Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious Xbox One Review: Marketing Done Right

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious Xbox One Review: Marketing Done Right

A Fast & Furious film tie-in acts as a gateway into the majesty that is Forza Horizon 2.

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is an odd beast. Over a month ago, Microsoft announced the standalone expansion for Forza Horizon 2, celebrating the impending launch of Furious 7. The DLC launched on March 27 and it'll be free on the Xbox Store until April 10, at which time it'll jump up to $9.99. I previously praised the idea; instead of making a brand-new title, why not graft promotional material onto a great existing title? It seemed like win for everyone. So last Friday, I downloaded the mini-expansion to see what Playground Games has whipped up.

I hate the Charger.

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is part-demo, part-commercial.

It's not quite Forza Horizon 2. It spans only one city, Nice, and its countryside. There's no painting or tuning your vehicles in the garage. You get one radio station. The game does draw from the wide-open Nice landscape and the weather conditions from the Storm Island DLC, cramming all that goodness into a single, small package. This is a step stone to something larger and grander; there's even a button in the menu that takes you right to Forza Horizon 2's Xbox Store page for easy purchasing.

The game is also barely Fast & Furious. Ludacris' replaces the upscale surfbro announcer that annoyed Jaz in the original Forza Horizon 2. It's a welcome change, as I could listen to Ludacris tell me how awesome I am all day. When you boot up the game, you'll get a montage of racing scenes for the Fast & Furious series (oddly missing any of the franchise's familiar faces, probably due to licensing rights). That one radio station? It plays songs from the Furious 7 trailers and presumably, the soundtrack. And once you finish speeding along in the Lamborghini Huracan from the same intro race in Forza Horizon 2, your other rides are all inspired by the film franchise. The available cars are:

  • 1970 Dodge Charger R/T
  • 1998 Toyota Supra
  • 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  • 1970 Plymouth Cuda
  • 1970 Plymouth Road Runner
  • 2012 Nissan GT-R
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger
  • 2015 Dodge Charger
  • 2013 McLaren P1
  • 2014 Maserati Ghibli S
  • 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Unfortunately, as I said before, you can't paint up the new rides, so you're stuck with the "Fast & Furious Edition" of each vehicle. Together they represent a cross-section of vehicle types that you'd find in Forza Horizon 2, once again reinforcing the demo feel of the title.

Honestly, Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious being a demo of a larger game works. The bones of Forza Horizon 2 - the open-world racing - is still rock solid. The handling is tuned towards the arcade side of things, but that's just where I like it. My early moments in the game were unsatisfying, but that's because your opening car is the '70 Dodge Charger R/T famously-driven by Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto in the movies. It's an ugly evil car. I don't like Muscle Cars outside of watching 70's films and in-game the Dodge Charger handles like a large boat. Luckily, the 98 Toyota Supra is your next win, making further races much easier on me.

You can burn through the critical path of Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious in 3-5 hours tops. Your primary objective is to win all 11 cars. You do this through a series of two part races; the first is a unique race to gain the attention of the car's owner, while the second is a pink slip race against the car itself. Like Forza Horizon 2, the game also contains Drivatars to race against, leaderboard-tied speed cameras, reward boards to smash through, and Bucket List challenges. There's also a few special races, like a night sprint against an attack helicopter. If you have a few friends and you're a completionist, the game will give you far more than a few hours of play.

In the end, this is still a standalone demo, unlike the Storm Island DLC. It's not particularly tied to Forza Horizon 2 in any way; you can't race your Horizon 2 vehicles here and the new Fast & Furious cars (some are different versions of existing FH2 cars) can't be imported into FH2. It's a standalone expansion because it's not connected. You play Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, and then you move on to Forza Horizon 2.

Is it worth it? For free, it's an amazing value. It works as a great gateway into Forza Horizon 2 and a solid ad for Furious 7; it feels like a match made in heaven. For $10, I'm less inclined to recommend it, as you can find Forza Horizon 2 for as low as $40 and Storm Island is an extra $20. Together, they make an amazing game. Perhaps it's worthwhile for a person who's big on Fast & Furious, but only tangentially interested in the depth that Forza Horizon 2 adds? I'm sure there's a small niche for such a consumer. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is very fun, it just lacks some of the additional features that makes its bigger sibling magical. Get it while it's free.

Jaz Rignall Editor-at-Large

It might be an ad, but damn is Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious a really good ad. To all intents and purposes, it's a standalone demo for Forza Horizon 2 - containing a miniature version of the game based around ten promotional cars from the upcoming Furious 7 movie.

Gone is the annoying, patronizing original voice-over dude from the main game, and in comes Ludacris to guide you through the action, which is basically a series of races that enable you to acquire the promo cars from the movie. And an eclectic and fun selection they are too, ranging from a customized Jeep Wrangler to a 2013 McLaren P1.

The action is pretty simple and straightforward, and the game doesn't take that long to complete - the better part of an evening will see you explore absolutely everything the game has to offer - but in its brief-but-brilliant experience it packs plenty of variety that is a taste of almost everything Forza Horizon 2 has to offer, from off-road competitions through storms to night racing around the streets of Nice. It all leads up to a really enjoyable finale - a race against a cargo plane, which you end up meeting at a nearby airfield.

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious isn't exactly a bargain for $10 - which it'll be soon enough if you don't grab it now - but for free, it's absolutely definitely worth checking out. Especially if you're a racing fan who hasn't yet invested in Forza Horizon 2. If this doesn't persuade you to make the jump to the full game, I don't know what will. I just wish you could play its cars in the main game. That would be pretty damn fun.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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