Forza Motorsport 2 - Forza 2

By Riyad Emeran



Our Score:


Likewise, if you’re driving a car with copious amounts of power going through the rear wheels, you can expect similarly copious amounts of oversteer if you overcook things through the bends. But once again, using the steering wheel really does convey just the right amount of feedback – lift off mid corner and you can feel the back going light as it loses traction and starts to slide, fight the oversteer with a handful of opposite lock and nail the throttle to drift the car round the bend. Powersliding may not be the fastest way around the track, but just like in the real world, it’s incredible fun and also looks awesome in the replays!

I can’t stress enough how much better Microsoft’s wireless steering wheel makes Forza 2, and if you’re seriously into driving, swallow the cost and buy both together, you really won’t be sorry. The problem is that without a steering wheel the driving dynamics in Forza 2 are pretty average at best, and anyone possessing even modest skill with a controller will have no problem at all lapping any track at ridiculous speeds.

And that’s my biggest problem with Forza 2, if you use the controller it’s just too damn easy. No matter how fast your car, no matter how unruly its handling may be in the real World, no matter how challenging the track, once you get the hang of flicking the left analogue stick at the right times, you’re pretty much sorted. Basically all the brilliant handling that Forza treats you with when using a steering wheel is completely lost when using the standard controller.

Unless you’re an unconvincing actor in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, you’ll be well aware that sliding a car round a sweeping bend is not easy. A tidy power slide requires pin point throttle adjustment and divine steering balance, something that is conveyed brilliantly when using a steering wheel with Forza 2. However, if you’re using the controller sliding, say, a Ferrari F430 around a bend is as simple as stabbing at the throttle and flicking the analogue stick in the opposite direction as soon as the back end starts to go. All sense of realism and challenge goes out the window, and pretty much any track in the game is no problem to navigate at high speed.

The control issue isn’t the only sign that Turn 10 has worked hard to make Forza 2 more accessible to the casual gamer though; the skill level of the computer controlled drivers also leaves a lot to be desired. First up, the AI is appalling, but to be fair to Forza 2, I’ve never played a driving game where the AI hasn’t been fatally flawed. Unfortunately, much like every other racer out there, the computer controlled opponents will follow the optimum racing line around the track, no matter what may be in the way. This means that if you’re trying to cut inside an opponent on a bend, they won’t brake to avoid hitting you, they’ll just turn in and follow the racing line, regardless of the fact that your car is in the way. This leaves you often making contact with opponents when trying to overtake on bends, something that would rarely happen in the real world. OK, I accept that BTCC racing involves a bit of contact, but most drivers will avoid hitting another car if possible, due to the detrimental aerodynamic effect that damaged bodywork will have on their race.


October 23, 2009, 7:55 pm

Wow - I have never read a TR review that I disagreed with more. And so am glad to be the first (after 2 years) to post a review to make this clear!

Something that becomes clear very soon with playing Forza 2 is the amount of effort they put into the physics engine and in particular the tyre-modelling. I remember back in 07 when it was launched reading interviews about when the software modellers met with the Goodyear and Bridgestone tyre engineers and quickly realised they weren't going to get the information they came for as they were questioning (and were building into the game) a level of detail, accuracy and knowledge that was beyond even the mainstream real-world engineer.

This level of realism - in my opinion - really comes through in the game.

Riyad hints towards this with reference to the steering wheel, but in my opinion this sense of immersion and realism is there even with the handset controller by just turning off many of the driver aids. (Turn off all stability aids plus the drivers line, and soon you'll find yourself looking out for 'markers' in the change of tarmac colour or grass as you brake or turn in or feed in the gas just like you would on a 'real-world' race track).

All you have to do is ask that your friends - or online competitors - switch these aids off and then you will have a incredibly life-like road race of skill on your hands.

I agree with the point about tuning a 200bhp engine to a 400bhp engine without uprating your drive shaft, but at what point to stop the user having fun vs forcing them to adhere to the rulebook? For me, this was far less important that the physical real-world realism once you're behind the wheel.

Overall, the only thing you could fault this game with was the fact that the AI (although incredibly impressive at pushing it to the limit at the top setting) often - but not always - doesn't avoid collisions at the expense of a better corner line.

But this is something I'm confidently looking to Forza3 to fix....

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