Two years ago Forza managed to do the impossible - it outshined the all-mighty Gran Turismo. For years Polyphony was that untouchable company that specialized in realistic racing sims; with its amazing graphics, extensive selection of cars and robust gameplay modes, Gran Turismo was the racing game that could attract both hardcore and casual racing fans. But how the mighty have fallen, due to a number of delays and some hotly anticipated game modes being cut (such as the long-awaited online mode), Gran Turismo 4 failed to live up to most people's expectation and left the door open for another realistic racing sim to swoop in and steal the crown. That game was Forza Motorsport, a brand new franchise for the original Xbox that managed to do everything Gran Turismo promised ... and a whole lot more.
Here we are two years later and Microsoft has done the impossible yet again, they have managed to improve on a near-flawless racing game. Make no mistake about it, there may have only been two years between the first and second Forza Motorsport entries, but the team behind this game clearly knows what they are doing. With more cars, better graphics and an improved online component, Forza Motorsport 2 is not only the racing game of the year, but it may just be the best game to come out this year on the Xbox 360.
Forza Motorsport 2 picks up right where the last game left off, you are a racecar driver looking to compete in dozens of events, earn valuable credits and own as many cars as you can possibly fit in your garage. Like most racing games on the market Forza 2 isn't about a complicated storyline, instead it gives you a whole lot of events to take part in and leaves it up to you to determine what you want to do.
Forza 2 is split up into two different single-player game modes. The first mode is titled Arcade and is comprised of time trial events and single-track races against cars of similar classes. In the arcade mode you won't earn credits or be able to customize your car, instead you win brand new vehicles for every gold medal. The arcade mode is the easiest mode for new comers to start with, at its core it's basically just a traditional racing game where you try and hit specific times or beat the other opponents.
The real meat and potatoes of Forza 2 come in the way of the second mode, known as Career. While you could race through the arcade mode in only a few hours, the career mode is the type of thing you can get wrapped up in for weeks on end. It's a robust campaign full of different events, cutthroat competition, and more mechanical customization than you could shake an exhaust pipe at. In short, the career portion is the single best reason to buy this full-priced Xbox 360 racing game.
As you start your career you have a limited amount of funds and only a few races open to you. It's in the Proving Grounds where you start, a race type with ten different events waiting for you. As you complete these races you will win brand new cars for your garage and open up a number of new events for you to race. Eventually you will be able to move on to the Amateur Cup Races, the Manufacturer Club Races, the Semi-Pro, Rivalry Face-Offs and so on so forth. In all there are ten different race types, each with ten to twelve different events just waiting for you.
While a cynic could argue that these different race types all boil down to the same thing (racing), there's actually quite a bit of variety in how you go about racing and what kinds of cars you need to use. For example, in the Manufacturer Driver's Club events you can only use a car from a specific car maker (Volkswagen, Nissan, Porsche, etc.), while Professional Series requires you to race other vehicles in the same class (D class, C class, B class and so on so forth). Some events will even pit legendary model lines against their biggest rivals, so you'll be racing the Toyota Celica against the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Cheverolet Camero against the Ford Mustang, and even the Ferrari V12 against the Lamborghini V12. If you're not the kind of guy who loves racing cars then these types of events may not do much for you, but if you're a gearhead at heart then these are some of the most exciting race types around.
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