In name and in practice, Ford Racing 2 is designed to update and improve the stock car action while retaining the features and feel that fans appreciated in the original Ford Racing. This sequel by Razorworks, developer of Total Immersion Racing, offers over 30 Ford vehicles from a wide range of automotive styles and eras, such the Gran Torino, the Focus Rally, classic and modern Thunderbirds and Mustangs, and even an F-150 based on the 2004 model. Races take place in a variety of venues that include oval tracks, rally routes, and street courses.
Ford Racing 2 is once again one of those games that focus themselves on one brand of cars, this time being Ford. These games aren't of the utmost quality most of the time and are more or less a way to promote the real cars of such a brand. An original way to sell your product, you say ? Could be, but we gamers aren't interested in such, for us all what counts is the games and not sales tactics. We'll see whether these virtual cars are worthy to the name Ford.
A computer-like female voice guides me through the menu and annoying sounds reach my ears when I dare click on something. Quickly starting to race is the solution for this problem ! After having created a profile you get in the main menu where you can choose between "Quick Race", "Single Player", "Multi Player" and "Options". It's as easy as it looks. Quick Race immediately starts up a race and the computer will choose a track and car for you. "Options" speaks for itself and now I'll guide you through "Single Player".
Here you choose out of three things; "Ford Challenge", "Ford Collection" and "Driver Details". The first two are what the game runs on as "Driver Details" only shows the prices you've won aswell as the round times you've gotten.
"Ford Challenge" is the most important part. Here you need to (as the title suggests) succeed in different challenges. The different cars (35 in total) are divided into different categories; "Living Legend", "Movie Stars", "Off Road", "Stock Car", "Custom", "SVT" and "Concept". You choose a car you've freed up and play the accompanying challenge. Next to the normal standard race, time attack and elimination there are also other challenges like "Driving Skills", "Drafting", "Seconds Out", "Racing Line" and "Duel". Sounds pretty good ? Well, I'll let you in on what all these names actually mean:
Standard Race: an ordinary race with 6 guys on a track and whoever goes over the finish line first wins
Time Attack: make sure to cross the finish within a certain time
Elimination: each lap has the last two cars falling off. Last man standing (or driving) wins
Driving Skills: cross the finish line within a certain time, drive through some cones to win extra time
Drafting: run up to your opponents and "catch" them by driving right behind them. A meter will go down and once completely deployed you can go to the next enemy
Seconds Out: Same as Driving Skills but instead of going through cones you need to take hourglasses!
Racing Line: cross the finish within a certain time and make sure you stay on the line. Not following it will give you penalties.
Duel: defeat opponent 1 in lap 1, if you win that, lap 2 will be ready with opponent 2 for you to beat, etc. etc.
Nothing really special as you can see.
Let's start to race. When I start I immediately grab the box with fear and watch on the bottom. It's effectively a new game and not one of 2001 or something... The surroundings are bare and when something is present it's something square. Sometimes they try to cheer things up a bit by having a deltaflyer or helicopter flying over your head but they really shouldn't have.
In the jungle levels the woods are way too present with ugly bitmap-trees. In such a jungle there are also caves present and the textures of those are so annoyingly ugly and equal that you can't see from far which way you have to drive. I had driven the track already 6 times and each time I entered a certain cave I was convinced I had to turn left while in effect I had to go right...
There's even a track where lava is present and when you drive over it spectacular bitmap sparkles will fly off your tires. Pretty strong tires when they can face lava... What is completely laughable is the night level. Things are just completely black and in the far distance you can see a giant lid up wheel and fireworks in the most flashy colors you can imagine. The stupid stars make the picture complete.
The cars aren't great either. They aren't ugly, they're the most beautiful part of the game, but they aren't beautiful either. You can spot the resemblance between the real cars and their little virtual brothers but the back of the vehicles are sometimes so flat it looks like they had a bulldozer up their ass and especially with the pick-ups which look like having a gigantic rear end.
The rear mirror hasn't been dusted all too well. What you see in it looks like being made from Lego blocks, that blurry and such huge pixels.
What I find to be done decently is the reflection of the light and the mirroring of houses etc. When driving through a tunnel it's pretty nice to see the lights flying by in the reflection of your roof.
Unfortunately cars cannot be damaged in this game, otherwise I would immediately make them crash. Maybe Ford wants to prove their quality with this game ?
When cars start off at the same time, you'll notice exactly the same clouds coming out of their exhaust and those will also disappear at the same time for all vehicles. The sounds are most of the time decent although some Fords make a noise which is worse than a cow being slaughtered.
The control over your vehicle sometimes returns to zero. Once you get in a spin, you'll keep spinning and will have a hard time getting back on the track. However, when taking a look at your driver and you'll immediately understand this: he can drive a car without ever moving even one finger !
For the rest you can play the "Ford Collection" in single player mode and this is nothing more than making a custom challenge with the cars/tracks/modes you've won in the Ford Challenge. This should bring some extra replay value to the game but you'll get tired of this pretty fast. This makes the game very short as you'll have finished it in about two short nights of gaming.
If you want to play multiplayer on PC you can forget that. There's only split-screen, no online racing, and split-screen on PC is as much fun as hitting a hammer on your thumb.
Ford Racing 2 isn't a title for which you have to put your tent in front of the store to make sure to be the first to get it. At start it's an enjoyable game but it bores easily. For the true Ford-lovers this will probably be fun due to the amount of available Ford cards going from oldies to concept cars.
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