Forza Horizon 2 is the digital equivalent of a summer holiday. The question is, what kind of holiday? Maybe you hope to achieve some goals on your visit: explore the sights, set yourself challenges, accomplish something. Perhaps you’ll happily unwind by flitting across the countryside taking photos, swooping around corners and admiring the view.

Online, you can forget about the latter. You'd never call it work, but you don’t come to Horizon 2’s multiplayer to relax, either. For starters, you’re thrust into constant competition due to asynchronous leaderboards. Without even trying you end up competing against everyone else on your friend list, or strangers the game has decided are a good match. Join a car club once the option opens up to you , and there’s a great selection of like minded people who have blasted through speed traps, completed races and so on. Clip an XP board or beat a speed trap and you're immediately compared to someone.


The same ethos applies after a championship race. Playground has designed it so a chum from your friend list or car club will act as your nearest rival infuriatingly, they're always just a fraction of a second faster. It’s like having gone water skiing or surfing, only to return to shore and have a friend lean over and say, ever so casually, “Done that better than you, mate.”

Our top tip for the best drive ? Don't restart the track from within the championship structure find the region and race on the menu system. Doing this gives you the clearest weather conditions, and you get to pick your car.
“Without even trying you find yourself competing against your friend list”
There’s more, if you’re feeling especially competitive. Boot up online free roam, and you and a cobbled together group get to travel to all the events on the map, everyone else following your lead. You know when you go away somewhere without a plan, and everyone says “Oh, I don’t mind, whatever you like?” That’s this. Only, you have to decide. Inevitably, there’ll be someone who'll gripe, “Ugh, [insert car class] sucks.” You’re better off, in that case, going for the much more rigid but egalitarian fourevent online road trip, where everything’s set out for you a bit like a package holiday, but not as naff. Everyone votes on the routes, and even if you lose the event, your skill points and XP count towards the final tally. Sadly, there’s not enough variety here: it’s either plain Jane races or two variations of tag. Where’s the silliness? Ironically, the playground games in this instance are pretty limited

It’s fun, but not reason enough to pick up the game it’s the sense of single player freedom and blissful escape that earns Forza Horizon 2 a place in our collection. You’re better off leaving the online options humming behind the scenes, succumbing to the allure of challenges as and when you feel like it. Because at the end of the day, isn't that what holidays are all about ?

7/10