X06: Forza Motorsport 2 Hands-On

Finally, the green light is lit. We go hands on with this highly anticipated Xbox 360 racing game.

BARCELONA, Spain--Last week at the Tokyo Game Show, we were cruelly teased by the Microsoft folks. After inviting us for a behind-closed-doors meeting to take a look at Forza Motorsport 2, MS game reps dropped the bomb that we wouldn't be able to play the game at TGS, and even our most pathetic hang-dog, droopy-eyes expression wasn't enough to crack their steely resolve. The good news is, Microsoft finally lifted the veil on the game here in Barcelona, and we spent part of the morning here on the second day of X06 turning laps in this highly anticipated racing game.

In terms of content, this demo build was more or less the exact same one we saw last week at TGS. A handful of cars were available to drive--from truly hot makers such as Lamborghini and BMW (both of which are new to the Forza series) to more modest makes such as Ford and Subaru. We tried a variety of rides out on the Tsukuba Circuit, the only track available in the demo, to get a feel for how differently cars of different power capacities felt on this notoriously tricky track. What we found certainly has us excited for the potential of the game.

First things first, we hopped in the very first car on the car-selection menu, a cherry red 2004 Ferrari F430, which was just as twitchy and powerful as you could possibly expect in the narrow lanes of Tsukuba. We had the suggested-line feature turned on, and we noticed that with Forza 2, you have the option to either use the dynamic suggested-line feature as is, turn it on only for braking zones, or turn it off altogether. This should offer a nice learning curve for those new to tracks in the game who want to take a more incremental approach to learning a particular course--that is, run a few laps with the suggested line feature on, then turn off everything but braking after you have the line down, and then finally strike out on your own with no help whatsoever. Other assists available to you were stability control, antilock braking, manual or automatic shifting, and traction control.

While turning laps in the Ferrari, and getting a good taste of the damage model that messes up your cars when you scrape walls or smash barriers, a Microsoft rep casually mentioned that one of their compatriots had turned a lap in the 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo in 59 seconds. At that moment, dear readers, it was on.

We immediately switched over to the Lamborghini, changed the car color to blue, and took the notoriously powerful (and surprisingly stable) car out on the circuit to test our skills. Though the Forza 2 build was still suffering from the same frame-rate problems that were featured in the last game, one thing is for sure: the exacting, demanding, and compelling driving model that marked the first game is well intact with Forza 2. Thanks to an improved rumble system in the Xbox 360 controller, you feel more in tune with the asphalt than ever before--it seems as if every undulation in the road is immediately conveyed to you in your hands. More than that, you feel even the slightest shifts in weight and can immediately correct--your hands are always busy when turning laps in Forza 2. Consider turns two and three at Tsukuba, for example--a ridiculously tricky and quick left-right switch just before the tightest of left-hand hairpins. Run too fast into the switch, and your car balance will be all out of whack when entering the hairpin. In Forza 2 this is still as tricky a corner as they come, but the improved feel of the road, coupled with the upgraded rumble functionality give you more sensory information than ever before for tackling (and hopefully conquering) this demanding series of turns. It took some time to compensate for the new and improved physics in Forza 2, but after a bit of practice, we were regularly turning 59s at Tsukuba and feeling proud of ourselves.

While the game demo featured a one-on-one race against a computer-controlled opponent, it was tough to tell if the same vaunted artificial intelligence found in the first game was on hand in Forza 2. We didn't notice the other car make any drastic errors in judgment when following close behind us, for example, but it didn't make any obvious moves to get out of our way when we began to trade paint, either. The damage model, which was discussed in the previous preview, certainly did look impressive as we took a lap to simply bash our ride into as many objects as possible. It seems like performance-affecting damage has yet to be fully implemented in the game, as even after running into a number of barriers in the demo, our car was running more or less at optimum condition.

Consider the job of the Forza 2 demo done. We saw the game last week, we played it this week, and we're now salivating for something a bit more meaty to get a better picture for where Forza 2 is heading. We may have to wait a bit longer than we'd like, however, as the game has been delayed until 2007. Nonetheless, we'll be reporting in with all of the Forza 2 updates we can possible muster, so stay tuned for more soon.

