Racing games have been in abundance over the past few years, being one of the most developed genres in the gaming market to date. Now Codemaster’s one of the driving forces behind all of the racing games is back with their popular TOCA series in TOCA Race Driver 2: The Ultimate Racing Simulator for the PlayStation 2. Does this one earn a first place finish? Read our review to find out.
For those of you who are sitting back thinking didn’t we just see TOCA Race Driver 2 being released a little while ago? And the answer is yes; the game was first released for the Xbox and PC, and now is making its way onto the PlayStation 2. What was so impressive of the Xbox and PC counterparts was the amount of different type of race types the game had. Usually when a game goes for a lot of different modes you end up seeing a game that is just a plain mess. It is usually just a rule of thumb these days for game developers to stick to one idea and go with it. But instead, Codemasters took quite a few different types of racing and combined it all into one game. Hence now we have TOCA Race Driver 2: The Ultimate Racing Simulator.
Having the name of "The Ultimate Racing Simulator" is pretty strong words for a game to say. That really is quite risky title and requires the game to really back it up in terms of gameplay. And for that TOCA Race Driver 2 gives you a pretty complete picture with fifteen different varieties of race types. Not only that but a whopping total of fifty-two different tracks. If you ask me those are some pretty big numbers and they sound really good, but does the gameplay hold up to its fair share of the deal.
TOCA Race Driver 2: The Ultimate Racing Simulator includes a career mode that really impressed me in the last game and continues to impress me in this version of the game as well. In TOCA Race Driver 2 you take the role of a no-name rookie who you are put right into the action with. Something I have never seen done before in a racing game, the story basically throws you into the final lap of a race and from there you will go throughout the story. This is one of the better if not the best storylines I have seen for a racing title. Most racing games usually do without a storyline to go along with the game, but not this one. The career mode has you completing various objectives throughout which range from placing in a certain category or winning enough cash prizes. They do a nice job of trying to mix it up as much as possible, attempting to make the career mode as interesting as possible. The biggest positive side to TOCA Race Driver 2 is the fact that the career mode is quite lengthy, spanning for a good ten hours you will have plenty to sink your teeth into.
What most fans of the series are probably most excited about is the online play, which has you go up against seven other people from all around the world. The online mode was pretty solid encompassing everything that you would expect in an online racing game, with little to no lag that I could see. The only downside I saw with the online mode was the lack of games to choose from but hopefully that improves with time.
But what would this all be without some solid gameplay, and that’s where TOCA once again seems to come through. If you couldn’t tell by the title "The Ultimate Racing Simulator", this is not going to play like any Burnout 3. But instead TOCA performs at a very simulation like style that works quite well for the game. What’s funny about TOCA’s gameplay is that I don’t see anything overly wrong with it; it’s just that the game doesn’t do anything overly great. The gameplay is solid but its like they didn’t want to go the extra mile to make the game even better then good.
When we look back on Pro Race Driver (the first game), we see a game that really made some great strides in the vehicle damage, and some great car models as well. So does TOCA Race Driver 2 continue the trend and create a great looking race title?
The visuals of TOCA Race Driver 2 are solid from one end of the spectrum to the other. First let’s start with the great, which is the car damage, which on the back cover of the game is called "the most realistic car damage". Now I am not sure it is the most realistic, it is quite impressive with some amazingly accurate crashes, many of them will leave you breathless. The car models in the game do look like they have a tad bit more detail then in the previous year but still nothing great. Where the game falls short in my eyes is not in the cars but in the racetracks, as they look quite bland. None of the tracks have an overwhelming amount of detail, nor do any of the strike me as being very nicely developed.
Overall TOCA Race Driver 2 is not an amazing looking game but is one that doesn’t have anything overly wrong with it.
This section can be tough to judge only because the game can be quite frustrating at times due to the high amount of simulation that is involved in the game. But if simulation style racing is your cup of tea then yes this game is going to be a lot of fun for you. This is all largely in part to the solid career and online mode which will keep any simulation enthusiast busy and entertained for hours. Combine that with some solid gameplay and yes this game is going to be quite fun.
The bottom line on TOCA Race Driver 2: The Ultimate Racing Simulator is that it’s not the ultimate simulator but it is quite good. And any fan of the series or simulation racing enthusiast who are looking for a new racing title for their PS2 will definitely enjoy this one.
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