Forza Horizon 2will be available on the Xbox One and the Xbox 360.
The demo opens with a cutscene and a nod towards disability accessibility with the explicit option for deaf and hard of hearing gamers to enable subtitles prior to the game beginning. The cutscene mixes game graphics and live action shots showcasing the concept of the Forza Horizon franchise which is driving fast cars on the open road rather than on confined race tracks. As the cut scene ends the player is tasked with driving the 2014 Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 to Horizon.
Given the open road deaf and hard of hearing gamers are faced with the realization that the in-game speech isn’t subtitled. While surprising, the subtitle options explicitly states “Turn subtitles in cutscenes on or off” and the in-game speech of Forza Motorsport 5 wasn’t subtitled.
The lack of in-game subtitles results in uncertainty on what to do next, especially with the open nature of the game. On screen prompts eventually directs the player but the process is confusing and less intuitive then the enclosed racetracks of Forza Motorsport 5. Additionally, voiced GPS instructions are an option to turn on and the lack of in-game subtitles misses an opportunity to provide a new experience to deaf and hard of hearing gamers who cannot hear and follow voiced GPS instructions in real life.
After the initial ride, the player chooses one car from three to explore the world – a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR, AUDI RS 3 Sportback, or Bowler EXR S.
For visual disabilities, on screen prompts are quickly readable with large fonts and players are able to opt in or out of various HUD features. The driving line, which is optional, provides visual directions but does rely on color to communicate how to best drive using green for gas and red for braking. Markers for event locations or checkpoints are clearly delineated by including both the readable font and a line from the text to the ground clearly showing the location. Points and accomplishments while driving area also easy to read while driving and some of the text is even letterboxed.
For fine motor disabilities, there are 13 available controller layouts. Initially, the configurations moves face buttons. Default Layouts 8 and 9 move gas and brake from the triggers to the face buttons while the remaining options shift the function of the right stick from Free Look to Clutch/E-Brake, Shifting Up/Down, or Gas/Brake. Steering is always on the left stick. Every layout includes the options for switching or inverting Gear Up/Down, E-Brake/Clutch, and Switch Look Back/Camera.
Additionally, multiple sensitivities can be manually adjusted for the preferred car control as well as various difficulty adjustments such as whether Damage and Tire Wear are cosmetic or impacts the car’s functions. The return of the optional Rewind feature allows a redo after a bad crash without restarting the race.
The open driving world is a fun adventure for racing down the open road looking for speed traps or swerving off of the pavement and plowing through fields and fences. The options for drivatars, AI mimicking other actual players, and online-free roam makes the world lively and active rather than a monotonous and solo driving experience. With a free demo available before launch on the Xbox One disabled gamers can play the Forza Horizon 2 firsthand in order to make an informed decision about whether to purchase the game.