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 Forza Motorsport 2 (360)

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IceMan
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PostSubject: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)   Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:48 am

Forza Motorsport 2
publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
developer: Microsoft Game Studios - Turn 10 Studios
genre: racing
US release: 05/29/2007

platforms: Xbox 360

reviews:
Xbox 360
  • 100% = 5 reviews
  • 90's = 55 reviews
  • 80's = 19 reviews
  • average = 90.0%




IceMan's mini-review:
(Xbox 360 version)


I used to be turned off by racing simulations like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport, mainly because I wanted entertainment and these simulations felt more like a chore. I felt less like I was racing and more like I was driving. However, games like Project Gotham Racing and GRID, while not realistic simulations, felt a bit more real than most other racing games I was used to and helped draw me into the direction of racing simulations, so now I'm into Forza and am really liking it.

What Forza Motorsport 2 does over most other racing games and does real well is simulate realistic driving. The cars feel more like they're actually made up of a ton of metal and less like they're built out of textured polygons, and players have to slow down more for turns that they might take quite a bit faster in other racing games, and they'll take off a lot more slowly than in other racing games. This is because the game depicts realistic performance from the vehicles and realistic physics.

Just dismissing it all as "realistic physics" grossly understates what Turn 10 has put into depicting racing in this game. There are so many little aspects of the vehicles that this game takes into consideration and is constantly running calculations with. At least some of this information can, if the player wishes, be viewed in-game by opting to display real-time telemetry. The player can see moment-by-moment figures for friction on each individual tire, depression of each wheel's suspension, each tire's air pressure, the exact temperature (to the tenths of a degree) not only of each tire but for three different parts of each tire (outside, center, and inside edges), damage to different parts of the car, and more.

The cars can be upgraded with new parts, and there are plenty to choose from. Some of these can be seen in games like Need for Speed, like rims, spoilers, and bumpers, but in Forza these actually effect the vehicle's performance. Going so much deeper than just the cosmetic however, players can choose different tire widths, different tire compounds (by different manufacturers with different specs even), weight reduction packages, exhaust upgrades, intake upgrades, ignition, cams and valves, intercoolers, brakes, springs and dampers, anti-roll bars, clutches and flywheels, differentials, and more, and every single one of these will effect vehicle performance in different ways. All of these play into the physics that's constantly being figured throughout gameplay.

It isn't just the part upgrades, but players can, if they wish, tune various aspects of their cars, and can even save and load setups for different situations. Players can adjust the air pressure in their tires, gear ratios, wheel alignment, anti-roll bars, springs, rebound stiffness, downforce of front and rear wings, braking distribution, and the differential. All of these will be worked into the game's physics and effect the vehicle's performance on the track (or off the track in the grass if you're not careful).

Players can also make cosmetic modifications to their vehicles, basically in the form of paintjobs. The game offers lots of colors and a few types of paints to chose from, window tints of a range of colors, the option to paint the brakes, spoiler, mirrors, and hood (independently of the rest of the car if the player wishes), and apply vinyls. The game offers a huge list of shapes to apply to the cars, and the player can position them where they like, rotate them, stretch or shrink them, make them whatever color they desire, and even adjust their transparency. These shapes can be used to make sometimes elaborate artwork.

Some players create these elaborate works of vehicle art and sell them for extra cash in the game's auction house, wherein players can buy and sell their vehicles to other players over Xbox Live. The game enjoys perhaps the best online community of any racing game (at least based on what I hear from other players, since I don't personally play online), with players setting up race events and racing each other. Players can even choose to just sit back as a spectator and watch other players' races through Forza Motorsport TV (I think that's what it was called). After racing, players can view their replays, and they can choose to save them or take photographs from them, and these photographs can be uploaded to the official website.

There are lots of events to complete; enough so for dozens of hours of gaming just in singleplayer, to say nothing for the online multiplayer. Forza Motorsport 2 boasts hundreds of cars from manufacturers all over the world, and depicts them wonderfully. The game offers an optional racing line that can suggest the optimal place to drive and whether to accelerate or brake, and this can be either off, braking only, or on. There are several other difficulty options that can be toggled, including automatic or manual transmission, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and of course AI difficulty. The driving line can be invaluable to gamers new to Forza that haven't played something like it or Gran Turismo.

Sadly, it's not all praises for the game. Forza's realistic racing simulation may be frustrating to racing gamers more comfortable with something like Need for Speed or Project Gotham Racing, thought whether this realism is a good thing or a bad thing entirely depends on the tastes of the gamer.

What isn't up to opinion is the game's visual shortcomings. While the cars look great, everything else leaves more than a bit to be desired. The environments are bland and exhibit limited detail by comparison to other prettier racing games like Project Gotham Racing 4 and, more recently, GRID (although in fairness GRID came out a full year later). There are plenty of "jaggies" and obvious pop-in, and objects reflecting off the cars' hoods come and go. There are no variations in time of day or night and no weather effects at all, with each coarse locked permanently into the same time of day and weather conditions which are always partly cloudy or mostly cloudy (depending on the course) but nothing more.

The game's audio leave room for improvement, as well. While the engines and tire screeches sound about as expected, there isn't much else to hear. The roar of the crowd in one course obviously repeats every few seconds. The sound of your tire going off the track into the grass can sound more like it's dipping into a mass of dog droppings. Whether the soundtrack is good or terrible is a matter of opinion, but it can only be heard in menus, and there is no option for listening to it at all during races. Hardcore players may be glad that there is no music during races, perhaps preferring to get auditory feedback on their on-track performance, but some players may have liked having the option to listen to music while driving.

This racing game isn't for everybody, but any gamer that can enjoy a realistic depiction of racing owes it to themselves to pick this one up if they haven't already. It does a great job of simulating the feel and performance of the vehicles and the physics of racing and there's plenty to do for at least several dozen hours, not to mention an online community that includes gamers that have been playing for a year or more.

Graphics = 7
Good framerate, nice cars, but lots of jaggies and pop-in and bland, low-detail environments.

Audio = 8
The engine noises and tire screeches sound about like you would expect, but sadly there's little else to hear during races. There's music in the menus, though the selections are questionable. Crowd noises get repetitive fast.

Presentation = 7
The game does what one might expect and little else. It's a fantastic racing simulation, but does nothing else interesting.

Gameplay = 9
This is quite possibly one of the most entertaining racing games I've played. It's difficult to reasonably ask for anything more.

Overall (not an average) = 9
It isn't very flashy, but this is a terrific racing simulation with a lot of depth and a great online community.


screenshots (Xbox 360):




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PostSubject: Re: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)   Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:44 pm

Great review as always! It sounds neat, but I also see what you mean about it not looking as good as stuff like Grid.
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PostSubject: Re: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)   Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:00 pm

This sounds alot like Grand Tourismo on the Playstation. I kept running off the road. I guess I would like Need for Speed or something like that more. This sounds like a good game though.
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PostSubject: Re: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)   Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:00 am

Clan Jade Falcon wrote:
This sounds alot like Grand Tourismo on the Playstation. I kept running off the road. I guess I would like Need for Speed or something like that more. This sounds like a good game though.

1) I believe you mean "Gran Turismo". Wink

2) I also used to have a lot of trouble with games like Gran Turismo, also tending to run off the road, but this was because of years of experience with arcade-style racers. Forza took some getting used to, but it's cool now.

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PostSubject: Re: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)   Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:43 pm

this game sound like realistic. i like realistic!!! all games should be more liek this. make it real guys!!!!
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