The original Forza re-defined driving games. It bought the shiny graphics and exotic cars of PlayStation’s GranTurismo, and added realism, edge of your set action, and fun.
Graphically it was the best of the best, and playability was unmatched.
It seemed that the only thing to make it perfect would be some V8 Supercars style damage. But alas, all you could do was scrape paint. A minor point considering the complexity of the game and what Microsoft had managed to do.
So now we have the next-gen X-Box 360, and Forza 2. Initially not a lot looks different. The graphics are as you expect them to be – more lush, more detail, but possibly not mindblowingly awesome – at least in comparison to what we were expecting. The graphics were nice, and the play smooth, and that’s what counts.
So pretty much the same game, the tacks (as with all sequels of any decent driving game) feel slightly different, but the cars handle much the same – bone crushingly realistic, especially when you try and take a corner too fast – and it’s at this point that you notice that Microsoft have added so ‘removable parts’ to you beautiful shiny car.
What you may not notice is the attention to detail, especially to the technical side of things, now whilst driving you can call up you HUD, and get the Telemetry. For me, this is a little too much information, but luckily they still have the simple damage indicator and tire temp icons.
So if not that much has changed, why bother? Because it’s the best driving game on any console, period. It’s been improved upon on so many little ways, but it feels just like the original, which is a great achievement, you’ll as comfortable in Forza 2 as you were in Forza, its just that if you take the time to look around you’ll see a lot more detail, like the smoke coming from your bonnet after rear ending that car on the hairpin. Or the dust cloud billowing out behind you as you get a wheel slightly off track.
There’s not really much else to say, if you’ve driven the original, then you’ll gonna love part 2, if you’ve never played Forza, then you’re in for a mind blowing treat.
Now that I’ve played it a bit more
I think any downplaying of the graphic of Forza 2 were un-warrented. On reflection there is a heck of a lot more going on, the tracks aren’t just grey, but a mixture of surfaces depending on the track, and a whole lot of rubber. The attention to detail off track is amazing as well, with the entire area modelled right down to trucks parked row upon row on the infield of an American oval circuit.
Why you might ask would you bother – well because you do notice, and its these little things that on reflection make you realise just how much better the graphical grunt is on the 360.
The other nice improvement is the AI. The computer cars are a lot more imperfect in their driving, and at time down right aggressive. From time to time you hear the distinctive noise of colliding metal and two cars behind you fight for the corner. Computer cars will continue racing on with smoke belching from their engines. No one is the perfect driver in Forza 2, and it’s refreshing.
Forza is a huge game, with so many options in customisation of your cars alone, add to that the many different race options available and you have a challenging game that will take you a while to unlock everything on offer.
The arrival of Forza 2 coincided with the arrival of broadband in my home, which meant one thing, I was going to hook up the 360 to Live and see how I fared against real people. I was worried that New Zealand’s under performing broadband speeds would make the game laggy and un-enjoyable. It didn’t. 95% of the time everything was smooth, with the only problem being the other players.
It could be the curse of our time zone but there were precious few options when it came to playing with other people online (No, I have no Live ‘friends’) and those who did want to play with me seemed intent on shunting me off the road at every opportunity.