Rev up the high octane because its time to accelerate down the finish line in Microsoft’s highly anticipated Forza Motorsport 2. From tuning to decals, Forza Motorsport 2 has everything for all racing enthusiasts on plus side of simulation. We’re in the pits bringing you Extreme Gamers’ review of Forza Motorsport 2.
Forza Motorsport which debuted on the original Xbox in 2005 slowly became a staple racing title in Microsofts line-up. Made for a simulation heavy fan base, Forza steered more towards the competing Grand Turismo then Microsoft’s other A list racing game, Project Gotham Racing. Forza was everything Project Gotham wasn’t and racing fans were happy to get some “real” racing action. We’ll it’s been a while in development and Xbox live is peaking out of it’s shell, so there is no better time then the present to hit us with another dynamite version of Forza Motorsport. Forza Motorsport 2 utilizing the new consoles hardware has finally arrived and it feels good to behind the wheel once again, Forza style.
I have been anticipating this one for some time now, and it seems that my expectations are so high that it would take a revolution in game play to hit them. I loved Forza one, and I was expecting a whole new upgraded engine and then some. Unfortunately, my ultra high expectations where not met when I started my career in the second Forza, it seems like we have more of the same, with some new features, and upgraded visuals. I’m not saying Forza Motorsport 2 is bad, it’s far from average, and it’s just not the revolutionary jump I expected. If you haven't had a run at Forza in the past, then I'm sure you will be impressed with the overal production and depth of Forza Motorsport 2.
Mirroring Forza one, Forza two, has the same reflection. Forza Motorsport 2 although improved overall in basics is the same experience. This is great in the respect that because it wasn’t broke, so it didn’t need fixing. Forza Motorsport has been fined tuned much like Project Gotham Racings jump to the Xbox 360. So now that I’ve cleared the air and the emission test has been given the green light, lets get into the gameplay and features in Forza Motorsport 2.
Forza Motorsport 2 is well rounded racing experience that can be adjusted your experience level, either that be a timid first timer, or a seasoned veteran. If you’re a novice you can turn on some aids, lower the A.I. difficulty and hope for the best, and if you’re the vet, then turn the aids of and crank the difficulty up. The game rewards you with credits for positions in races and percentages taken and given for the amount of damage taken, and aids that are turned on or off. Novice racers will earn considerably less then the pros which gives the player incentive to get better, and start turning the aids off. The credit system is balanced and solid and a great way of keeping interest for the gamer, while they strive to better their racing skills.
To better describe the aids you have basic helpers like stability, antilock brakes, and traction controls that help keep you rolling smooth, turning nice, and stopping at little easier. The driving line also returns and it can turn on or off which really kicks up the difficulty a notch. The switch up here is that it’s only a partial line in the corners, helping you yield into a corner without too much trouble. If I make it sound simple, it’s not always a breeze. Handling the various cars take skill not to turn too fast, or go off the track. Forza Motorsport 2 can be a tricky little devil even if you’ve a master in the racing genre.
So now we know Forza is accessible, that is if you’re not looking for an F-Zero experience. Forza is still rooted deep in simulation with little play towards an arcade feel. Don’t let the first batch of cars scare you, Forza starts out slow with the mid-class, average handling cars and works it way up to 700rmp’s, quick turns, and neck to neck finishes. Supported in a solid 60FPS, Forza Motorsports looks great and holds up without a hiccup online and off. As you cruise though the career mode which is set up the same, you will be rewarded with discounts at part manufactures, new cars, and more cars being unlocked. Like the original, Forza Motorsports 2 sets you up with most of the free cars you need to compete in speciality races, although they usually aren’t the top of the line cars in its class. I always liked the car reward system in Forza, and Forza one ups itself this year with an auction house to sell and buy cars online like last years Test Drive Unlimited.
