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Forza Motorsport 2

Forza Motorsport 2
Company:
Microsoft
Website: Official Site
Estimated Street Price: $49.99/£39.99
Review By:
Byron Hinson

Features

It has been a long time since we have had a really decent racing game on the Xbox 360, my view is that Project Gotham Racing 3, the launch title is still the stand out racing game on the console. So it is with great joy that I'm reviewing Forza Motorsport 2 today, it has been a long time coming, but we won't hold that against it. Another big feature for the game is the fact that it may well become the only title on the 360 that actually makes decent use of the official Xbox 360 Steering wheel, so let's see shall we?

With authentic simulation physics, bone-jarring damage, photo-realistic graphics, and licensed tuning and customization options, the franchise improves on the unprecedented features gamers enjoyed in its debut installment. Loaded with more than 300 of the world's hottest cars for you to collect, personalize and tune, "Forza Motorsport 2" gives you a complete racing experience

 * Lap the competition with truly next-generation features. Made possible by the power of Xbox 360, “Forza Motorsport 2” burns rubber at 60 fps with 4x full-screen anti-aliasing, motion blur, and high-dynamic-range lighting in crisp 720p high-definition glory. And you can feel every nuance of your car and the road thanks to support for the official Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel.

* Experience uncompromising physics simulation. Top automotive engineers, professional race car drivers and programmers teamed up to create the most complete racing experience available. Cars incur dramatic damage and wear, which affects car performance. Advanced tire and suspension models respond to heat and pressure changes as well as weight transfer and aerodynamic load.

* Master real-world tracks from around the globe. From the famously challenging Nürburgring Nordschleife track to the spectator-lined streets of Rio de Janeiro, race on meticulously designed tracks with an incredible sense of speed and realism. “Forza Motorsport 2” features more than 60 tracks carved out of 18 environments, including 13 real-world licensed circuits such as the Road America race track, Silverstone Circuit, Tsukuba Circuit and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Sebring International Raceway is among four new real-world licensed circuits added to the repertoire of “Forza Motorsport 2.”

* Collect, upgrade and tune hundreds of cars. From sport compacts to purpose-built race cars, collect more than 300 cars from over 50 of the world’s leading manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche, General Motors, Lamborghini, Nissan and Volkswagen. Take your car to the garage and install alternative engines, suspension kits, bolt-on superchargers, brakes, rims, racing slicks and more. Dial in advanced suspension settings, tire pressure and gear ratios. “Forza Motorsport 2” allows you to own the cars that will own the competition.

* Create and share your masterpiece with the world. Express your inner artist in the paint and upgrade shops with near-endless visual personalization. Customize the shape of your car by combining licensed rims, performance parts and aftermarket body kits. Create your own unique paint scheme using millions of paint and decal options. Take in-game pictures of your creation in “Forza Motorsport 2” Photo Mode.

* Compete in a vibrant online community. Take your personalized car onto Xbox Live® for some intense online wheel-to-wheel racing. Earn in-game credits and complete single-player career objectives while racing over Xbox Live. Watch the best racers as well as your friends from around the world compete on Forza Motorsport TV.
 

How Does It play

Review Quotes
Finally let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The game is full of detail especially on the cars, the game also runs at a whopping 60fps, but this in itself brings some problems. The races all take place during the day in perfect weather, so there are never any fancy graphical touches such as headlights, rain, snow or fog. The game also suffers from some bad aliasing both on the horizon and even worse on the cars that are the part the game wants to show off the most."

Forza is all about cars, it is not about speed like other racing games like Burnout and Project Gotham are. So putting it simply, if you are into cars then the chances are that you will love Forza 2. There are over 300 cars included in the game all which can be unlocked, bought and auctioned throughout the game, not forgetting the fact that you can upgrade every single one of them.

Forza 2 has a varying degree of different cars included in the game and they are split up into classes, each class of car has its own feel to it and you can always easily tell the difference between a high powered sports car and an old 60s design.

The developer is Turn 10 and they have managed to improve the game immensely compared to the original Forza game which was great a few years ago. The physics are where the main changes have come in; there are physic factors for almost everything in the game, from the heat of the tires to any kind of damage you get on the track. Yeah while I can happily say that most people won’t even notice the most minute changes in the car, the game does actually calculate them all to make this the most realistic racing game of its kind.

Anyway let’s get back to the basics of the review. The main meat of the game is based around the single player mode, in this mode you are taking part in a full blown career, one that will last you many hours before you get close to completing it as it takes a lot of time to do especially later in the game when endurance races come in. One new addition to the career is in the form of regions.

