Forza Motorsport, a racing simulation that’s very life-like, fun and addicting even if it can be a grind and had me hooked ever since the first game was released on the original Xbox in 2005. Back for more in this sequel, let’s find out if it can improve on the original.
If you aren’t familiar with the Forza franchise, then let me take a minute to explain. This isn’t like most racing games that you’re used to. You can’t just go speeding as fast as you want, or take corners at crazy speeds and just drift around it without a problem. With Forza, since it’s a racing simulation, you need to be careful with how you approach corners and take your speed and braking into account, otherwise you’ll be flying off the course and into a wall. You’ll have to find the right line to take around the track and hit apexes at the right time to get your best times. This isn’t for the casual racing game fan either, it’s for the people that love their cars, enjoy fine tuning them and most of all, love driving them.
Most of your time in the game will be spent playing the career mode as it’s an easy way to spend at least 20 hours into it, possibly more depending on your skill level. When you first start out the career mode you’ll have to make a decision on what region you want to start with; North America, Asia or Europe. This isn’t a permanent decision though as you can change your region any time you’d like, but it comes at a cost. With over 300 cars in the game there are plenty to choose from and your favorite car company is more than likely to be included here.
The bulk of the career is set up with various series to complete, with each of those consisting 10 smaller events that have a few races in them. Each main event in the career has a theme attached to it. Each event will have certain restrictions to what kind of car you’ll be able to use. Early on they won’t be as strict as later on in the career, so you’ll have a little more freedom at the beginning. At first these seemed a little off-putting to me, but as I kept playing the restrictions were actually nice. By having restrictions to the events and making you choose different cars to use, it keeps things fresh and prevents you from just sticking with your favorite couple of cars for the entire game.
As you progress through the career mode, the races will start to get longer. Early on races will be around 2-3 laps and be a quick completion, later on you will eventually get to the endurance races which are the last type of races in career. These endurance races can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to complete, and require you to take pit-stops because your tires will wear out or you’re low on fuel. The earlier races with Class D and C races can feel quite easy, but once you get towards the A and S class races you’ll start feeling the pressure from the AI and you might even struggle to keep your lead.
It might be obvious, but the main goal of the career is to win races. When you do that and win events you’ll gain more money and more cars to purchase. You can even win extra cars from winning the mini-series. Each race that you win will earn experience for your driver and the car you’re using. As you increase your Driver level you’ll start to open up more events to participate in, as well as getting discounts from different car manufacturers. The max Driver level of 50 will probably take you till about the Endurance races to even reach that. Every vehicle you can drive can reach a max Car Level of 5, which are earned from participating in races. As you level up you’ll earn parts discounts for cars to make upgrading a little lighter on your wallet.
While there is a wide selection of cars available to you, tracks are where this game is kind of lacking. It is nice to see quite a lot of real world tracks including the infamous Nurburgring, but most of them are from the first Forza and not a lot of new variety. While the same tracks that were in the original Forza do look better graphically now, it’s still a small letdown. With only 12 different tracks it can get stale towards the end of your career mode, so it would have been nice if they had included a few more tracks. The best tracks to me though have to be both the Nurburgring and Laguna Seca.
The physics in this game are some of the best and the realism makes it so enjoyable, at least for me. The way the cars handle are just how you’d expect their real-life counterparts to handle. Cars that are Front-wheel-drive (FWD) are very prone to understeer, while Rear-wheel-drive (RWD) cars are prone to oversteer, but you can control that into a nice drift around corners. Turn 10 also went all out with their physics engine to create one of the most realistic experiences you can possibly have in a racing game.
Graphically this game still looks decent for being a game of its age. It runs no problem at 60fps and when you combine that with the fast cars available, can create a crazy sense of speed that can be quite amazing at times. The tracks lack some detail in them though, but really that isn’t too important since 90% of the time you aren’t going slow enough to notice those details. The audio for Forza is also quite impressive being able to notice different cars based off their engine noise. The sounds of the cars are invigorating and very realistic. From hearing the engines roar to tires squealing around corners, it all sounds crisp. Even the crashes in this game sound great.
All in all, Forza Motorsport 2 is a nice improvement and evolution from the original Forza. It’s a nice balance that Turn 10 can accomplish when you feel like you’re playing the original but at the same time but it’s so much better all at the same time. If you are a true car enthusiast and loved the first Forza Motorsport, you’re sure to have hours of fun playing this sequel.
- Realistic looking and sounding cars
- Driving feels great and can notice tuning changes
- Plenty of races to keep you busy
- Small amount of tracks can lead races getting stale
- Track detail could be better