Forza Motorsport 2 - Forza 2

By Riyad Emeran

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

The arcade mode lets you get straight into the action, and you thankfully have a wide selection of cars at your disposal from the off. You will also win new rides as you dispatch each arcade race – most of which are run on tracks that will be very familiar to motorsport fans. If you’ve got a steering wheel there’s a lot, and I mean a lot of fun to be had racing in arcade mode, but the real challenge is the career mode.

Turn 10 has tried very hard to make the career mode compelling, but ultimately fails. Cutting each race series into a number of different events, with multiple races in each makes sense. It’s also very clever to have strict guidelines on what type of vehicle can race in each event, since this forces you to diversify your garage, rather than just sticking with the type of car you like. Unfortunately though, this format ultimately gets dull, and you start to look at each event as just 15 or 20 minutes of your time, since that’s likely to be how long it will take to win that prize car that’s up for grabs.

Of course things get more challenging as you progress, with more laps to complete and faster cars to compete against, but it’s just too easy for you to upgrade your own vehicles way beyond the ability of your computer controlled opponents. If you are finding it really easy, you can of course bump the difficulty level up, but in reality the Normal level should at least offer some challenge as you progress.

So perhaps the real challenge is with online play? Not exactly. The first time I tried to play online I spent 45 minutes trying to connect to games and then getting thrown out just as I was about to race. When I did eventually manage to get into some Xbox Live sessions, the result wasn’t really worth the wait. Compared to PGR 3, Forza 2 feels like a step backwards when it comes to online races. Network lag seems to be a major problem, with your opponents’ cars randomly vanishing and then reappearing a few hundred yards down the track. There’s also no point playing online with a steering wheel, since the chances are that all the other players will be using controllers, leaving you at a distinct disadvantage – although you’ll get the more rewarding experience!

Verdict

Whereas the original Forza Motorsport took the Gran Turismo model and tried to open it up to a wider audience, Forza 2 seems to be trying too hard to attract the casual gamer, thus losing the driving enthusiast along the way. The slightly disappointing visuals could easily have been forgiven if the driving dynamics and AI were first rate, but unfortunately they’re not.

But Forza 2’s saving grace is its performance when using Microsoft’s wireless steering wheel, and ultimately that’s what keeps a respectable score at the top of the page. When you’re playing this game with a steering wheel, with a manual gearbox selected, it truly is an absolute joy. So, if you’ve been waiting to add Forza Motorsport 2 to your Xbox 360 collection, you better factor in the cost of a steering wheel too.

Overall Score

7

Dan97c

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....

comments powered by Disqus