The waiting is finally over. Forza 2 has arrived for the Xbox360. But is it worth the wait? You bet it is. For those of you who have played the demo (or original), you’ve a good idea what to expect. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to sample it – let’s take a look at what the game is about and why I’m such a fan.
Forza 2 is a racing simulation game featuring over 300 cars, based around real world tracks such as the infamous Nurburgring. The game is set up so that it can be played by both the novice and the expert -options coming in the form of driving aids. With these, games can be made as hard or as easy as you like. Do you lower the difficulty and turn off ABS? Would you rather remove the racing line? This is one of the more famous features of the game from the original – a line giving exact turn-in and breaking for best lap times. Now there’s also an option for just a breaking guide, though it does show where to hit the apex of a turn.
Seeing Forza 2 running in 720p with 60fps shows a good looking, if not beautiful game. The car models are excellent and the tracks are all accurate (where they exist), but this is not groundbreaking to look at in the same way as seeing PGR3 or GOW for the first time.
Another aspect of the graphics is the car decal/modelling. Cosmetically, almost any car can and is easily changed. Just look at some of my designs. All cars have decal layers in the thousands meaning that you can create anything from a tiger-striped mini to a TVR Tuscan with a wolf on the bonnet.
Of course it doesn’t matter what it looks like if the place is terrible, but thankfully it lives up to the hype. Each car has a very different feel to it with weight, drive train and a myriad of other factors giving the near-flawless illusion that you’re driving the car. I guess the only real letdown for me is the lack of a genuine in-car view. Given the simulation nature of the game this seems somewhat of an oversight but apparently it would have had a hugely negative impact on the physics engine that runs at a mammoth 360 updates per second.
Where Forza 2 really excels is the physics. This element of the gameplay is really brought out if you turn off the driver aids and turn on the telemetry. Look at your tyres heating up. What about the g’s you’re pulling around that turn? Where is the weight of the car being moved to? There are pages and pages of telemetry sheets to look at, all with varied bits of information on the car’s performance.
There are various options and modes in the game including an arcade session (featuring time trial, exhibition and free run) but career is really where it’s at. Here there’s probably close to 60 hours gameplay all in, maybe more. There is a huge wealth of cars to unlock and different race types (such as manufacturer originals and endurance races) so there’s sure to be something for everyone.
One final thing to mention about Forza Motorsport 2 is the online component of the game. Once on Xbox Live you can sell cars at auction, show off your car designs, race and much more. One of the coolest things is how well it is integrated to the official website. I can heartily recommend this game and if you’re in the least bit interested in cars you are sure to get a lot out of it. Mentioning which, I’m off to play it again…