While the Forza Motorsport games concentrate on delivering realistic track racing, Forza Horizon 2 presents an open world that's filled with activities to participate in, and places to explore. The emphasis is definitely on fun, and while the cars do handle fairly realistically, plenty of liberties have been taken to make driving easy and fun. You can push the limits of a car far farther than you can in Forza Motorsport.
Because that's the case, of that, seasoned players will be able to dispense with many of the game's assists - which will help dial up the points yeild significantly. Inexperienced players might need some help to ensure they have full control over the cars - because in this game it's important that you do feel confident in your driving abilities - but for the most part, the game is forgiving enough that even n00bs might just want to turn most assists off and learn how to play the game. I'll talk about that in a lot more depth a little later.
Playing Forza Horizon 2
The thing to continually bear in mind is that FH2 builds racing series around the car you’re currently driving. If that means you’re driving a Class A Mini Cooper, then you’ll be up against similar cars from similar classes. That also means that if you tune your car to the next Class or above, the game will tune your competitors’ cars to match.
Because of that, the answer to the following question is a fairly easy one to answer.
What's the best car in Forza Horizon 2?
The short answer is – the one you like driving the most. A faster car is faster, obviously, but if it doesn't suit your driving style, you won't be able to realize its full potential. On the other hand, a slightly slower car that you can eke every bit of performance out of might well be the better choice. Ultimately, I'm telling you this because I see no end of people trying to drive fast in cars that just don't work well for their style; they'd do far better in a slightly slower car that better suits the way they drive.
Here are the basic considerations for choosing a car:
RWD cars are the trickiest to drive, but they can drift better than any other type of car, are capable of the quickest times, and can rack up serious points on the multiplier
FWD cars are the easiest to drive, but the most difficult to drift in. You won't be posting fast times in a FWD car, but in terms of racing, this class is easiest to win with, because you're always matched with similar cars, and they're all relatively slow.
4WD cars are very easy to drive, and pretty good at drifting too. These are the ideal intermediate, or "safe" cars, since you can have a very high-performing vehicle that's very forgiving to drive but can still rack up the bonus points.
Ultimately, the best car is the one that best suits your driving style, so have fun, buy cars and experiment. That's what this game is all about, after all.
Forza Horizon 2 Setup and Driving
Turning off assists can give you a huge boost to your xp-earning potential. However, the more assists you have turned off, the more difficult Forza Horizon 2 is to drive. Ultimately, depending on your skill level, you'll need some, but not others. There's a balance here, as you can really boost your earnings by turning a lot of them off, but you don't want to turn so many off that you keep crashing and don't ever make the podium. Here's what's what:
Recommended: Braking Line
If you're unfamiliar with FH2's tracks, you might want to turn on Full Suggested Line - which is especially helpful for offroad tracks - but for the most part, the Braking Line does a perfectly fine job of telling you the most important information about an upcoming corner, and you can use your eyes (and mini map) to figure out the rest, thus netting you a nice percentage boost. The Braking Line is not infallible, however, Depending on your class and car, sometimes you'll find you have to brake at the beginning of the yellow marker, and sometimes you can brake deep into the red. When you start a race, brake on the yellow into the first corner, and that'll give you an indication of your car's braking vs the game's recommendation, and you can then adjust accordingly through the next few corners until you've figured out the optimal braking point on the marker.
Recommended: ABS On
Assisted braking is not the best option. The game tries its best to help you, but it's just too conservative and often applies the brakes during cornering maneuvers, cutting your speed at a crucial time while you watch the car in front of you take off down the next straight.
If you have the Braking Line on, you really don't need to have braking assist on. If you're having issues with braking, pay more attention to the Braking Line and brake earlier.
ABS Off is for experts who really know how to work the controls to best effect. Until you become familiar with the trigger biting point and can work the controls very delicately, no ABS will result in many uncontrolled slides.
So ABS On is the best thing – it'll help you stop very quickly while under control.
Downgrade to Normal if necessary, but you really should be learning to play the game with Simulation steering. It gives you complete control of the car, and avoids occasional weirdness like when you're trying something unconventional that the game thinks is a mistake and then attempts to correct.
If you're having trouble with steering, be gentler with your inputs. FH2 has exceptionally detailed joystick controls, and waggling from side to side violently will unsettle the car. As does over-correcting (applying opposite lock on the joystick if you're sliding). Try to remember that you don't have to use the full lock of the joystick all the time – particularly along straights to correct your line. Be smooth and consistent with your movements, and your car will act the same.
Traction and Stability Control
Like with braking assists, STM can sometimes kill you with kindness. It tries to keep your car from spinning out by applying the brakes to individual wheels. This can be very useful, but it does mean that when you corner on the limit, oftentimes the system will kick in to correct the slide before you can, and that process will result in a sometimes significant loss of momentum. If you find yourself spinning consistently, the biggest recommendation is to be gentler with the controls. But if that's not working, then obviously turn on STM until you learn to drive with a little more finesse.
