Forza crashes into Europe, can it live upto the hype?
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Video: HDTV 480p / 720p / 1080i
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Official Forza Motorsport 2 Website
Forza Motorsport 2 at Xbox.com
Players: 1-2 Offline, Up to 8 Online
Release Date: 29th May 2007
The sequel to the massive Forza Motorsport 2 has finally arrived, from Turn 10 and Microsoft. The 360 despite having its fair of racing games has yet to see a solid racing simulator, until now that is. The Playstation has its Grand Turismo series, the Xbox has Forza Motorsport, and now the 360 has Forza 2 all for itself. Forza 2 aims to build upon its predecessor by providing better visuals, audio, more tracks, heaps of cars and of course massive amounts of customisation options. Car racing fans, car modders, and car sim fans will be at home here. The game aims to cater for almost everyone, but can it pull all of this off?
Developers Turn 10 have spent a long time creating this title, and honing it to be as close to a proper driving experience as possible. They’ve worked hard on the physics and race mechanics and all of that was immediately evident seconds into playing the Forza 2 demo, which hit the Live Marketplace a few months ago. I am a complete newcomer to the Forza series and I was in love in seconds upon hitting the racetrack in my Mustang. However that was short-lived by some of the worst Anti Aliasing issues I have ever seen. The jaggies were so evident on upon playing, that gamers struggled to cope, and immediately flooded various forums hoping the game wouldn’t ship in that state. Two weeks ago I tried the game on my new 32" HDTV and the jaggies on the demo were even more pronounced on the big screen. Luckily Turn 10 stated that the game will have 2xAA in-game and 4xAA during replays. Gamers breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Turn 10 has crammed so much functionality into the game that the full game has suffered in a few places, so this is a far from perfect game that most were expecting. Asking for a game with perfect graphics, running at 4xAA with 60 frames per second and containing all the features that Forza 2 has is close to impossible according to Turn 10. I could live with that. While PGR3 visually surpasses Forza 2, PGR3 is far from a sim and doesn’t come close handling wise. Turn 10 had to strike a balance.
You start out with a small budget to buy your initial car, and must win races to get cash prizes so you can upgrade your ride, and eventually purchase newer faster ones. Nothing original for starters. You’ve got to remember that in this game, the fastest car doesn’t necessarily equate to the winner. There’s much more to it than that. I’ve gone into a lot of races packing the fastest car, but completely lost. Forza 2 is based on a very complicated driving model that is extremely detailed. You can tweak and adjust many aspects of your car, and tune it to specific tracks so you squeeze the most out of your machine. Anti-Roll bars, suspension, tyre pressure, camber amongst other things, it’s all there for tinkering with and tuning your car perfectly can dramatically change the outcome of a race. I have only just begun to look at these options as I have finally started to learn the layout of the tracks.
As for the racing side of things, it’s rather enjoyable until you realise that there are only a handful of tracks. Segments of a track can be opened or closed to form new layouts, so essentially it’s the same venue but a different layout and this is where Forza 2 suffers, and PGR 3 wins if I wanted to do a comparison as the latter has more variety. As long as you take the corners with care and precision at the correct speed, you will be fine for the most part in a race, but blink for even a second and you’ll hit the grass and slide all over the place before slamming into the tyre wall. Most races are quite easy once you beef up your factory spec car with some mods, however it does get harder later on as you move up the scale and for this reason it’s essential to keep your car upgraded as the competition you face have increasingly better rides.