Microsoft and Playground Games are showing a new demo of Forza Horizon 2 here at Gamescom 2014, and it's one that's absolutely packed with new features. It includes a look at the new day-night cycle, a feature that lets you hang out in a parking lot trading liveries with other players, and the return of custom tuning settings that never made the transition from Motorsport to the first Horizon. To be honest, there were so many new features unveiled that I had kind of a hard time stringing them all together into one coherent story. But one thing I do know about Forza Horizon 2 is that you can finally hang out in a van down by the river.
First, it's important to know what Playground is aiming to do with the car selection in Horizon 2. With over 200 cars available at launch, the development team wants to complement the standard selection of race cars with more esoteric selections that players might not expect. That includes offroading options like the Local Motors Rally Fighter and even the 1945 Willys Jeep, but also classic--if not always beloved--options like the 1963 Volkswagen Camper. Yes, that signature vehicle from the Summer of Love collecting dust in garages all across Berkeley, California will exist within the same selection of vehicles as the brand-new Lamborghini Huracan.
Next, you need to know about the world of Horizon 2. Set in a geographically diverse stretch of Southern Europe that's three times as big as the world of the first Horizon, the setting of this game offers far more off-roading options than its predecessor. At one point in the demo, the Playground rep driving spent a good two minutes avoiding any sort of road whatsoever, careening through vinyards and grassy plains and even a shallow river bed. Sure, there are plenty of roads too, but it's definitely a game that gives you the option veer off the beaten path.
With a day-night cycle and real-time weather effects, that means you can do all of that off-roading in the dead of night while rain is pouring down from the sky. I can only imagine what it would be like cruising through a muddy river bed in a 63 VW Camper with nothing more to guide you than the light of the moon. Alright, so maybe that's a little impractical...and dangerous...and also a bit ridiculous. But hey, isn't getting a little crazy half the fun of an open-world game, racing or not?
For more on Forza Horizon 2, check out our video impressions below...