Traction control, like ABS, is useful to help you not spin the wheels too much – something that becomes increasingly problematic as you begin to drive more powerful cars. If you turn it off, listen to what the accelerator trigger is telling you. Bigger vibration is big wheelspin. Lesser vibration is lesser wheelspin, and no vibration is... well, you know where this is going. Basically, if you're feeling vibration under your accelerator finger, back off slightly until you regain traction.
But unless you're an expert, it's worth having TCS on, as it's a huge help, and doesn't cost you much of a bonus.
If you're starting out, I suggest selecting auto, as you've already got plenty of other stuff to learn. Adding gear shifting might be too much to handle. However, you'll be surprised at how quickly and easily it is to pick up manual shifting. Sure, there will be times when you're bouncing off the rev limiter, or coming out of a 2nd gear corner in 4th, but you'll learn.
The best thing to do is practice on the open road - preferably around a town where you can create your own circuit to lap. The repetition of learning lines and optimal cornering gears really helps give you experience that translates to general driving. Once you've mastered manual shifting, you'll boost your performance by a quite considerable degree. That's because the game doesn't know when to hang onto a gear, or when to downshift coming into a corner. But you do.
Damage, Fuel and Tire Wear
Unless you're having huge difficulties, you should be able to drive with these settings effectively. In Sim mode, it's perfectly possible to doorhandle other cars, nudge them out of the way, and have minor collisions, but if you're smashing your car to bits, you should probably practice a little more and learn to treat the controls more delicately.
A common cause of race-ruining damage is running into a car in front of you. That's understandable, as sometimes the AI over-brakes, or you simply can't see everything. And that's what the rewind button is for. As long as you use it sparingly, the bonus you get from having Simulation on should greatly exceed the penalty you pay for occasionally using rewind because you nailed someone and broke something vital.
FH2 incorporates some quite amazing feedback into the joypad. Many don't realize this, and just think its bumps, rattles and vibrations are there to enhance the action. Which is true – but they do so much more than that.
When coming into a corner, the temptation is to pull the brake trigger fully. However, you don't always need to do that. The brake behaves like a brake in a real car, so just imagine what would happen if every time you needed to brake you pushed your foot to the floor as hard and fast as you could. That's basically what you're doing in Forza.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but if you need to slow down for a corner, don't necessarily slam on the anchors. Scrub some speed off with a half-depressed trigger, which will keep the car more balanced into the corner and avoid loading up the front suspension.
In similar fashion to the brake trigger, you don't always want to have your finger to the plastic. Sure, much of the time you do – but learn to be a little more gentle with the controls during maneuvers. Ease off rather than completely lift off – especially when you feel the car begin to go out of shape. In most driving games when this happens, you just steer through it and regain control. Not in Forza 5. Unless you have all the driving assists turned on, you're likely going to spin out.
Also, like braking, and as previously mentioned above, the vibration of the trigger tells you what the tires are doing. Excessive vibration means sliding or wheelspin, which means no grip, which means trouble turning. If you're wheelspinning, ease off on the gas until the vibrations go away, and while sliding, unless you're drifting like a pro, ease off on the gas until things smooth out (probably while steering into the slide) to get yourself back on course.
Guess what. Steering is a sensitive thing too. Yank from left to right, and the car will jerk from side to side. Do it a little more gently, without using full lock, and the car will weave. Smooth movements make for smooth cornering. Always remember that.
If you're cornering and you feel the back end of the car let go, rather than going to full opposite lock instantly, dial it in a little more gently. You still need to be lightning quick, but don't just crank the stick right over and hold it there. Instead, crank it over, but immediately dial it back to about midway between neutral and full lock. You'll notice that rather than over-correcting and having the car lurch in the other direction and spinning out, it'll instead continue to slide in a more neutral fashion, and you can then dial the stick back to regain control smoothly.
It does take some practice, but as long as you're aware of what's going on, you can start playing around and working up some steering finesse. The problem with many players is that they just don't understand this subtlety, and tend to be very ham-fisted with the controls. As you work at being more precise and delicate, you'll also develop the mental bandwidth and muscle memory to know how much lock to dial up, and not only will you gain full control of your car, you'll actually be able to play around with it, thus opening the door to incredible drifts and spectacular maneuvers that will seriously impress your friends when you upload them as movies.
Car Types and Steering Behavior
Since FH2 does such a great job in replicating car behavior, I thought it'd be a good idea to offer a quick primmer about car types and handling behavior. Many of you will likely already know this stuff, so if you do, what are you waiting for? Get on the road! But if you don't, here's how car layouts affect their handling.
