11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Gameplay suffers for graphics,
This review is from: Forza Motorsport 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I've been playing this game for about a week now and I am generally very pleased with it. This game as the potential to be one of the all time great driving sims, but it's let down in some key areas.
The driving physics are excellent. It takes a lot of effort to master and serious concentration to extract a series of quick laps. If you're too rough in any area (steering, braking, accelerating, choosing your line) you'll lose a lot of time. These are all good things in my book and make it extremely rewarding when you do well.
The graphics are very good. All the cars are extremely realistic. The environments aren't quite so detailed, but if you're playing properly you shouldn't leave the track so it doesn't really matter! The game runs consistently at a silky smooth 60 frames per second, creating a fantastic feeling of speed. Personally I think the brake discs glow too bright and too easily and the cars can be a bit too shiny, but it's pleasing to look at all the same. There's nothing to fault here.
Unfortunately this is where it gets frustrating. This is yet another racing game dominated by the American and Japanese markets. There are hardly any real tracks in the game and only 3 from Europe (Nordschleife, Mugello and Silverstone). This seems like a very poor representation of what Europe has to offer.
It's the same on the car front. There are plenty of cars from Europe, but why do we need 5 types of Honda Civic!?! This seems especially silly when the customization side of the game makes it possible to spec any civic (or even a proper car) to almost any class of racing. 7 British brands are represented, but there are no cars from Lotus, TVR, Jag, Vauxhall or Aston Martin in any of the Race classes, yet there are 5 Racing Corvettes and 7 Racing Vipers (11 Vipers in total!!)! The game is packed with endless tuner versions of Jap cars and horrible American cars. Australia is under represented too. A couple of variations of Holden's excellent Monaro make it in, but neither with a Holden badge..
Now onto the racing itself. I've heard a lot of people raving about the AI, saying it's incredible. I'm sorry, but it just isn't. The AI drivers do not race, they just go round and round. Left to their own devices the other drivers will follow each other at the speed of the car in front lap after lap. They only seem to be able to pass when one car has a big power advantage. They constantly compromise their exits from corners to stay on the exact racing line while not touching the car in front, even if it's 2-3 seconds a lap slower. Even if they do get an overlap, they tend to give up early or commit themselves to a horrible line and end up falling even further behind. You'd think this would make them conservative when it comes to overtaking the player, but if you're not precisely on the racing line they'll happily stick their nose up your inside and spin you off the track. Compared to a real sim like total immersion racing (a previous gen game in every other respect) the AI is way off the mark. (this is the highest difficulty setting, I haven't played on the lower settings. If you're any good at racing games you won't need to.)
The race formats are odd too. You start in the order of who's got the best car, there's no practice, no qualifying, no option for fuel load and no weather. In races where you need to pit for fuel, you have to start with a full tank. You can't do a splash and dash because your tyres go off pretty quickly, so you're forced to pit for fuel when you've still got plenty!
In summary, Turn 10 have done a great job with the physics and the graphics, but they've left out everything else that makes the difference between an arcade game and a sim. If I have to have arcade race formats and arcade AI, I'd rather have arcade physics. I've ordered PGR 4 and when it arrives I predict FM2 will get pretty dusty.