Reviews// Forza Motorsport 2

It’s more than a game to the many millions

Posted 7 Jun 2007 19:11 by
After all, this is a ‘simulator’ of the real thing. It’s not Ridge Racer at all. From memory, Forza means that you should take it seriously – okay, technically “Forza” actually means “Force”, but you get my meaning.

However, this iteration of the franchise (as games journalism now demands that we call it) does tip its advertising-ladened cap at the needs of the casual gamer. There’s so much help available from ABS and various magical lines showing you what to do and where to go; there’s cars chosen for you – although I felt that being sat in a Ford Focus (young Mark’s granddad’s last car) to race to be quite insulting.

The basics of Arcade and Career modes in terms of sound and graphics, handling, and car tuning are all the same though. So, I’ll deal with those now before the coffee and buns kick in.

Now, I know – because Microsoft Game Studios told everybody – that Forza 2 runs at 60 frames-per-second in 720p high-def, but graphically the concentration appears to have been focused (pun intended) on the cars and the track surfaces. This has left the backgrounds, motion blurring, spectators, trees, sky, and the deformable objects – in my case these were usually bits of my own vehicle – rather less than engrossing.

But I’m not a Forza tifosi, so I’ve not got the full three-screen setup, which I’m sure adds to the experience enormously. That’s the other thing about any discussion of the game – let’s face it, for 360 owners who love to race, this thing is a religion. Pardon me, as I depart from a discussion of the audio (it’s good; it’s as good as it gets in a racing game when you don’t have annoying pit crew yelling inaudible ‘instructions’ in your ear – a la Formula 1 on the PlayStation 3… for example) – but researching this review does bring it home that Forza 2 is more than a game.

It’s more than a game to the many millions who don’t just play it, but spend months of their lives creating car designs (the iPod design is our current favourite) and who can now upload ‘photographs’ of their pranged, bashed, demolished and maybe even victorious vehicles to be viewed by the rest of the community.

Anyway, back to the game play. And this time, some competitive action. It took me a few runs to get used to the 360 controller and the tip-tapping, rather than wrenching, at the D-pad required to steer high-powered vehicles (such as the Ford GT – although, I am a Holden man myself) hammering along at insane velocities. Once I had, the fact that the Xbox-controlled drivers all appeared as hell-bent on revenge as the bastards-from-hell in Motor Storm became less ‘challenging’ and more annoying.
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