Forza Motorsport 2 - "novice" hands-on

Forza Motorsport 2 wasn't designed for everyone. There are no fiery crashes... there are suggested braking lines and stability management systems. There are no spectacular stunt ramps... there are infield test tracks and circular speedways. There are no mounted weapons... there's an elaborate replay and photography mode.

The general consensus is that Forza 2 is for hardcore car nuts and no one else. Only those who demand absolute realism and understand the tiniest technical nuances can enjoy this racing sim. But after spending a few hours with it, we just don't believe that's the case. People in our office were drawn to this game... and it had nothing to do with "telemetry," "down force," "limited slip differential" or any other fancy, no-doubt-accurately-recreated terminology.

Above: The images in this article are captured during actual gameplay. To see the rest,head here.

Simply put, Forza 2 feels real. You don't have to be a gearhead to notice it and you definitely don't have to be one to appreciate it. As soon as we pressed down on the accelerator, we could feel the power of the vehicle in our hands. The controller doesn't merely vibrate; it grabs you and throws you smack into the driver's seat.

On a straightaway, it purred contently, gently growing more and more insistent as the engine built up speed. When we abandoned the asphalt and hit natural terrain, it rumbled and jerked angrily at us as the shocks took their punishment. With dirt, we could feel the rhythmic bumps of the ridged earth... with grass, we could feel the tires sliding and slipping out of our control.