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68 comments
Elitegamer87
Elitegamer87

BMW new to Forza?? Did they even play the first one? 7 or 8 racing class BMWs are available in the first forza.

warofgears
warofgears

forza is way better than garndtrismo

CFlannery73
CFlannery73

I was a HUGE fan of Forza 1, and almost wouldn't change anything. The only things I would change it seems you have already done with Forza 2, such as more cars, and imporved damage. The next HUGE step to make this rocket past Tourismo is 1080iHD......720P isn't doing it anymore, I NEED MORE! this would make Forza 2 unbeatable.

jerichodude
jerichodude

True! But the handling in GT is s**t by comparison. Forza one is still by far the best driving sim by far.

CCyberDDemon
CCyberDDemon

Forza need more than 20 circuits dudes... remember that. Grand turismo got much more

Jubei1134
Jubei1134

Hey guys Forza is top of the line racing. There are very few things in Forza that I thought needed attention. I love it, I even have the Ferrari 333sp. I wish they had a Ferrari F50GT, only 3 in the world! Gran Turismo what? SONY FELL OFF.... listen to this... the car manufactuers don't want there cars to damage in Gran Turismo 5 because of nonses reasons! Sony doesn't care, it's less work for them haha! For us true gear heads that dream to red line an Audi R8 down Laguna Seca corkscrew while battling the limits of our ability "Forza 2". If you can't seem to make a turn without flying off the track and don't understand the advantage of a manual tranny, please wait for Gran Turismo 5 haha

twardo101
twardo101

Thiss should be great, im gonna get the wheel with pgr3 - love that game - then forza and maybe the new colin Mcray rally one, if there is one lol. Will this game have a feature like the gotham tv in pgr3, coz that was a great feature that could be made even better if they put some more thought into it, sure it might be a bit of copying pgr but i want it! that is if this game ever comes out...delayed again, it better be worth the wait!

stoned-stoner
stoned-stoner

Gonna Rock!! Hope it has maple valley again,DRIFT HEAVEN

Kaintae1134
Kaintae1134

I can't wait till this game comes out. Seriously.

KnuckleZ_V8
KnuckleZ_V8

i love watching the gamespot guys drive on games, its soooo funny..... they just cant.....

x505
x505

PGR3 and Forza are two completely different games. Forza is a pure racing sim where as the PGR series tends to have a slight bit of arcadiness to them.

anderson600
anderson600

"a Microsoft rep casually mentioned that one of their compatriots had turned a lap in the 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo in 59 seconds" tch...even an AMUSE S2000 can do a 52 on that course...>_> I'm still very very excited about this game though and knowing that my favorite course(tsukuba) is in there gives me another reason to buy this game.^_^ I hope the weight shifting will be very responsive (not laggy unlike "some" games i know) and have everything especially the handling and tire traction be as realistic as possible.

ARockAStorm
ARockAStorm

O ya baby now an even better forza. I hope that the damage system and physics engine are better to, not that the last was bad but i want as close to 99% relizm as posible.

xXKINGPINXx
xXKINGPINXx

sweeeeeeeet i will be the first one 2 pre-order it in my country man i loved forza 1 but seems i will be going 2 play forza 2 sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet baby ...... i love u god!!!

KillerKevin2
KillerKevin2

I loved all the Gran Turismo Games but GTHD is just GT4 with awesome graphics. Never played Forza 1 but I love the PGR games, I'm definetly looking forward to playing Forza 2 cause it looks like an awesome game. I never really even notice the rumble when playing games but I still dont care anything about GTHD because like I said GT4 with better graphics and the way it's lookin nobodies gonna have a PS3 for like a year or longer after launch anyway.

RussiaM3
RussiaM3

Who ever thinks that PGR3 is good needs to wake up. The physics just SUck completly . Unrealistic. I think they just tried forza1 and couldnt get good at it , like thouse ones who run into you right before you take the apex at the turn...! Cant wait for Forza2 , Please RELEASE a DEMO on XboxLive Marketplace !!!

rl_41
rl_41

Forza 2 is gonna be awsome... bummer for GT fans that they're not gonna have rumble, so they can't even feel the road...

carpon
carpon

Can someone explain to me what is so special about PGR 3? I played it for around 15 hours, but I never thought it was anywhere near as good as Forza 1. I just don't get what is so special about it. As for Forza 2, can't wait!

zidan4000
zidan4000

i hope it have the same or more number in cars than GT4 had:)

grasu
grasu

Deanvog, yes YOU DO! Because Forza Motosport was the best simulation game ever made for consoles! And this one seems to be the exact same thing, but better looking and bigger!

deanvog
deanvog

hmmm... But wont this be basically the same as Forza 1? Apart from graphics and a few xtra tracks and cars??

