DLC has kind of gotten a bad rap of late. In fact, game releases overall seemed to have struggled at the end of the year, which is why I find it interesting that Forza Horizon 2 has flown under the radar; and pretty much the only reason that’s been the case is because everything worked the way it should. The game didn’t require a bunch of patches to fix glaring bugs, online functionality was there and solid right out of the box, and now the game has some high quality DLC content, and yet mostly what you hear about is Halo and Destiny and Assassin’s Creed and DriveClub and The Crew and all the issues associated with those games. Well, if you want a game that just works, looks great, is a lot of fun, and now has some killer DLC, pick up Horizon 2 with the “Storm Island” expansion and travel back to a time when games were just fun to play.
With all of the chatter and issues around Destiny’s DLC, and the fact that most DLC these days feature a few new multiplayer maps and what not, I was bit skeptical about what “Storm Island” would have to offer. The first Horizon also had a rally expansion, but it ultimately felt disconnected from the rest of the game and just wasn’t as thrilling or as compelling as I was hoping for. Fortunately, with “Storm Island,” Playground Games seems to have learned from the past. In fact, they’ve taken a page from one of the best racing games ever made; Burnout Paradise. “Storm Island” is exactly what it sounds like; an island that gets stormy. However, that brings a whole new and very fun experience to the world of Horizon 2.
Everything about “Storm Island” is extreme. The terrain, the weather, the cars, the races; it’s a different flavor of the racing in the world of Horizon 2. It’s also really fun. What I appreciate most is that, unlike the rally expansion in the first Horizon, this is an area where I can freely roam and explore; making it feel more like an integrated part of the world instead of a menu option. Yes, you have to take a ferry there (which is basically a loading screen), but once there, you have the whole island to cruise around on. Or, of course, you can enter some new events. These are fun races that offer some different challenges from the standard races on the mainland. The terrain is more challenging, and often weather will play a role as well. The extreme wind and rain, and sometimes fog, isn’t just for looks, it can makes races pretty tough by making the course hard to see, especially at night.
To help you handle these more extreme conditions, the expansion includes some new extreme cars; rugged, rally ready vehicles that have little trouble with the off-road, cross country, big jump nature of “Storm Island.” Or, if you prefer, you can head to the garage and upgrade a favorite car of your own to help it handle the extremes of “Storm Island” (which I did with my ’69 Dodge Charger painted like the General Lee). Of course, if you don’t want to compete in the “Storm Island” events, you can cruise around and try out the new bucket list events, or even go looking for a new barn find exclusive to “Storm Island.”
All in all, this expansion for Forza Horizon 2 comes loaded with everything I would want in quality DLC. New areas to explore, new events, new cars, new races; in short, a new experience that adds to the already excellent fun provided by the main game. It’s a great reminder of what DLC can be as opposed to what it has become, especially in some other games *cough* Destiny DLC that locks out previously accessible content *cough*. Do yourself a favor and get back to the good ol’ days when games didn’t need countless patches and expansion packs did exactly that; expanded on everything that made a game fun. In short, just go get Horizon 2 and “Storm Island”. It may just be the best game that no one was talking about (for all the right reasons).
Score: 6 of 7