When it comes to off-road racers, they are few and far between. Each year the official WRC licensed games have proven acceptable, but they’ve always lacked that level of detail that you see in franchises like Forza Motorsport.
Queue the latest DLC offering for Forza Horizon 2, “Storm Island”. As an entirely off-road racing experience, does it provide a full-fledged rally experience, and at $20 AUD, does it provide enough content to justify the price tag? Let’s find out.
As the name suggests, the latest DLC adds a completely separate island to the world of Forza Horizon 2. Building upon the off-roading/cross-country racing that the base game has pushed, the “Storm Island” features completely off-road/dirt events with much harsher weather conditions to content with. While the new rain feature of Forza Horizon 2 was certainly impressive as you drove along the coast and you saw your windscreen wipers work for the first time, the Storm Island weather takes that to a whole other level. Rarely are events held with a bright sun and blue skies, instead you’ll face dark nights with intense rain or overcast skies with thick fog clouding your vision. Here, your reliance on the course markers and the mini-map are key in preparing yourself for what lies ahead.
In similar FM2 fashion, the events on Storm Island are broken up into a series of championships that you can participate at your own leisure. There are six tiers, consisting of four individual championships with three events each. To progress up each tier you must first complete the minimum number of championships and then win the ‘Gauntlet’ event for that tier (which is little more than a long cross-country sprint). Each championship focuses on different styles of vehicles (such as modern rally legends, classic 90s rally vehicles and even larger Baja-esque trucks). While I enjoy the variety in the vehicles and the brevity of the championships, it becomes quickly apparent that without a sizable amount of bank behind you, you’ll be limited to the events you can participate in and the vehicles you can use. With only three events averaging $8000 per race, you’ll be forced to either complete head-to-head challenges or return to the main island to complete races and return back. Having started the game only recently before checking this DLC out, my measly $140,000 wasn’t enough to cover the Group B rally vehicles in the second-bottom tier costing $160,000 each!
I mentioned the new weather conditions earlier on, and while they certainly add to the difficulty of the events by reducing most of your visibility ahead of you, the real challenge in the “Storm Island” events come from keeping your vehicle under control and remaining on the plotted paths. As much as the DLC provides that off-roading feel, you’ll still notice a considerable drop in speed by driving on the grass and fields and not on the dirt and paved roads. As embarrassing as it may sound, I had to drop the AI difficulty for these events just to remain competitive, and even then I’ve had to re-race most of the events to win them. “Storm Island” certainly provides a nice difficulty boast to Forza Horizon 2 and should provide even racing enthusiasts with a challenge.
In addition to new race types (which are combinations of circuit and sprint events with off-road elements attached to them) and vehicles, the “Storm Island” DLC also offers all the features that fans of Forza Horizon 2 have come to love. Aside from the championships to become the Storm Island champion, you’ll be able to participate in head-to-head events, complete new (and I should mention – incredibly difficult) bucket list challenges, smash upgrade discount boards and discover the new roads of the island too. There are also new transmission, suspension and tire upgrades just for the Storm Island terrain too. All said, I did notice however that I was unable to spin the prizewheel in free-roam whenever I levelled up after earning XP. While untested, I assume this would need to be done when back on the main world.
Whether you’ve already finished Forza Horizon 2 or like me, still plugging away, the “Storm Island” DLC acts as a decent addition to the base game. It mightn’t provide a complete rally experience, but it does well to provide a solid off-roading element to FH2, where off-roading in Lamborghinis and Ferraris just seem ridiculous and overkill. “Storm Island” allows you to play around in an off-road specific environment with off-road specific vehicles, with challenging terrain and weather conditions that provide a great challenge to even the most veteran of drivers. I’ve had to review $10 DLC car packs in the past that just weren’t the money, but for $20 AUD, this one is solid. VIP members are able to grab it at a 50% discount, which is a more than worthy price for the content you’re receiving. Not too bad Playground Games, not too bad.
Forza Horizon 2‘s “Storm Island” DLC was reviewed using a promotional code of the game on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher.
Review: Forza Horizon 2 Storm Island DLC