Front Wheel Drive
There's a reason why most cars are front wheel drive – and that's because it's the safest and most predictable setup in terms of handling. Unless you're a ham-fisted oaf, when an FF car runs out of grip, it'll simply understeer – which means it'll keep going in a straight line. This is the opposite of a rear wheel drive car, which when it runs out of grip has a tendency to oversteer – the rear of the car tries to overtake the front, resulting in a potential spin.
The last thing you want while cornering in an FF car is any kind of loss of grip, as this results in serious understeer. So to avoid that, approach a corner, brake hard until you start to turn into the corner, and then gently ease off as you turn in. Then get back on the gas – gently – using your finger to feel for a loss of grip. If you feel vibrations, back off a bit and then get back on the gas.
Something to remember – if you're cornering under acceleration and you lift off the gas, you can cause something called lift-off oversteer, which is the back end breaks away like a RWD car. If that happens, steer into the slide, get back on the gas and power through it.
If it looks like your car is about to go off the road, you can "gas it" - punching the accelerator while steering into the corner can helps it grip and get around the bend. However, this is inefficient and should only be used in an emergency, and not as a regular cornering tactic.
Rear Wheel Drive
RWD cars are the most fun to drive since you can slide them around the corners, and even drift them if you've got the skills. Cars of this type have a natural tendency to oversteer - which means when you reach the limit of traction while cornering, the back of the car wants to break loose and spin the car out. Whenever a car slides in this way, you should steer into the direction of the slide until the car begins to straighten out. As you become more proficient at driving, you should be able to catch the car during a slide and dial up enough lock that the car continues to slide, but is also cornering on the correct radius. Welcome to the world of drifting.
The best way to drive a rear wheel powered car is with respect. Brake in a straight line, get off the brakes and turn into the corner, get the car balanced and then when the car is settled, get on the gas and power out of the corner.
If you want to break traction immediately, head into the corner with your foot on the gas and dial up full lock while lifting off on the accelerator, and then as the car tips into the corner, immediately get back on the gas and the rear wheels will break lose. This isn't the best way to drive a car, but it's the most fun way for sure.
All Wheel Drive
AWD cars have complex handling characteristics, with a tendency to understeer when entering a corner and oversteer when exiting.
When heading into a corner, you can brake late and lift off quite aggressively, which will cause oversteer. Get on the gas and steer into the slide and you'll corner successfully. Do that same maneuver more gently, and you'll keep full grip, which will give you optimal cornering and exit speed.
While it's great fun sliding through a corner with your car's wheels spinning, it's not optimal, unless you're in a drift contest. Every revolution of the car's wheel while spinning is a wasted one - if that wheel was gripping the car would be moving forward at a much quicker rate, and that's the key to racing. No wasted power. No wasted grip.
To drive a car efficiently, you have to brake early so you can get on the power through the corner and accelerate out of the corner at the limit of the car's grip – but not exceeding it. Also, use the full width of the road while exiting a corner, which will create the smoothest line through that corner, and enable you to get on the gas sooner.
While it’s tempting to pile on the power, the cheapest, most effective mods are swapping out the engine mechanicals for better ones – transmission/clutch and so on. Also better suspension is good too, especially since you can then fine-tune your car to your own spec.
That small contact point where your car’s tire meets the road is absolutely critical. If you turn your car into a racing multi-ton horsepower monster, it’s going to be undriveable on stock tires. Rubber makes a significant difference that you can feel. Likewise, losing weight is also a great way to gain.
You don’t have to get racing tires – especially when you’re working with less than 500 horsepower – but the closer you get to that, the better your tires better be.
Something fun to do in FH2 is make resto-mods. Basically, this is where you take an old car and bring it up to modern spec by tweaking and tuning it. Tires and tire width are key contributors to bringing your cookie-tired beast from the dark ages to the prime meats modern age. Make sure you spend some time testing out the different tire width options and combos. You can be lazy of course and slap the fattest ones on there, but you might be surprised at how much difference the right combo makes. Most American cars from the 60’s and early 70’s in particular benefit from staggered wheels. Many small European sportscars and racers, on the other hand, do well on equally-sized tires.
Finally, if you want to know which cars Forza Horizon 2 you can drive - and the ten you can find in a barn (but no spoilers as to which ones), here they are.
