Game Review - by Jeremiah Pratt
Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 is a GP experience that puts the focus on fun with plenty of bells and whistles for the more experienced PC F1 fans, while dropping some of the pretentious realism. The gang at Ubisoft has produced an arcade style game in Monaco GP 2, although you get the impression that the game is stuck between being an arcade sprinter and PC simulator. You don't get the at times fiddly but realistic F1 experience that Johnny Herbert Grand Prix delivers, but this game does have more to it than racing games like Need For Speed III.
Get behind the wheel of an F1 again and start your career as a professional F1 racer. You'll start driving from the beginnings and work your way up to a higher status and better teams as you advance in circuit after circuit of fast-paced driving.
8 Game Modes including the new career and scenario modes. Up to 8 players with the multiplayer function. Complete and easy to use car and track editor. Complete range of difficulty levels from beginner to hardcore expert. Can be played with the keyboard, steering wheel, or gamepad. Integrated force feedback effect.
Now here is where the game truly excels. If there is one thing this game is, it is a simulation of F1 racing. Therefore, expect the game play to be very accurate. The amount of detail Ubi Soft put into the game's realism is phenomenal. They have their physics nailed down right. I'm sure the experience of driving an F1 couldn't be matched any better at this point.
Due to the realism, you can expect this game to be a tough one. I found it hard to take even the simplest turns at high speeds. Ubi Soft was very wise to include as many options as they did in the adjustment of realism. The game's realism can be turned even higher than the default to make it so difficult that only the most hard-core and devoted of simulation fans would want to try it. It can also be changed into easy mode for players more accustomed to an arcade-style racing experience.
Things like damage to your F1 will drastically affect performance. You will definitely want to plan out how you take each circuit in advance to get a good feel for getting through it in one piece. MGPRS2 can be adjusted to appeal to all types of gamers; but it definitely is more focused toward fans of simulation games, particularly F1 simulation.
MGPRS2 can accommodate up to 8 players simultaneously over a local area network for a lot of intense competition. If that is not feasible, there is still an option to play the game with 2 players via split screen on the same machine. The only problem with split screen is that only one person can use the keyboard. You can also play others on the Internet using the Ubi Soft Games Service. Since the game is quite difficult when using high realism, it's usually hard to have fun unless everyone is really good. That's why the Internet option can really help. You can easily meet others who are devoted to the title. This is not to say the game isn't fun at all, but it is really hard to setup games of fair difficulty when you have such a diverse number of players with such diverse skills. The multiplayer option is at its best when you are linked up with other players of similar skill level.
The graphics have been improved over the original games. New effects like smoke, fog, and rain are here. However, this is one of the areas this game could still use some work in. The 3D graphics of the game overall are up to par. There are just some objects you see while driving which can get annoying because they are actually 2D sprites inserted into the environment. Background objects like people standing at the sides of the track and buildings can look rather cheesy and obviously flat. Sometimes the obvious 2D feel of these objects can get rather irritating to look at. Fortunately, Ubi Soft sticks to keeping these 2D sprites for objects that aren't seen very often. The textures of some of the different terrains also can be sparse or look flat. Other than these quibbles, the game's overall graphics will give a good enough feel to immerse you in the game. They're not spectacular or state-of-the-art, but they do the job.
Which isn't exactly one of this game's high points; there is no soundtrack to go along with the game as you race. I felt including a music soundtrack could really help, but perhaps it's absent so you can stay concentrated. After all, this is a game that focuses on game play. The majority of this game's sounds are filled with decently accurate reproductions of the sounds you would expect to hear while driving. I just tended to find them very repetitive after a while. The engine noise can get especially bad. Luckily, there are options to fine tune the different types of sounds and the engine sounds can be turned off. For the most part though, there isn't too much of a variety in sounds.
MGPRS2, a solidly built game, It focuses on game play, so it can be forgiven for not doing a better job on graphics and sound. The improvements in this game just make it seem more like a better version of its predecessor F1 Racing Simulation rather than a sequel. The last thing I want to emphasize is that this is game is a part of the simulation genre rather than racing genre. Fans of the arcade-racing genre will probably find it hard to get used to this one. If you are into F1 simulation racing, this is definitely a game for you. If you're more of a traditional racing fan, you may want to stick with Need for Speed.