There are few free games that compare with the graphics in Driving Speed 2. As freeware goes, it is exceptional but it also has a number of other great qualities not to be overlooked. There are tons of stats, multiplayer options, and realistic cars and physics. If you’re into driving games, Driving Speed 2 is definitely worth your time.
In the realm of freeware, driving games are uncommon. Not only that, but the few that I have personally played have been lacking in both graphic quality and the physics engine of the game world.
Most of them allow all kinds of ridiculous impossibilities with the cars flying all over the place and various candy colored power-ups flashing along the track to give one player an advantage for a few moments. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of arcade style gaming, but it’s not what a true driving game is really about. Real driving games, say fans, are more like simulations than the arcade style racing seen in most free driving games. So, I was pleased when I first tried Driving Speed 2, to discover that it excels in both graphic quality and realistic physics.
The graphics in Driving Speed 2 are not only exceptionally high quality but also require relatively little in the way of resources. Given the requirements of the game, one wouldn’t expect such things like active video reflections and anti-aliasing as options for the graphic display. The graphics engine also has a number of small touches that make the difference between an OK game and a truly good one. For example, the special effects include flying sparks and scorch marks, realistic mud spatters, and three dimensional spectator crowds. Most of these are optional and can be shut off if your GPU or CPU isn’t handling them too well, but keeping them on doesn’t make a huge difference in resource consumption anyway.
The physics engine in the game is also very satisfying to fans of driving games. Crashes have close to real momentum effects, including scaled damage. The physics engine also manifests in things like realistic drift and drag while making tight turns or hard braking. There are also some slick effects like blurring of the crowd and scenery when speed reaches higher levels.
The handling of each car is different, and feels different in response and how it moves overall. These are just some of the great details that make DS2 a great free game. There are also numerous modes of play, including quick race, championship, and multiplayer LAN racing. The quick race will set you up in a stock car of your choice on a race track against computer controlled opponents. The championship mode will allow you to earn cash for each race and use it to upgrade your ride from race to race. Multiplayer mode allows you to do single races or championships across a LAN as long as you’re familiar with connecting two or more computers manually using IP addresses. There are a great many resources on the net for such information, like this eHow article for example.
The only real downsides I found to the game were a toolbar that wants to install when you setup the game, and the fact that even though the graphics are scalable they do still require a fairly decent GPU/video card to run smoothly. These are minor annoyances, however, and while the toolbar is optional and can be unchecked during installation, the frame rate issues for lower end systems may keep it from becoming a bigger hit. Nevertheless, Driving Speed 2 is definitely worth playing for an afternoon or two, and will especially delight those who are searching for a decent quality racing game for PC that costs nothing.
System Requirements (From DS2 Website)
- Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7
- 1.5GHz CPU or higher
- 512MB RAM
- 250MB Hard Drive Space
- DirectX 9 supported Graphics Card with 256MB RAM
- DirectX 9 Drivers
Get Driving Speed 2 here (~110 megs).