Speaking of cars, Forza 2 has more than 350 cars, from 50 manufactures. From Ford, to Ferrari, Forza Motorsport 2 boasts one of the largest rosters of cars in a game to date. Besides the cars you have aftermarket parts along side true licensed parts. The handling is also a major part in Forza which makes all these cars worth investing in. Each car will handle and feel totally different from each other, with careful specs being recreated in the games engine. It’s remarkable how much attention to detail has been plotted in Forza 2; it’s a car lovers dream. For a rough outline here are some of the featured car manufactures; Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Honda, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Panoz, Peugeot, Porsche, Saab, Saleen, Subaru, Vauxhall, Volvo and the list goes on. It’s very impressive, who knows maybe they will even have your car in the list, they had mine.
Forza also has 12 tracks you can race around which are re-worked in different arrangements for different races. The eight real world tracks are Laguna Seca, Autodromo Internazionale, Nurburgring, Road Atlanta, Silverstone, Tsukuba, Suzuka, and the Sebring International Raceway. The other four tracks are based on real world locations like New York. All the tracks offer something new and you’ll really need to learn them if you want to win a few golds online. This isn’t only because your opponents will know the tracks, but the A.I. is sharp in Forza 2 and will adjust to match your driving style. Get too aggressive and you might just be met with some equal force, or some cars might back off. It’s a really nice treat to see wonderful A.I. which steps closer to intimidating the real deal. Of course, I prefer the online challenge, although a few jerks aside, it can be one of the most rewarding games online.
One trick in Forza that can be exploited is to max out your cars upgrades so you naturally have the edge over the competition. If you have the cash you can tune your ride up to give you an edge. Of course racing skill comes into play and having the fastest car doesn’t always mean you will claim first, but it will help. This won’t help you online and you’ll need to have your rides tuned up a fair amount before busting into the online circuit as a major player. Online you’ll also find tournaments, an intergraded website that can directly host pictures from the game, watch you auctions, along with all the other stat tracking numbers in the game.
So you should be starting to realize that Forza Motorsport 2 is a huge game with months of racing to enjoy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Forza stays in gamers 360 long after the year is up, because it’s that good. Even though the majority of the game is solid, I have a few issues with the gameplay. First, the collisions are a underwhelming and don’t seem to have the same realism as the driving mechanics. At times a crash seemed like it would do more damage and it didn’t and other times, a small dent had a large consequence. This might be fixed with a patch, overall since the objective is not to hit other cars it doesn’t affect the gameplay in a major way. The other issue I have with Forza 2 is that you can’t drive the car from the dash viewpoint, which happens to be my favourite. A host of other games provide this viewpoint like Project Gotham Racing and Test Drive Unlimited; its too bad Microsoft’s Turn 10 studios didn’t have more time to add this feature. I’d even take fewer cars, for the option to look around the interior of some of the world nicest rides. Again, this doesn’t affect the gameplay, it’s just a feature I wish was added that didn’t make the cut.
I’ve already mentioned that Forza runs at a healthy 60FPS keeping the lag away from the track. The car models look great and can be overhauled to your pleasing. Checks around the net, people are creating some wonderful designs with the Forza tools. The car damage is also worked in well with the cars, and all the marks and scrapes come out in true HD. The environments are what you’d expect in a racing game, I just hope they start playing a little more attention to the details around the track on day, maybe Forza 3. Besides minor nitpicking the graphics stand out as some of the best on the Xbox 360.
The sound revs up with the same solid presence as the graphics. The engine sounds, and tries squeal with all the muscle of a real car. Forza Motorsport 2 is no slouch in the audio department. The only disappointing fact is that Forza doesn’t have announcing, which could be cool if done right. Also, the soundtrack might not be for everyones taste. Featuring a techno dance, alternative styled sound track you have some Tiesto, Orbitial and mixed with remixes from N.E.R.D, and grove numbers from artists like Crystal Method and Underworld. If Paul Oakenfold, and Crystal Method don’t ring a bell, you might want to use the custom soundtrack option.
Forza Motorsport 2 expands on the original providing everything you loved from the first Forza Motorsport, and then added more. The new features, updated graphics and expanded online community makes Forza Motorsport 2 a racers number one pick. Forza Motorsport 2 is a drivers best option for a well rounded simulation expereince so far in the next generation of gaming.