A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game offers an intense and realistic thrill for those who want to put the pedal to the medal -- virtually. Parents of new teen drivers might want to consider a study that suggests that playing some racing games can increase willingness to take risks while driving in real life. This game permits kids to log online for head-to-head races via the Microsoft Xbox Live service. This online component allows for chat so that will be exposed to whatever other online racers care to say.
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What's it about?
If you think you've got what it takes to drive competitively, you can put your clutch where your mouth is with Microsoft Game Studios' FORZA MOTORSPORT 2, a high-definition sequel to the hit 2005 racing simulator. Microsoft Xbox 360 gamers can collect and customize more than 300 of the world's hottest cars -- from Ferraris to Porsches to Lamborghinis -- and take on tough opponents on dozens of real-world tracks.
At first, you have access only to a few training courses and a small stable of vehicles, but place in the top three and you'll unlock more exciting tracks and tournaments, as well as new race cars, which are divided into six production classes. Microsoft tapped automotive engineers and professional drivers to re-create a realistic racing experience. But you can have Forza 2 play more like an arcade game than a hard-core simulation by letting the computer aid in gear-shifting, braking, and other automated options.
Is it any good?
One of the most enjoyable parts of Forza Motorsport 2 is customizing your vehicles. You can unlock licensed rims and other aftermarket body parts, dabble with a custom paint and decal job, and tune your cars in one of four performance upgrades. After you've created the ultimate showpiece, you can go online for head-to-head races via the Microsoft Xbox Live service ($49.99 a year).
You can watch others compete with the TV spectator mode. A virtual Auction mode lets you bid on rare or custom-made cars (in exchange for game credits) or you can create an auction of your own. Whether you use the Xbox 360 wireless controller or the preferred Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel ($129), Forza Motorsport 2 feels as good as it looks -- and it's quite the looker with near-photorealistic cars, tracks, and scenery. Add a truckload of cars to collect, virtually limitless customization, and deep online options and you've got one of the finest Xbox 360 games to date.
Online interaction: The online game mode allows for open chat so that kids can be exposed to whatever other online racers can to say, including swearing and other inappropriate comments.
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