The poor AI isn’t the biggest issue though, it’s the fact that it’s all too easy to find yourself racing by yourself. Bizarrely, the grid layout at the start of each track is determined by who has the fastest car, so if you go into a race with the fastest vehicle on the track, you’ll start in pole and probably never so much as see another car for the rest of the race. I can understand why Turn 10 has done this, since a qualifying session before the race would probably produce a line up very similar to what’s seen in Forza 2, but it does leave you in a position where human error is often the only thing standing between you and first place.
Surely you won’t always have the fastest car right? Well you’d think that would be the case, but unfortunately it’s all too easy to make sure that you have the fastest car on the track thanks to the modding/upgrade feature of Forza 2. Obviously no driving game worth its salt these days would be seen without a method of customising your vehicles, but with Forza 2 it’s just too easy to create a completely unstoppable car that can leave all the computer controlled automobiles for dead. If you find yourself struggling in any race, simply drop out and upgrade your car then go back to the track and waste the competition!
And there’s absolutely no sense of realism with the upgrades either. I personally spend altogether too much time and money modifying my cars to get the best balance of performance and handling out of them. This usually invloves carefull upgrades of the induction system, the exhaust system, intercooler and ultimately a new ECU map that takes advantage of all the other physical modifications. Having been down this road with several cars I’m well aware that some potential upgrades simply aren’t possible, whether that’s due to a lack of physical space in the engine bay, or the fact that pushing 400bhp out of an engine designed with 200bhp in mind will result in a big bang coupled with a big repair bill.
Forza 2 takes none of the realities of automotive modification into account. Is that naturally aspirated engine not cutting the mustard? Just slap a massive turbocharger on it, regardless of the fact that there wouldn’t be space in the engine bay. Then there’s the small issue of whether other components in the car can handle all that extra power and torque. Forza 2 is happy to let you more than double the power and torque output of your car without forcing you to, say, upgrade your drives shafts or your clutch, or even your gearbox. Amazingly a gearbox that’s been designed for 200lb ft of torque can quite happily live with well over twice that searing through its cogs Forza-land. Ultimately, if Forza 2 was going to move the game on when it came to realism, it really should have adopted a more cause and effect attitude to modifications and upgrades.