Forza Motorsport 2

Scene: A corner shop. “Tiger Feet” by Mud is playing.

HARRY ENFIELD enters. His appearance suggests someone who hasn’t been informed that the 1970s – specifically, the Glam Rock era – hasn’t ended yet. He approaches the counter, behind which stands PAUL WHITEHOUSE.

HARRY: Do you have any copies of Barbican Gran Turismo 4? It’s just like normal Gran Turismo, only with all the boring shit about getting licenses and passing pointless tests and having to tweak your car to an astonishingly minute level taken out?

PAUL: Why yes, sir, we do. It’s called Forza Motorsport 2, and it’s for the XBox 360.

…and that about sums it up, really. It’s like Gran Turismo, except you don’t have to pass tests before it’ll let you out on the racetrack. Also, you don’t have to endlessly tweak baffling numbers to improve the setup of your car in order to stand a chance in the races. Sure, all that stuff is there if you want it, but if you don’t care about that sort of stuff and just want to get on with the actual racing part of things, you can, and with minimal impact; in fact, the most amazing part of the thing is the way it caters for both the hardcore uber-tweaker style racer, who will turn all the assists off straight away and spend days in the setup menu – and yet is still accessible to heathen like me who don’t really know the difference between a ride height of 5cm and 5.1cm.

Graphically – well, it does the job. The cars are recognisable, as are the tracks. It’s not going to win any awards for graphical innovation or anything, but it’s pretty enough. But it does run at a steady 60fps, nearly all the time – and that’s more important – you never feel like you’ve been punished by the game not quite running fast enough, and I’d rather have that than silly HDR bloom effects or whatever.

So yeah, I like it. There is the nagging feeling that it’s lacking in any kind of personality – there’s no human face to the game in any way, no “story” as such, no ultimate goal or anything; but I don’t know if it really needs any of that anyway. It’s pretty damned good as it stands, I reckon. Recommended.

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