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Hands on with Microsoft's latest titles - Part 2: Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2

As you no doubt know from part one of our previous article, recently we spent some hands on time with some of the game Microsoft showed off to the press at E3 and today we will focus on two of the biggest exclusives, Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon.

Sunset Overdrive made an appearance at the event with the same playable demo that was available at E3, pitching our hero against a horde of mutants set in an amusement park. This third person action game manages to blend colourful visuals with explosive action leaving Insomniac Games and the Xbox One with a sure fire hit on their hands.

With the words of the host ringing in my ears "stay off the ground or you will die" the initial controls came across as being a little awkward to begin with, struggling to stay on top of the rails and linking jumps together, though the boast was very true as landing on the floor results in the mutants being quick to swarm over your position and even though heavily armed, the explosive weapons on hand do little in close quarters, instead having you rely on a sword to take care of them. The key to traversing the game world is the grab button which allows you to swing, grab or grind whatever is in your way, with staying high and constantly moving keeping you relatively free from any hassles. Even in the small amusement park playable area, it is clear the game world has been well created with extreme parkour in mind.

With a checkpoint on the screen you just jump and grind towards the goal, the first challenge being a huge mutant that is all too quick to charge you down. This is where your awesome arsenal comes into play, each one a very original weapon with explosive teddies, rapid fire records or the more standard AK47 at your disposal. The aiming cursor seems to have an auto lock depending on the weapon which at first feels a little strange and fidgety but with all of the running and jumping I quickly adjusted to it. With some more advice from the host I use a freeze bomb, stopping the behemoth in its tracks, allowing me a spare few seconds to unload my arsenal, using the radial weapons menu to quickly switch through my weapons and unload. Once defeated in an explosion of green goo I am then instructed to the roller coaster to take out two sets of fireworks crates situated at the peak of the amusement ride. Using the grind skill my hero easily slides across the tracks, slicing any mutants that get in the way whilst jumping to other tracks, sliding my way to the top and to the objective that once blown up ends the demo.

This short but intense demo gave me the feeling that there is clearly a lot more to this Xbox One exclusive title than meets the eye, but with initial impressions quite high it seems that this is yet another game to get excited about, especially for fans of games like Crackdown, Dead Rising and InFamous.

So next it was on to Forza Horizon 2, a title that is already going to have a lot of competition; That said even from the small track played it looks to be in a safe spot, though I am biased as any game that has Todd Terje’s 'Delorean Dynamite' on the soundtrack will get multiple plays from me irrespective. 

With strikingly realistic visuals that will get any car fan excited, the overall feel of Forza Horizon 2 has a more arcade focus to it, with drifting feeling natural and the game awarding plenty of points for using your more risky driving skills. 

The fast rewind feature again returns, allowing a quick rewind if you hit the rails or just want to improve on a corner. Alongside some great visuals and music are also some impressive sound effects, from reeds hitting the front of the car as you drive through a field to the huge rumble of thunder that made the hairs on my arms stick up as the rain started pouring, with the dynamic weather system even affecting my overall control.

With a strong graphics engine and lots more to come from Forza Horizon 2 these next few months are going to be tightly fought for the top space in the racer category.

Edited On 15 Jul, 2014

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