Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island is the first piece of DLC that expands upon the content of the main game. The action takes place on the fictional tropical island of Isola Della Tempesta (Island Storm), its terrain is harsh and its weather is devilish. With 90 events that include new modes and cars to race, Bucket lists to dominate and discount boards to find and smash, you won’t be left feeling short-changed after dropping £15.99 (£7.99 for VIP members) on this great piece of DLC.
There are six tiers you need to progress through if you are to reach the island finale, although you won’t have to complete them all to unlock it. Each tier has four championships that span across the different car classes, you can use your current cars that you have stored in your garage but be warned, if you don’t install the Storm Island mods your ride will have trouble clinging to the terrain. Each tier has its own mini finale – Gauntlet. This extreme offroad event takes place on floodlit courses in the dead of night. They are particularly tricky to navigate, not least because of the tight turns and high jumps but because of the harsh storm rolling around in the background attempting to distract your attention from the road. As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, you are forced to use a pre-selected vehicle with no option to tweak the parts.
The weather effects in Storm Island are really impressive; sheets of rain swirl across the track, trees almost double over in the wind and fog hangs over the track to conceal hidden dangers. Your windscreen wipers fight in vain to try to keep your view clear from the elements but is it all just for show? I never really felt like the weather played too much of an active role in manipulating the track or my vehicle, instead it merely served as a backdrop to the events while trying its hardest to distract you from focusing on the road ahead.
Courses are bumpy with extreme jumps, they twist and snake-like a roller coaster and often you will lose sight of the next checkpoint particularly during night races or in a storm – it’s great fun and while racing from the cockpit view I felt glad to be inside – it’s nasty out there! While the rough terrain is a joy to wrestle with the island lacks character, I didn’t find much in the way of points of reference for navigating around the 50 island roads – everything looks the same and hardly my idea of ‘tropical’. There is a Roman Temple overlooking the action and of course there’s the Forza festival hub where you sign up for each race, but that is pretty much it save for the odd collection of buildings but we didn’t come here to sight see, we came for the thrills of offroading and to see the spectacle of the new storm effects – both of which I’m happy to say didn’t disappoint.
Your progress through Storm Island is tracked through a separate tab in the pause menu, handy for checking which Bucket Lists you have left to complete without them getting mixed up with the mainland events. Drivatars return and seem more determined than ever to push you off the track and leave you choking on dust as you scramble across the countryside. The events try to reinvent themselves with new names but really there’s nothing new here save for a few obstacles strewn across the tracks in Rampage and Brawl events. What’s ‘new’ is the focus of extreme environments and weather.
For those that like to take the action online there are several multiplayer championships to master but be warned, if you thought it was rough against the Drivatars then wait until you get online versus real people – you can try to play nice but the rough terrain makes it almost impossible to complete a clean race.
Forza Horizon 2 breaks the modern confines of racers by allowing you to go anywhere and do anything but the mainland doesn’t quite tick the hardcore box when it comes to offroad racing – this is where Storm Island steps up to the plate. You’d be forgiven in forgetting that you’re playing Forza Horizon 2 because the events are so heavily weighted towards a rally style, which gives the game that DiRT feel.
If rally games aren’t your thing then I’d save your pennies, even though there’s plenty of content and some superb weather effects to experience, Storm Island is heavily centred on offroad events. Hopefully Playground Games will look to do another new area that is a little less on the DiRT(y) side. For me though, this first piece of content for Forza Horizon 2 is ‘The Perfect Storm’.
THANKS TO XBOX FOR SUPPLYING TIX WITH A DOWNLOAD CODE
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