Forza Motorsport 2

Overview

The original Xbox was famous for some great racing titles, but has always cried out for one title to rival Sony’s monster hit simulation racer, the legendary Gran Turismo series. Microsoft came up with the original Forza Motorsports for the Xbox, a very well rounded racing game that on its own merits managed to grab a massive fan base right after release. Since that original release we haven’t heard from the Forza franchise, until now where it tries to have the same sort of instant success on the Xbox 360. Can it be taken to the next level? Read our full review of Forza Motorsports 2 for the Xbox 360 to find out!

Gameplay

When the original Forza Motorsports was released on the Xbox, it really just evolved into this great racing simulation and in fact went beyond a lot of people’s expectations. That is one of the benefits of having a game released for the first time. Now that we know what to expect the bar has been raised a bit and with the new technology, Xbox 360 owners are definitely going to be expecting more from this second title. So can the game live up to these higher expectations?

The answer is simply yes, and it starts off on the right foot with the offline modes and features, which consist of an excellent career mode. I should say that there are plenty of exhibition modes if you just want a quick race, however the career mode really carries Forza Motorsports 2. Similar to a game like Gran Turismo, you start at the bottom ranks with very little money and what they consider a low class car. My original car was a 2001 or 2002 Acura RSX. Really not a bad car by any stretch, but when you compare it with the rest of the game’s lineup, you’ll get what I meant. From there you open up a few tracks in which you want to race and win. The better you do in every race the better your financial status will be, and thus the better you can either upgrade your car or purchase a new one.

One thing I was a bit surprised with was the fact that the developers didn’t take many risks with the game’s career mode. In fact it was more of a really standard set of modes that was done extremely well. However what really drives the career mode is the computer AI, which is some of the best I have ever seen in a racing title. In fact, they can really take it to you, and it really doesn’t matter if you’re a good or bad racer, they’re coming for you. This added competition not only is fun in general, but it gets you ready for the crazy online ride. So not only do you have the desire to continue running races to raise funds and upgrade or buy new cars, you also will be wanting just to compete and try and take the top spot in each race.

I have a feeling a lot of racing fans would be more then happy to just enjoy hours upon hours of the offline content. However there is a whole online aspect that actually is pretty deep and includes every single option you could ever want from the online play. You have the standard quick game, which I actually found myself not doing after a while because first it wasn’t really that competitive, and second most of the racers on the quick game seemed to just want to crash and not race. So you do have to watch out for that online. There are career races, which means taking your garage from offline, online, and seeing how your cars compete. This is actually a really great incentive to invest a lot of time and effort into this game to really try and compete online. You can already see the Forza faithfuls are online and riding in their extremely fast and souped up rides.

One of the real neat aspects of online that is one of the more original features of the game is the Auction House, which allows you to buy and sell cars from your career mode. Looking for an already souped up car? Go online and see what you can afford on the Auction House. This is a small little touch that actually is a lot of fun to check out in reality and really works well.

The overall gameplay mechanics actually hold up great offline and pretty good online. There is still some weird online code that is flying around that really pops out a bit more. In fact, when you experience some lag you can see your opponents do some weird things and yet a few seconds later they’re right behind you. So depending on how your connection is online, you may have some weird effects on a slower connection. In the end, the overall feel of Forza Motorsports 2 is just superb. Although there are still things can can be improved upon, but the overall appeal of Forza Motorsports 2 is top notch.

Graphics

The Xbox 360 has seen its fair share of really great looking titles and one of these games is Forza Motorsports 2, one of the most well rounded visually appeasing games of the consoles short history. First and foremost Forza Motorsports 2 hits a home run with the car models, which contain just an insane amount of detail and gloss that bring every car to life. The tracks are not as visually appealing, mainly because there are quite a few of them and there are times were things seem a bit smudged together, but once again still extremely high quality. And most impressive for a racing game is the frame rate, which as mentioned before has some weird effects online, but offline is as smooth as silk. If you have an HD set, you’re going to be living large with this one.

Fun Factor

Simulation racing games don’t necessarily equal to an overly fun experience, and I will honestly say that the AI in this game can really be frustrating. You can be leading a race by a pretty good margin and have someone catch up to you, nudge you a bit, and bam you went from first to last. This isn’t always the case, but the AI in Forza is extremely relentless, and thus it is a necessity to always be on the top of your game. Forza Motorsports 2 has just a plethora of content along with some great racing mechanics, which all come together to make a great racing experience.

Overall

With all of the praise, it is no wonder that for the second time Forza Motorsports 2 still manages to impress. This is a game that manages to bring everything together into one complete package that remains without many problems. This is one of those games that if you let it you could be playing until Christmas. The online capabilities of this game can really expand and make for an extremely enjoyable experience. Racing fans do I really need to say this? Go get this game.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.