_Sam_
_Sam_

it's looking pretty good

demonik_360
demonik_360

zekere your just asking to be call'd a fanboy.:(

stoned-stoner
stoned-stoner

"one thing is for sure: the exacting, demanding, and compelling driving model that marked the first game is well intact with Forza 2" dam right!! forza has the best car physics for sure cant wait for some A-class races and mad drifting GT watch and learn

zekere
zekere

Forza slaps GT in the face

themyth01
themyth01

Best racing game, looking forward to it.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

forza one ruled and hopefully 2 will also

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

Should be the king of Xbox 360 racing until PGR 4 comes.

anamnawshad
anamnawshad

Damn the screens look so great already!

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

it was beautiful, too bad I don't like driving games, hopefully they'll be some crashes to keep me interested.

yanike18
yanike18

Forza was one of the few games i actually played on an xbox (that and the original Halo) although GT4 looked better IMO Forza had car damage and was a bit more forgiving and not to mention online play. Let's face it, after a while u get tired of beating ur same friends over and over again. It's an early build so it's a bit unfair to compare the graphics with the new screens for GTHD but the framerate issue is a redflag already. I find it strange that the games most 360 owners would say are the best or at least best looking games on the system suffer from framerate issues. Personally the only 360 game i've extensively played is G.R.A.W. and i did notice some it. Not good when basically all (OK maybe 90%) of the PS3 launch titles look remarkable and are running smoothly at 30 fps at least some at 60FPS.

michael31303
michael31303

I find it very interesting ( and true ) when the staff talks about how important the rumble was for having a better feel for the car and track. ARE YOU LISTENING SONY? I have read recently that if Sony has no future plans for rumble then some developers may not include it in the game program. What this means is, even if a third party makes a controller w/rumble it won't work on games that don't have it encoded. I love my GT3-4, and Forza, but Sony's arrogance to leave out rumble ( because they won't pay immersion ) and copy Wii as a stop-gap measure has left me angry and a Sony consumer no more. LONG LIVE FORZA !!

assassinX01
assassinX01

Not that graphics should take major precedence over gameplay or anything, but GTHD (and undoubtedly GT5) and RR7 look signifigantly better. We'll have to wait till all games in question are out to make a reasonable comparison between each's gameplay.

supermex2109
supermex2109

if forza 2 is as just as good as the original was, i will be extremely happy because that is an ridiculously high standard

carl2tan
carl2tan

Forza and a 360? GTHD and a PS3? thats a tough choice I'll have to make in 2007

revelations
revelations

I knew it would get delayed like the last one, but I dont even care. Its going to be the best sim racer ever, I promise it.

adijan
adijan

the game just looks amazing, its a must have for any system.

xXHackettXx
xXHackettXx

From what I saw from the pictures and videos it looks amazing. This is the game i'll be using the wheel with.

neoand12
neoand12

Meh nothing can beat PGR3

gamerdude27
gamerdude27

It's lookin good. Let's just hope they can get that framerate up before it releases. I was hoping for more of a detailed preview, preferably using the new Microsoft wireless racing wheel to really get a good look at it. O well, guess I'll just have to wait a bit longer, as those of us Forza fans have gotten used to....lol. This game should do very well on the 360 and will definitely be a killer-app if it turns out well.

maximo1
maximo1

I wish he'd mentioned the graphics more.

sheikrock
sheikrock

Who the hell wrote this? "Though the Forza 2 build was still suffering from the same frame rate problems that was featured in the last game," "A handful of cars was available for drive" They are badly in need of a copy editor.

rupbert
rupbert

@ redxwarriorxxx It's confirmed to be running at 60fps

Thorpe89
Thorpe89

Hope this does well for the Xbox 360.

redxwarriorxxx
redxwarriorxxx

They better get that frame rate up because that drove me nuts the first time.