSi100 Bookshelf speakers would be a great solution for gaming and music. But the N1 is better than any sound bar that I've had in my home so far, and it has gaming sound modes to boot. Its Bluetooth connectivity makes it even more useful as a big wireless speaker system. If you want a tidy, clean, and loud solution that fits underneath your television set, the Polk N1 Gaming Surroundbar is a solid choice for your gaming rig. 
Polk N1 soundbar photo
With Forza and Halo sound modes
I don't have the best history with sound bars. I had this bigger JBL one that sounded nice, but it stopped working. Kaput. I tried to replace it with one of Sony's budget models, but that one sounded so bad that I laughed at ...

Forza photo
Forza

Forza 5 unlikely to get night racing or weather


If it does happen, it's going to be a long wait
Dec 13
// Jordan Devore
Speaking to IGN about the possibility of Forza Motorsport 5 getting night racing or weather effects, creative director Dan Greenawalt emphasized the amount of work that would need to go into such additions to the game. "When ...
Fixing Forza photo
Fixing Forza

Turn 10 wants to turn around fan perception of Forza 5


'I'm more disappointed in myself that I've elicited this reaction in people'
Dec 13
// Steven Hansen
Dale dug Forza 5, but the Xbox One launch title has been met with the most varied reviews in franchise history. However, creative director Dan Greenawalt, in an interview with Eurogamer, said he is "not really driven by Metas...

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