The Mad Gamer

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Forza 2 launched in style

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Microsoft last night launched Microsoft Game Studios' Forza Motorsport 2 in style - at Auckland's Great North Rd Porsche showroom.
Surrounded by all the flash cars, I was hoping the Xbox promotional crew would let us hop in the real thing and go for a spin.
But considering that the rules of the road and those on Forza are a little different - they were wise not chucking us the car keys. Wrapping a Porsche around a lamppost down the road might have taken a bit of explaining!
So what's new in this next-gen high-def racing sim sequel?
The game moves closer to the rival Gran Turismo and real life and physics. Which cars you can drive is always the first big question - and there's no shortage of those.
There are 300 cars to choose from and customise including those luxury high-performance Ferraris (I'll have the 360 Modena thanks), Porsches and Lamborghinis and authentic-looking well-known tracks.
But there are some very cool ones that are so special, you'd struggle to find them even in the Porsche showroom - ultra rare concept cars like the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve and sport production cars such as the Audi S4.
As usual with Forza and similar games, you start off rather light-handed and have to work through training and races to be able to unlock more tracks and race cars and be able to do more customisation.
Physics and handling? Having never driven anything beyond Dad's Lada :) these look the real oil and Microsoft said they consulted the professionals - both race car drivers and engineers - to check the game studio got it right.
I've never understood people buying a high powered car and wanting it to be automatic.

The fun is in having complete control. But if you want, you can play this game automating things like the gear-shifting and braking - but it sounds like missing out on being in the driving seat if you ask me.
Other cool stuff: You can take photos during your race and even upload a replay video.
That brings us to the usual bonus for Xbox 360 games - the ability to go online and play on Xbox Live. There are three online options: quick match, custom match (pick a specific track or car class) and create a match (you host the race).
At the showroom we playing it using three large LCDs. I so wish I had those at home. If you really want to splash out, you can also pick up the Xbox 360 wireless racing wheel.
Mad Gamer's rating: 8.5 out of 10

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