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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-06-04 05:16:08
Steve Gonzalez requested another Vader strip, so...here you go buddy!
Gran Turismo 3 destroyed me. I bought the Logitech steering wheel. I unlocked, upgraded and tuned every single car. Forza Motorsport 2 is doing the same thing to me now. Like a kensai seeking perfection with his blade, Forza 2 is driving me to carve the perfect apex through every turn with my finely tuned virtual race cars.
It's the final word in realistic driving simulators. If you're any sort of automobile aficionado, you'll get lost in it. Customization is deeper (both functionally and aesthetically) than any other racing game, and the physics engine refreshes at a ridiculous 360 frames per second. The result is highly satisfying. Driving feels great, tinkering with parts and tuning is engrossing, and you have to see the player-created vehicle art that's appearing in the ingame auction house. I love the Nissan Z and The Legend of Zelda and I'm proud to own this beautifully rendered car.
Forza has catapulted this genre so far forward, Gran Turismo 5 has at least a full lap's worth of catching up to do. The physics, customization, opponent A.I., vehicle damage modeling, online play, community, and ease of entry (racing line visuals to teach you how to best take a turn) are all aspects of Forza that GT has yet to approach. (I'm also concerned about the lack of rumble in the PlayStation 3 controller - it's an absolutely necessary feature to communicate the loss of traction on tricky turns.)
Criticism of Forza 2 centers around the graphics. The hardware's resources are clearly allocated toward providing those 360 fps of physics calculations, and maintaining a rock stable 60 fps of visuals. There are no weather effects, no night races, and some minor aliasing "jaggies" are noticeable. This isn't to say that Forza 2 isn't pretty; it's the super hot girl next door as opposed to a Victoria's Secret supermodel. I checked it out for comparison on 420p, and hi-def output makes it vastly superior. It could be that many of the people who are griping about the visuals are playing it in standard definition. I do admit that it could've used a few more racing tracks.
As for the racing wheel, I bought it and returned it. It's a very good peripheral, but so pricey that I couldn't justify its purchase. At least with the PlayStation 2 Logitech wheel, I poured hours into games like Colin McRae and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 in addition to Gran Turismo 3 and 4. The Microsoft wheel supports only Forza 2, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Need For Speed: Carbon. I had already played PGR3 to death, and only every other NFS is worth playing (I'm skipping Carbon). For those of you who haven't played it, the wheel comes with a free copy of the excellent PGR3.
Forza Motorsport 2 - Rank S
Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel - Rank C ($150 MSRP!)
Now Playing - Forza Motorsport 2
Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce