PLAYING FORD RACING 2 IN 2021
We all remeber our first time. For some, it was GTA3, for other, Need For Speed. When I began playing, my first game was this...
Many years ago, when I was a little kid, my father bought a box of breakfast cereals. I don’t remember what brand it was, how it tasted or where he bought it, but that is not important.
What is important is that with the cereals came a videogame on DVD. And that was it – at that moment, Ford Racing 2 entered my life!
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of replaying this game and revive some sweet childhood memories. Here are my impressions!
Ford GT90 in Ford Racing 2
Ford Racing 2 came out in 2003 as the second installment in the Ford Racing series. As you could have already guessed, the main purpose of these videogames was to promote Ford’s cars and the game does this very nicely. Ford Racing 2 lets you choose from a range of cars from different eras. From the post-war Ford ’49 to contemporary (in 2003) Crown Victoria, F-150 and even concept cars – they are all there.
'75 Gran Torino Sport in Ford Racing 2
The physics engine is all-right, although it works very differently than engines of modern-day racing games which I’m used to. The cars are difficult to control in some situations, but the game allows you to customize handling characteristics by choosing between ‘standard’ and ‘advanced’ handling, switching traction control and anti-locking brakes on and off, and even choosing between manual and automatic gearbox, which is great.
The game allows for handling customization.
The gameplay lets you choose from a total of eight modes, which range from conventional racing and time trials to more unconventional yet engaging events like drafting, which requires you to slipstream behind opponents’ vehicles. All game modes are well thought-out and fun, even after all those years. The devs really took time to make the gameplay as diverse and dynamic as possible.
A Ford GT Concept during a ‘racing line’ event. Yes, it was just a concept back in 2003. Feel old already?
However, they didn’t spend nearly as much time on the graphics. Even by 2003 standards, they are mediocre at best. The graphics of this game are a far cry from NFS Underground, which came out the same year. It seems to me that while they had time and budget, they did things quite well, however, as release date approached, they had to simplify some things. While the cars are well designed, the environments are full of ultra-low-quality textures. And there is no demage model, so feel free to bump into things..
It even features split-screen multiplayer - when was the last time you saw that?
The varying quality of textures is evident here: the Focus is full of detail, while the heli looks like it was left unfinished.
More limiting than the graphics is the small number of tracks available. There are only 6 maps and 16 circuits. That’s not much, but to make it worse, not all cars can race on all tracks.
FR2 takes you all the way to stock races.
One last thing that needs to be addressed is the game’s soundtrack. There are several generic early 2000s tracks which you can listen to while racing, but if you switch them off, you won’t notice a difference. The best track is the main song “Cyber Christ” by a band called Pivit. It is also featured in the flashy intro and listening to it makes the gameplay marginally better. It is a typical 2000s rock piece comparable to Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer” – the singer’s voice is solid, but not special, the lyrics make sense, but aren’t particularly original, yet the hook is catchy enough to stick in your head.
2001 Ford EX concept in Ford Racing 2
Despite all the criticism, I unconditionally love the game. Ford Racing 2 was not only my first videogame, but it was also my introduction into the world of cars. Fourteen year later, the intro still gives me goosebumps. When I see those low-quality textures, I remember how realistic they seemed to me when I was a child. When I hear that generic song, I remember the days when I wasn’t stressed about work or school and all I could do was play. And I never get bored on those few tracks, because every single one of them holds more childhood memories than I can count.