When you’ve already got one of the best racing games of all time under your belt, the chance to create some unique DLC must be a huge draw. Thankfully Turn 10 and Playground Games have done just that with the, frankly superb, Forza Horizon 2 Storm Island content.
Forza Horizon 2 is all about the open road. Well, I tell a lie actually because its probably less about the roads and more about caning around having a laugh with your mates, than any other recent racer, giving you the chance to pile your vehicles through fields, across canyons and as far off-road as your mind can take you. Storm Island takes all that, includes the unmistakable Horizon 2 style and throws it all a little further in the murky fog filled unknown.
Set on a gorgeous fictional island just off the coast of southern France, Storm Island does exactly what its name suggests. It takes you and your Horizon 2 avatar to an island and then sends all manner of storms, lashing rain, high winds and mud filled raceways your way. The best thing of all though, is that it then just lets you get on with it, giving you the chance to play around to your hearts content.
To access the island, you’ll need to have completed a few of the standard Horizon 2 events first, but by now anyone worth their weight, should have worked their way through enough of that. From there, it’s a simple enough drive to the harbour in Nice in order to catch that ferry and be thrust into a few more races.
Featuring 30 new championships, all set across some new game modes, another of those superb Barn Finds and a number of equally great Bucket List Challenges, Storm Island is a great way of furthering your Forza Horizon 2 career. Granted, the new race modes are just more of what was already in Horizon 2 but with a bit of a steroid injection. ‘Rampages’ see you going from point-to-point, dodging obstacles as you go, ‘Brawl’ adds in even more extreme terrain, whilst the ‘Cross Country Circuits’ and ‘Extreme Cross Country’ races take you further off the beaten track than ever before.
You’ll need to start off in the lowest tier of championships, racing for four different titles before managing to get a crack at the top dogs in ‘Gauntlet’. Set in the dead of the night, Gauntlets see you take on the toughest terrain, the toughest drivers, the hardest of rain and the windiest of storms requiring you to drag all your racing skills up to the A game in order to triumph. And when you do, you’ll get shifted up a tier and given the chance to experience even more hardcore races.
Now, don’t go expecting to transport your entire garage onto the island and expecting to come out triumphant. It won’t happen and all that you’ll achieve will be getting your glorious cars dirty. Thankfully Storm Island understands and brings five new vehicles along for the ride. All are obviously suited for the off-road rough and tumble the island brings, with a sixth car, that of the Metro 6R4 ensuring that those who search out the single Barn Find on the island will be treated to the most ultimate of rally vehicles. Additionally, a number of Storm Island specific upgrades can be bolted on to all your cars so if you do wish to go tearing things up with a VW Campervan, then just make sure you stick those rally tires on it!
Storm Island also includes eight more Bucket List challenges for you to attempt, re-attempt, shout at and attempt some more. Four of these are of the medium variety whilst the other four work well together with the islands hardcore image and aren’t for the faint hearted. I would have loved to see a couple of easier buckets available just to get us into the swing of things once more but Storm Island isn’t about going about things the easy way.
Specific Storm Islands Rivals events bring even more to the table and are a great way of keeping busy once the championships are finished, whilst those who prefer to go online will obviously be able to do just that, taking in Island freeroams and online championships at will. There are absolutely tons of online events and party games to get involved in and if you fancy teaming up with a friend, the bucket list challenges I spoke about earlier are all up for a bit of cooperation action.
The problem, and this is possibly the only negative that comes my way for Storm Island, is that the price is just a bit too steep to drag the majority of racers on to its shores. Whilst £15.99 may not seem a great sticking point (especially if you include the 50% off for Forza Horizon 2 VIPs), the truth of the matter is that with the island only covering approx 1/6th of the original Horizon 2 world and only bringing 30 new championships to the table, it’s a rather short-lived offline affair. Yes, you have all the additional online stuff, but if Microsoft had dealt its hand with a price point around the ten pounds mark, then grabbing the content would have been a no brainer. As it is, it may just appeal more to the real hardcore Forza race fans that are out there.
Of course, 23 new achievements and a massive 500 gamerscore may be worth the price tag alone.
Whilst the difficulty level of Storm Island will ultimately be decided by yourself, I can honestly say I’ve never had as much fun in a racing title as I did when taking on these challenges. A combination of tough terrains and extreme vehicles kept me glued from start to finish and if you are looking for something to while away a little time, take a little boat trip to Storm Island now.
It’s one of the best downloadable content packages you are ever likely to see.