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Race Pro to Forza 2 comparison XBOX 360

UPDATE: I’ve posted Forza 3 interior pictures and overview here: http://lucienk.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A4AE3FB12A26635!1578.entry

UPDATE 2: Here are some Forza 3 dashboard shots I took (click for larger picture). Note picture quality isn’t great as these are shot from projector screen. In general the dashboard isn’t quite as detailed/hi-res as Dirt 2 and NFS Shift but you do get this with over 400 cars (and many production cars). Also the view is really useful for driving as it doesn’t obscure too much of the road. Also amazingly they did model the entire car (even the backseats):

 

This is the real GT4 dashboard and you can see it’s pretty accurate (don’t ask me why it only shows max 180km/h since the GT4 definitely can go faster and other Celica models went up to 240km/h):

Here’s a quick comparison of Race Pro to Forza 2. There’s no demo available for Race Pro so I thought it might be useful to give you a quick review and comparison of this game.

Graphics

Here are some screenshot comparisons of Laguna Seca given this track is in both games:


 
Left is Race Pro. Right is Forza 2. The views are not quite the same but you get some idea how it compares. Forza 2 looks much better: more detailed higher res textures, brighter graphics, more details and objects in the landscape and little bit closer to the actual track. Also the tracks all look pretty similar in Race Pro for some reason and not very colorful. Also note you will see some tearing and framerate slowdowns in curves for some reason.

One nice thing in Race Pro is the additional in car view that doesn’t exist in Forza 2. It looks great but obviously obscures and darkens the view little bit. UPDATE: Forza 3 will have in car view. Left: Race Pro, right: Forza 3 (October)


The prettiest racing game in terms of graphics for XBOX 360 including great in car view remains DIRT. You want to check that out especially if you want a more arcade racing game (since it’s an older game it’s pretty cheap nowadays new or used). I haven’t played GRID yet and those graphics might be close to DIRT (at least same engine but different type of racing game). Here are some DIRT screen shots showing couple of different views and really nice crash model (you can lose almost anything incl door):


DIRT Spain track with Toyota Celica

Realism

One thing that Race Pro claims is that it’s one of the most realistic racing games for the XBOX 360. So that caught my attention certainly. Most reviews said Race Pro was very realistic however here is my (let’s say biased) different assessment:

  • Physics: poor. In theory if you would go left, right fast you should get the car to swing. I didn’t quite get this realistically like Forza 2. Not sure if drifting is possible like in Forza 2 but even with RWD I found it hard to oversteer controlled. I did use full professional mode to disable traction and skid control and did get some torque steer accelerating out but it was still much harder to get the car out of control (perhaps those are very well setup cars)
  • Damage: extremely poor. You can crash into another car and not much happens. Most I got is that someone bumped into me and the car went into a spin. But otherwise you hear a faint sound and hardly any physics effect due to the imbalance that should have been caused
  • Car control: steering wheel control is good and track layouts are pretty good as well where you can find often a good driving line. However there’s one problem: race wheel force feedback. It’s almost non-existent so it’s hard to judge if the car is about to lose control. Forza 2 gives you different vibrations using force feedback and you hear the tires clearly if they start to lose grip
  • Car setup: I didn’t see really many options like Forza 2 where you can buy many upgrades. There seems to be a menu where you can adjust car setup but I couldn’t find it right away. One thing I expected is that a RWD car would easily go into oversteer. However almost all cars had similar understeer strange enough when accelerating out of the curve. This is different in Forza 2 where you notice the difference more pronounced between FWD,RWD and AWD
  • Opponents: in Forza 2 you will notice that if you change your lane just once then normally the computer opponents won’t bump into you  (based on overtaking rules in the real world). However I had a feeling they bumped into me no matter what. So best to avoid them. That said at least in career mode they were significantly slower and easy to beat (except for the start)

Features

  • Cars: there is a decent amount of cars but Forza 2 easily has 10x as much. Plus Forza 2 has additional car packs that you can buy (e.g. R8, S5, TT, Civic R-type are available in the car packs). The variation of cars though are limited in Race pro: no Nissans, Toyotas, Ferrari, …
  • Cars customization: you can only choose a decal. In Forza 2 you can choose custom paint and add any complex layered pattern
  • Offline Multi-player: missing… (only ‘hot seat’ where you alternate). Forza 2 allows split screen 2 player

 
Forza 2: many cars are available with great detail and often with factory color selection

  • Career mode: very basic and nothing like Forza 2 where there’s money and experience levels that you built up. Basically career mode in Race pro is a basic unlock of the next level of cars
  • General race options: there are a decent amount of options and one extra option compared to Forza 2 is ‘Rain’. With the in car view you do see the windshield wiper moving and the rain drops accumulated on the screen. I haven’t noticed though more skidding and in regular view it looked almost the same. Here are couple more Race Pro screen shots showing options:



   

The main reason I thought Race Pro might be a good addition to a racing game library is it’s added claimed realism. However I would say that Forza 2 feels more realistic to me and it has more features and the UI is far more engaging. It’s still might be worth a rental if you want to try another racing simulation game but Forza 2 remains one of the best choices for a great car simulation.

PS Forza 3 will be coming in October and would feature 400 cars, 100 tracks and more game modes. Expect more info by this 2009 holiday season.

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