1980 Abarth Fiat 131
2010 Abarth 500 esseesse
1968 Abarth 595 esseesse
2013 Abarth Punto Supersport
2002 Acura RSX Type-S
2007 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2
2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde
1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio Verde
1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
1971 AMC Javelin AMX
2013 Ariel Atom 500 V8
1964 Aston Martin DB5
1958 Aston Martin DBR1
2010 Aston Martin One-77
2011 Aston Martin V12 Zagato (Villa d’Este)
2012 Aston Martin Vanquish
2013 Audi R8 Coupé V10 plus 5.2 FSI quattro
1995 Audi RS 2 Avant
2011 Audi RS 3 Sportback
2006 Audi RS 4
2011 Audi RS 5 Coupé
2013 Audi S4
1983 Audi Sport quattro
2010 Audi TT RS Coupé
2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed
2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
1973 BMW 2002 Turbo
1981 BMW M1
1997 BMW M3
1991 BMW M3
2008 BMW M3
2012 BMW M5
2011 BMW X5 M
2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is
2012 Bowler EXR S
2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
1987 Buick Regal GNX
2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV
2012 Caterham Superlight R500
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe
1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS-454
1960 Chevrolet Corvette
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 427
2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
1970 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
1995 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409
1969 Dodge Charger R/T
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392
2012 Dodge Charger SRT8
1968 Dodge Dart HEMI Super Stock
1957 Ferrari 250 California
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia
2009 Ferrari 458 Italia
1987 Ferrari F40
1995 Ferrari F50
2003 Ferrari Challenge Stradale
1969 Ferrari Dino 246 GT
2002 Ferrari Enzo Ferrari
1994 Ferrari F355 Berlinetta
2012 Ferrari F12berlinetta
1984 Ferrari GTO
2013 Ferrari LaFerrari
1973 Ford Capri RS3100
1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth
1977 Ford Escort RS1800
1956 Ford F-100
2014 Ford Fiesta ST
2003 Ford Focus RS
2009 Ford Focus RS
2013 Ford Focus ST
2005 Ford GT
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302
2015 Ford Mustang GT
1985 Ford RS200 Evolution
2000 Ford SVT Cobra R
1993 Ford SVT Cobra R
2013 Ford Shelby GT500
1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500
2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
2011 Ford Transit SuperSportVan
2012 Hennessey Venom GT
1997 Honda Civic Type R
2004 Honda Civic Type-R
1984 Honda Civic CRX Mugen
1992 Honda NSX-R
2009 Honda S2000 CR
2006 HUMMER H1 Alpha
2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
1956 Jaguar D-Type
1961 Jaguar E-type S1
1954 Jaguar XK120 SE
2012 Jaguar XKR-S
1945 Jeep Willys MB
2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
2011 Koenigsegg Agera
2013 KTM X-Bow R
2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4
1988 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 QV
1997 Lamborghini Diablo SV
2014 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
1967 Lamborghini Miura P400
2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SV
2013 Lamborghini Veneno
1982 Lancia 037 Stradale
1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale EVO
1986 Lancia Delta S4
1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupé Rallye 1.6 HF
1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale
1997 Land Rover Defender 90
2013 Lexus GS350 F Sport
2010 Lexus LFA
2014 Local Motors Rally Fighter
2009 Lotus 2-Eleven
1956 Lotus Eleven
2012 Lotus Exige S
2010 Maserati Gran Turismo S
2004 Maserati MC12
1961 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage
2013 Mazda MX-5
1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata
1997 Mazda RX-7
2011 Mazda RX-8 R3
2011 McLaren 12C
1993 McLaren F1
2013 McLaren P1
1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupé
2013 Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series
2013 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG
2013 Mercedes-Benz G 65 AMG
2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series
2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG
2005 Mercedes-Benz SLR
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
1965 MINI Cooper S
2012 MINI John Cooper Works GP
1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI GSR
2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR
1994 Nissan 240SX SE
2010 Nissan 370Z
2012 Nissan GT-R Black Edition
1970 Nissan Datsun 510
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1994 Nissan Fairlady Z Version S Twin Turbo
1992 Nissan Silvia CLUB K's
2000 Nissan Silvia Spec-R
1971 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R
1993 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec
2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II
1968 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds 442
2012 Pagani Huayra
2009 Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster
1971 Plymouth Cuda 426 HEMI
1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
1987 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA
1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SD-455
2013 Ram Runner
1980 Renault 5 Turbo
1973 Renault Alpine A110 1600S
1993 Renault Clio Williams
2003 Renault Sport Clio V6
2010 Renault Megane RS 250
1987 RUF CTR Yellowbird
1995 RUF CTR2
2011 RUF Rt 12 S
1965 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C
1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe
1999 SRT Viper GTS ACR
2013 Subaru BRZ
1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STi
2011 Subaru WRX STI
1974 Toyota Celica GT
1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
2013 Toyota GT86
1995 Toyota MR2 GT
1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex
1998 Toyota Supra RZ
2005 TVR Sagaris
2012 Ultima GTR
2012 Vauxhall Astra VXR
2009 Vauxhall Corsa VXR
2013 SRT Viper GTS
1995 Volkswagen Corrado VR6
1992 Volkswagen Golf Gti 16v Mk2
2010 Volkswagen Golf R
2003 Volkswagen Golf R32
1963 Volkswagen Beetle
1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI
2011 Volkswagen Scirocco R
1981 Volkswagen Scirocco S
1963 Volkswagen Type 2 De Luxe