Forza Motorsport 2
Forza Motorsport 2 is a machine. It’s a perfectly oiled whole of menus, races, customisation options, online possibilities, cars, adversaries, A.I., tracks, punishments and rewards, difficulty degrees and a ton of horsepower. Everything that was so nice and addictive to the original Forza and Gran Turismo drives away here with perfectly designed perfection and makes Forza 2 the currently best and most complete racing game on console. Full stop.
If the introduction hasn’t convinced you enough already, then read on to completely understand what we find to fantastic and addictive about this game. The makers always claimed they were developing Forza 2 as an RPG with Pokemon influences and although the statement may seem odd, we believe them and applaud the idea.
You are in constant control of the game, a game that little by little gives more, improves and offers more abilities, skills and weapons. The credits you receive by winning races not only offer you money to buy new weapons and upgrades but also add to the level of your pilot. The higher the level, the more (and of course the more rare) cars will be unlocked and the more tracks and events become available. A nice finding is also that you need to choose a region (Asia, America, Europe) which influences which cars are the fastest and cheapest, and on which upgrade you’ll get the highest discount.
If that isn’t enough content already, there’s a completely different game present in Forza by means of the possibility to paint and sticker you cars with literally thousands of layers of decals, colors and shapes. Already immense amounts of designs have been made by now and the genious things about it is that you can sell them (copyable or not for the buyer) through the built-in auction system. Not completely perfectly worked out, this ebay variation (no automatic bidding) but extremely addictive and innovating. Is looking forward to racing that rare Ferrari with MasterChief on its hood in single player not enough, then there are two other advantages linked to it. The more rare your car, the more credits you’ll earn per race and you can also show off your beautiful ride when taking it online or upload it to the site (including personal page) through the photo-mode.
I won’t elaborate too much on all the personalisation possibilities including endless abilities to tune, upgrade and tweak your car. Just believe me that this is a wet dream of any racing and car lover and that also newcomers will be more than intrigued to learn more about this and set their first footsteps in the wondrous world of tire composition, camber and downforce.
The gameplay has an equally accessible level. The difficulty degree can be set very flexible (the harder, the more credits you get) by f.i. turning on or off help systems like ABS or traction control. Also the famous “suggested driving line” is back and can now be completely turned on or set so that only the brake zones are being marked. Perfect to learn to know the tracks! Famous is also the AI that’s been worked out better, with pilots that make mistakes, duel amongst themselves, don’t follow the perfect line all the time, and that will drive less or more aggressive depending on their temper and your driving behaviour. Only the decision to add penalty second to you when they drive in one you is misplaced and can be very frustrating when you want to set your record. Luckily there are a ton of arcade modes as well as a freestyle one to set those. Something for everyone!
The driving behaviour (look at the real-time telemetry) is simply unequalled, with subtle differences between each of the 300 and more cars, realistic responding to different surfaces, steering, braking and collisions and constant (360 times a second) updates of the physics. Those that want a sim will find a very good one in Forza 2!
Graphically Forza 2 is very beautiful. The cars are all pearls (unfortunately without cockpit view) and the environments are worked out very realistically. Excessive detail was sacrified to guarantee a permanent 60FPS, something every racing fan will appreciate. Also the soundtrack is nice, with songs from all modern genres and a couple of classics. Engine sounds are a bit less advanced but in 5.1 everything still sounds quite impressive.
I could go on for hours about the physics, the tracks, the scale model, the online possibilities like official tournaments, replays, the types of races, and so on… but I’ll limit myself to the following: Forza 2 perfections the gameplay of the race-sim as we know it from the original and the Gran Turismo series, adds an impressive AI, great online possibilities and endless amounts of leaderboards, makes you fall in love with community features like the auction, unique cars, interactive site and the paint possibilities, makes that the game is perfect for the racing fans and remain accessible for the beginner, and finally finishes it all off with a presentation that has everything going for it. Forza 2 is a monster but one you’ll love to tame!