A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Forza Horizon 2 is an open-world racing game. It has a generally upbeat and positive feel and doesn’t depict anyone being killed or even injured. But the free-roaming design means that players are essentially street-racing in a world filled with non-racing traffic and that cars frequently get into accidents. The consequences of high-speed collisions are minimal; drivers are never hurt, and cars typically just keep plugging along, showing only cosmetic damage. Beyond the driving action, players will encounter suggestively clothed women in cut scenes and a small amount of mild language in song lyrics. A bigger concern is the unmoderated chat feature, which can expose kids to inappropriate language and strangers when they're playing online.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
After conquering the American West in the first game in Forza Motorsport's spin-off series, Forza Horizon, FORZA HORIZON 2 shifts the franchise's titular racing festival to southern Europe, allowing players to race across urban, rural, inland, and coastal areas of France and Italy. As in the first game, players can expect a lengthy series of championship races that encourages them to experiment with a variety of authentic real-world cars. But that just scratches the surface of what's available in this expansive racer. Players constantly earn rewards, whether they're engaged in official races, trying to complete side missions such as the imaginative new "bucket list" challenges (think: jumps, journeys, and joyrides), or simply going for a ride along a beautiful ocean-side highway. With more than 100 hours worth of challenges -- plus additional objectives sure to be offered via updates -- this is the sort of racing game that will keep both gearheads and casual racing fans occupied for weeks or even months.
Is it any good?
Forza Horizon 2 expands on the formula established in Forza Horizon by providing players a bigger, truly open world to explore, more objectives to complete, and prettier graphics -- especially if you're playing the Xbox One edition, which builds off the next-generation visual benchmark established by Forza Motorsport 5. Off-road racing is a very real thing in Horizon 2, with players challenged to careen through Italian vineyards and hilly fields of lavender that sometimes prove much more challenging than driving on pavement. "Bucket list" challenges -- objectives, the game suggests, that simply need to be completed before leaving this year's festival -- sweeten the deal. Imagine racing through a forest at midnight in the pouring rain or being told to drive a Ferrari "like you stole it" to a specific location, and you'll have an idea of what these creative challenges represent.
But the true genius of the Horizon games is in how they offer real cars and authentic handling to please gearheads while simultaneously providing a much more game-like experience than what's found in rigid, traditional driving simulators. Forza's Horizon games are just plain fun, and Forza Horizon 2 improves upon the original in just about every way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online safety. How can you protect yourself from potential bullies and predators when playing online games? What would you do if you were uncomfortable with other players' conversation?
Discuss studies that suggest kids who play driving games may be more prone to taking risks while driving real-world cars. How might driving games affect your behavior behind a wheel?
- Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release date: September 30, 2014
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence
- Last updated: October 28, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.