It’s also not as if finances can keep your desire to upgrade your cars in check, because you’ll soon find yourself flush with cash without even having to try too hard. This means that not only will you be able to buy upgrades to your heart’s content, but you’ll also be able to buy some particularly exotic metal before long. Some effort has been made to limit your financial freedom, by limiting the value of cars that you win in races – so while upgrading your brakes will set you back over 3,000 credits, if you sell your pristine Jaguar E-Type you’ll be rewarded with a measly 100 credits. Of course you can auction the cars you win online via Xbox Live, but considering how easy it is to win the car in the first place, anyone would have to be terminally impatient to stump up cash to buy a car that they could get for nothing by winning a few races!
In many ways Forza 2 suffers from the same underlying issue as Project Gotham Racing 3, whereby it’s not difficult to be driving the car of your dreams after only a few hours’ play, which then leaves you wondering whether you can be bothered to soldier on through the rest of the career mode.
To be fair to Turn 10, there are some very impressive aspects to Forza 2, not least of which is the fact that the game runs at a constant 60fps, unlike the somewhat dead 30fps exhibited by PGR3. This fast frame rate produces a very smooth and believable feeling of speed, which is exactly what you want from a racing game. However, I can’t help thinking that the impressive frame rate has come at the expense of visual quality. There’s a worrying lack of anti-aliasing in the game that leaves what should be smooth curves looking jagged and rough. It’s hard to admire the beautiful lines of a Porsche 911 GT3 as you pull up next to it when the wheel arches and spoilers resemble bread knives. Likewise, the edge of the track can also end up being a mass of jaggies, while the textures on the cars themselves have a tendency to shimmer as you approach them.
On the plus side, there are some very nice lighting effects, with good use made of bloom as you round a corner into the sun, while the reflective surfaces offered by pristine bodywork are a joy to behold, especially when viewing a replay. On the whole Forza 2 doesn’t look bad, it’s just that I think anyone who’s been waiting for its arrival will be slightly disappointed that it’s not simply jaw dropping.
Audio is considerably more impressive than the visuals, with engine notes that sound pretty much exactly like the real cars. The five-pot rumble of the Focus ST is nigh on perfect, while the slightly rough, but utterly intoxicating roar of a Porsche 911 2.7 RS (one of the greatest cars ever built) almost brought the hair on the back of my neck to attention.