This was always going to be the biggest racing release of the year, but is it a case of leaving the best till last? Two years ago, Codemasters produced the groundbreaking and hugely popular Colin McRae Rally, but since then Rally Championship and Rally Masters have raised the standard. Now Codemasters have stamped the name of the world's fastest rally driver onto a feature-packed sequel that we've been eagerly awaiting all year. GDR has been following the development of CMR2 and the impressions have been good, but it's now time to see if the final version lives up to all the promise.
This was my main memory of a brief playtest on the CMR2 beta last month. The special stages are what make rallying the sport it is, and many stages on the FIA world championship are real classics with a very distinct character. Whilst most rally titles apply a stereotype to each country's stages, those in CMR2 get very close to the mark - the developers must be real rallying enthusiasts.
Sadly CMR2 doesn't feature the front wheel drive F2 cars which made excellent learning aids in the original, nor the rally school - novices are effectively left to figure it all out for themselves. However it does feature some entertaining rewards for the successful driver in the way of some superbly modelled extra cars. The RWD Lancia Stratos is an exercise in excess oversteer that will put a big smile on your face, whilst the MG Metro 6R4 mini-rocket will spin the wheels in virtually any gear you choose. These (and more) become unlocked as you progress through the championships.
The seasonal update enables players to create more powerful rally vehicles by introducing supercharger anti-lag and launch control customizations. These features make rally racing and off-roading in the open-world sandbox of FH5 even more engaging and exciting, particularly for players who enjoy building custom cars.
In addition to the customization features, the Midnights at Horizon update follows the game's trend of offering free seasonal content. Early in March, Forza Horizon 5 added free rally cars that players could unlock without purchasing the expansion pack. The Midnights at Horizon event focuses on road racing, bringing neon decorations, longer nights, and other thematic changes to the game world, providing an immersive alternative for players who are less interested in rallying. 781b155fdc