Ford Racing 2
|a game by||Razorworks|
|Platforms:||XBox, PC, Playstation 2|
|User Rating:||7.4/10 - 29 votes|
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|See also:||Download Racing Games, Games Like Blur, Ford Racing Series|
Do you remember the original Ford Racing? Of course you don't. Nobody does, except perhaps a few people who worked on it. Lost amid the monthly morass of driving games, its route to the bargain bins was swift and undignified. So what has Empire decided to do? Forget about it and move on? Of course not. They’ve drafted in a different developer (Razorworks of Total Immersion Racing fame) to knock out a sequel. And from our extensive playtest there wouldn't appear to be a great deal of work left to do. as Ford Racing 2 looks as good as done.
So what are you going to get this time round? From what we've seen, a great deal more bang for your buck, particularly as the game is set to retail for less than a tenner. That’s nothing. In fact you could probably have earned it by now if you weren’t sitting on your arse reading magazines all day. (Quality mags aside.)
Thanks to the exclusive deal with Ford, the game will feature 32 of their vehicles from 1949 onwards, including Mustangs, Thunderbirds, F-series pickup trucks, exotic concept cars and 200mph stock cars. There's even a category called Movie Stars, offering a range of cars made famous by films and TV shows. So if you’ve ever wanted to have a spin in the Mustang that Steve McQueen drove for the famous 1968 car chase in Bullitt, this is probably as close as you're going to get. The cars on offer stretch to the present day and beyond, with the inclusion of so-called 'future classics' such as the beefed-up Ford GT. There will also be a great deal of track variety on offer, taking in race circuits, city-based tracks, off-road jungle action and even oval speedways for some pseudo-Nascar action.
As for game modes, Ford Racing 2 keeps on giving, offering a generous octet of driving challenges. Standard Race is self-explanatory; Elimination involves the last two cars dropping out each lap; Duel sees you take on a different challenger each lap; Drafting requires you to drive in your opponent's slipstream; Driving Skills has you steering through a series of gates; Seconds Out (our current favourite) sees you collecting time bonuses to keep your lap time down; Racing Line requires you to stick to it like shit to a blanket; and, finally, Time Attack is simply you against the track.
Something of a bumper package then, and one that is already looking like a vast improvement on the original, which had to go out and actually buy before we could review it. This time around, preview code has been readily available, and Empire's confidence appears to be well-placed, despite the reduced price tag. Bargain hunters will be able judge for themselves soon.
Download Ford Racing 2
That Henry Ford was onto something when he knocked out the original Model T you know. Unfortunately, it isn't featured here, although the last half-century or so is ably represented. Ford Racing 2 boasts no less then 35 Ford automobiles, including pick-ups, cars made famous on the big screen, custom cars, futuristic prototypes and stock cars. There's a distinctly American bent to the proceedings, though - despite the UK developer - so if you're hoping to tear around in an absurdly proportioned Capri, you'll be disappointed.
Ford fans and skinflints are catered for, however, with the game retailing for less than a tenner. As embittered cynics, this immediately raised our suspicions, but there doesn't seem to be a great deal wrong with it. The handling is a little slack and there's no damage model, but otherwise it's a run-of-the-mill racer that ticks every cliche in the book, low-flying helicopters and distended female voice included.
Where it succeeds is in the variety of challenges contained within, with the game gradually unlocking after completing various tasks, some of which can be mildly addictive in the short term. What's more, graphically it's as crisp as a winter morning, with all manner of animated trackside detail. A surprisingly slick package, this really is a case of top brands at a rock-bottom price.