As you start your career you must pick one of three regions: North America, Europe or Asia. Picking a region helps to determine the in-game rewards you receive during career mode as well as affecting the prices of parts for the cars you have as well as prices you pay when buying a car itself. So as I’ve gone with the European mode you will find that prices are a bit more expensive for basic cars over here, whilst say I want to buy an American car, it costs me a bit more than it would if I was based in the US itself. Take note that this doesn’t mean you will only ever be stuck with playing the game with European cars and never get to drive anything else, it just means that the costs and rewards are now based on the region you are in. I have to say I like the idea and it works well.

Now onto the racing. Forza 2 features an experience system, well two in fact. In each race you take part in you earn credits, these credits act as experience for both you as a driver and for your card. As your driving level starts to go higher, new events start to open up as well as discounts on other cars. For the car experience, as you level up the car you earn discounts on car parts. I really like this feature as it means I can make my favourite car a real beast if I keep driving it and completing races.

Forza 2 

So overall most of the career mode is great, there are however a few downsides. The main one I feel is that the game is really about building up the best car you can rather than about improving yourself on the race track. The first half of the career mode is open to you no matter what the ratings of the you is. You only ever race against factory settings which means that as you upgrade your car it will dominate races, all you have to do is be cautious when turning corners and you’ll win races hands down. So race with a lower quality car and it becomes very difficult to win and is never based around the skill of the driver. The game has a limited number of tracks too which means racing the game in the same place over and over and get a bit boring sometimes.

I guess it could be seen that I am finding the most basic problems to moan about, but the game has been a long time in coming and I would have liked to see a few more tracks as well as night racing and weather changes which I still find hard to believe haven’t made it into a game that loves physics so much. Anyway I have to say that the most fun I get from the game is certainly in upgrading my cars. Turning the most basic of vehicles into a major beast on the road is a great feeling and the upgrading system has so much depth that I find it hard to believe that anyone will not find something they want to use in the game. It would have been great if the developers had added something that allowed the AI to upgrade its cars as the career mode went on too, but alas it is no to be. There are other features in the game such as changing the paintwork and designs on your cars.

Once you get bored of racing by yourself against the AI you can get yourself online either over a LAN or even better over Xbox Live! The online part of the game is excellent as expected with options for exhibition games, career modes and tournament racing. Career mode means you once again earn experience for your driving and the car while tournaments offer multiple races to decide a winner. I have played the game online quite often since I got it a few weeks before the UK launch so I was playing most U.S. drivers and I’m pleased to say that while there was a bit of lag, it wasn’t too bad and certainly wouldn’t cause people too many problems in races.

Forza 2 2 

Sticking with the online side, the game has a number of cool tools for gamers to play with, firstly you have an auction house where you can put your cars up for sale and buy cars from other people. The auctions are easy to use and you are always kept up to date in terms of what has happened when your auction has ended thanks to a handy pop up message at the top of the screen.

Graphics and Sound

Finally let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The game is full of detail especially on the cars, the game also runs at a whopping 60fps, but this in itself brings some problems. The races all take place during the day in perfect weather, so there are never any fancy graphical touches such as headlights, rain, snow or fog. The game also suffers from some bad aliasing both on the horizon and even worse on the cars that are the part the game wants to show off the most. There are also some graphical bugs, during the game you see a lot of tyre burns on the road, yet drive over some of them and they put a shadow on top of the car, it’s just a simple thing but for a game that oozes detail it is a simple bug to be left in.

Although It sounds like I hate the graphics, the full damage model is excellent and having full damage and full 60fps is great, it could have just been nice if the Anti-Aliasing was higher, especially as Microsoft state that it is “free” on the 360, but I’m guessing it isn’t otherwise this game would have it.

Music on the other hand is excellent, there are a host of bands used in the game and I haven't found a track that I hate yet either, any soundtrack with Faithless on it is good by me. The in-game sounds too all seem to be perfect from the differing sounds of the engines to the basic crowd noises.

Final Comments


Byron's Gamertag

So overall it is an excellent racing game that just has a few basic problems, not enough variety in tracks and some slightly dull graphics with poor aliasing. The online modes are great though and the single player career mode will last people a long time. So while I can recommend it to fans of the first game without question, it would have just been nice to have a little bit more to a game that clearly is in love with its cars.

 
Specs & Package
Overall Score 89%
Version Reviewed Forza Motorsport 2 (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Forza Motorsport 2 DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Excellent framerate
Great career mode
Lots of fun online
Excellent Web 2.0 Based Features
The Bad Points Needs more Anti-Aliasing
HD Resolutions 480p
720p
1080i


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