Forza Horizon 2 is the latest release from Microsoft and Playground Games, with miles of road to cover, a number of events to unlock and over 200 cars to choose from. Meanwhile, Sony's DriveClub, which was delayed from release last year, features an interesting social angle with clubs, as well as a beautiful presentation and plenty of events to choose from.
Which one rules the road? We pit both games against each other to see which will come out on top.
Graphics and Audio
Both Forza and DriveClub deliver in this department. Forza, for example, features terrific visuals that showcase the beautiful European countryside, inspired by Italy and France, along with wonderfully modeled cars.
For good measure, though, Sony’s DriveClub is no slouch. Evolution Studios took the past year to polish its game, featuring its own wonderful looking vehicles and plenty of detail in its track designs. The game runs at a very fluid frame rate, even during online events, and the tracks offer variety from around the world – a small change-up compared to Forza.
As for audio, DriveClub has a decent soundtrack, but Forza Horizon 2 beats it with multiple radio stations, including techno-based and alternative rock. Being able to select your own soundtrack is a huge plus. On the downside, Forza Horizon 2 also comes with a somewhat arrogant host – and one you can't skip past. DriveClub, meanwhile, sticks to racing.
Overall, both games offer terrific visuals and solid audio. This category is too close to call.
When it comes to actual racing, both games bring it.
Forza Horizon 2's handling is terrific, no matter which vehicle you're behind the wheel of, and the drift system is a little easier to adapt to than DriveClub's, since Evolution Studios' game requires more of a sim-style approach to getting around turns – and that can take some getting used to.
Of course, DriveClub’s vehicle handling is equally enjoyable, especially when it comes to the high-speed stakes involved in rushing for the finish line and being able to floor it on a straightaway.
However, it's the little things that make the difference here. With DriveClub, there are a number of penalties that are hard to get over, as you lose points based on collisions and not taking a corner properly – and considering the AI can be ruthless at times, these can be tough to avoid.
Meanwhile, Forza Horizon 2 is way more forgiving. It doesn’t penalize you for making mistakes, and it also offers a handy rewind feature that enables you to wipe out said mistake and drive on. Sure, it may seem like a cheat, but when you're chasing after a first place victory, every advantage counts.
In addition, Forza Horizon 2 benefits from going offroad. This adds some diversity to certain races, and also forces you to sometimes readjust, depending on which car you're driving, to stay on track.
This gives Forza Horizon 2 an advantage.
Winner: Forza Horizon 2
(Side note: this feature was written via testing with DriveClub before Sony ran into server issues, so they're not taken into account here...)
Both Forza Horizon 2 and DriveClub provide interesting social angles, with Forza offering an Online Road Trip option and the ability to join up with others in Car Meets, and DriveClub giving you the ability to form a crew and challenge the world.
DriveClub's club challenges are interesting to say the least, and a great way for you to build up credit to purchase new cars. The way you can throw out challenges online is cool, as you can find crews and take them on.
However, unless you know people who are playing, you may have to take a chance on rolling the dice with strangers, and given that some players are more skilled than others, this can be a crapshoot. If you know a few friends who want to race, however, you're all good.
That's what makes Forza Horizon 2 a bit better. Here, you can actually see who you're going up against, whether you're chatting with folks at a Car Meet or seeing a rival's best time. In addition, you can challenge friends who aren’t online, thanks to the return of the Drivatar system. While some drivers are more aggressive than others, it's a great system that will keep you racing, even when your friends are away.
Between the various challenges and the ability to team up with others in an Online Road Trip – which feels more personable than what DriveClub has to offer – Forza Horizon 2 feels like a better experience when it comes to online play.
Winner: Forza Horizon 2
DriveClub does have some elements that make it feel like it was worth the wait, particularly breath-taking graphics, comfortable controls and social angle. However, when it comes down to it, Forza Horizon 2 offers a lot more in the long run.
Aside from the single player campaign, Microsoft's beast comes with direct rival challenges, the Online Road Trip, the Car Meets and the Drivatar system. Throw in multiple radio stations and a better car selection, and you have a game that literally goes the extra mile.
While DriveClub is a cool PS4 exclusive, Forza Horizon 2 is superior.
Winner: Forza Horizon 2
Forza Horizon 2 is available for Xbox One, as well as Xbox 360. DriveClub is available for PlayStation 4.