By Brad Cook
Sometimes you need more of a challenge than simply crossing the finish line first. Thats where Ford Racing 2 zooms into view. With seven game types beyond the traditional race to the checkered flag, the title offers enough skills-based competition to keep you engaged for a long time.
The new game features 35 vehicles that run the gamut from muscle cars to high-performance prototypes and 16 tracks that cover such racing environments as city streets, exotic jungles and traditional raceways. You start the game as a rookie tackling 34 different challenges, each of which unlocks more cars and tracks; once youve unlocked all of them, you can mix and match cars, tracks and game types to create a unique experience every time you play. If youre good enough, youll even uncover a few hidden goodies.
Drive the Classics
The Ford Challenge section contains those 34 tests of your skills, broken into different categories that reflect the types of cars they offer. For example, youll find such Ford classics as the 68 Mustang and the 55 Thunderbird in the Living Legends category, while Movie Stars offers the Ford 49 Coupe, the 76 Gran Torino and other cars that look like they could have recently rolled off a film set. Each challenge uses a specific game type and doesnt allow you to modify any variables, save the difficulty setting (easy, medium or hard).
As you unlock more cars and tracks, they become available in the Ford Collection section, where your options break down by game type: Standard, Elimination, Duel, Drafting, Driving Skills, Seconds Out, Racing Line and Time Attack. There you can select a game type, a car and a track and then modify the pertinent variables, such as the number of laps and opponents.
Standard races are traditional contests that require you to cross the finish line first. In an Elimination race, the cars in the last two spots drop out after each lap, culminating in a final lap between you and just one opponent. A Duel pits you against a different challenger each lap, requiring you to beat each one. When you select Drafting, however, you must catch up to but not pass a series of four opponents and drive in their slipstreams for a certain period of time.
In Driving Skills, its just you and the road as you try to complete one lap of a track before time runs out; each clean pass through a gate of cones earns you a few more precious seconds. In Seconds Out, you also earn extra time with each hourglass you collect, but you need them to reduce your overall time and beat the target. Racing Line requires you to stay on a line as you zip around the track, incurring a penalty every time you stray off it. Finally, Time Attack offers you three laps around the track as you try to beat the target time; a ghost car representing your best time appears if you lag behind its pace during subsequent laps.
Tracking Your Legacy
After every race, you can watch a replay and see where you experienced problems or where you smoked the competition. The Driver Details section keeps track of the game types youve mastered as well as the cars and tracks youve unlocked and the number of trophies youve won, including cups collected for beating each game type on every course. It also displays your rating, which starts at Rookie and moves up to Ford Legend.
When youve had enough practice, invite a friend over for some split-screen multi-player racing. You can engage in Standard or Elimination races and use any of the tracks and cars youve unlocked, although you must win one Elimination challenge before you can choose that game type. Race between one and nine laps against up to four computer-controlled opponents whose cars can either match yours or be drawn from other vehicle types.
Now if youll excuse us, we need to get behind the wheel of our Indigo Concept prototype racer and see if we can do three times the speed limit on the Bay Bridge.