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Burnout 2: Point of Impact ( 2003)            

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Acclaim Entertainment
Racing
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(Anonymous) (Unknown)   28th Mar 2012 03:14

"Speed, crashes and an increased heartrate"

Introduction

Let me begin by admitting that I have never even seen Burnout 1, let alone played it, so any comparisons to the previous installment would be rather pointless. That is a good thing. It means my perspective is fresh. And from my perspective, things are looking good, because Burnout 2 is fun!

I've never been a big fan of car-games that require you to tinker with your suspension or tweak your gearbox or adjust your windshield wipers. No, I've always been interested in speed and crashes. And that's exactly what Burnout 2 is about.

Controls

You'll either love or hate Burnout 2's controls; don't expect Gran Tourismo-style handling, this is an arcade game.
You have your right trigger for acceleration, the left for braking and drift cornering, the left thumbstick for steering and the A button for your boost. You can also choose between automatic transmission or manual transmission. Collision detection is forgiving and realism is out to lunch. And Burnout 2 is better off without it.
Each car handles a bit differently, so after a while you will have found your favorite. No actual licenses were used (no car manufacturer would dare to encourage dangerous driving) so the cars are recognizable at best.

Gameplay

The main game, the championship mode, is a standard affair. Win the first cup to open the next race. By winning gold on all courses of a cup, you unlock something special. This can range from a head-to-head race (win it to unlock the car you defeated) to entire new play modes. More on those later.

Burnout 2 isn't just about driving the fastest lap. The game actually encourages you to drive dangerously. Your car has a boost meter that can be filled by avoiding traffic at the last moment, drift cornering and by jumping over hills. It's good, but it gets better. When you keep filling your boost meter while already boosting your way through traffic, the meter will be replenished immediately, giving you another boost without even slowing down for a second. This way, you can string together a series of boosts - if you don't crash in the meantime. And crashing is another aspect of Burnout 2 that sets it apart from its peers.

When you crash, and you will, the camera switches to an overhead view for a brief moment, showing you your crash and the impact it has on the surrounding traffic. Which can be anything from a family car braking and crashing into you, to a multi-car/truck/bus pileup.
After crashing, your car re spawns a bit further down the track, already driving at about 50 mph, meaning that you won't lose the race because of a single crash.

The AI is acceptable. Opponents cheat a little to keep up with you in the championship mode, a lot in the custom series championship. But it's not that hard to win a race and their cheating seems to keep the race exciting. What's more, they make mistakes too. Every once in a while, they crash into oncoming traffic too, which is a plus in my book. Just be careful when they crash in front of you...

From the offset there seem to be a lot of different tracks but looks can be deceiving. Actually there are a handful of tracks with only slight variations, and a mirror mode that opens up once you have completed the first championship.
The game could have used a bit more variety in its tracks, but at least most of them are good fun to drive around.

There are several game modes that you'll unlock by playing (and winning) the championship mode.
Pursuit for instance, gives you control of a cop car and sees you trying to ram a getaway car that is, well, trying to get away.
Crash mode provides you with thirty different traffic situations in which you have to create as big an accident as possible. Which is really cool. From the moment your car hits your first victim, the game turns to slow motion, showing you the results and side-effects of your crash from multiple angles. After playing through the crash mode, you will never look at cars waiting in front of a traffic light quite the same ever again.

Graphics

Burnout 2 is a crowd pleaser. The cars look great, reflecting the world around it in their shiny paint jobs. Traffic is nice and diverse and the tarmac seems to reflect the sun. (And the sun has no lens flare! Will we finally see the end of that pointless effect?) There are no pedestrians, but you won't notice that when you are stringing together your boosts while trying not to hit that oncoming city bus.

The game offers two different camera views, in-car and behind it, but, sadly, I found only the exterior view to be playable.

Burnout 2 uses some nice effects. When you hit your boost button, the perspective changes a little, adding immensely to the sense of speed, while crashes show some nice motion blurring.

Most of the crashes look amazing, with the occasional horrible one because the camera got stuck in some awkward position. Wheels/doors/bumpers/hoods fly and glass shatters. Surrounding traffic hit their brakes and crash into each other.

There are a few things missing though. For instance, why have so many gorgeous fuel trucks driving around when they absolutely will not explode? Some explosions or burning car wrecks would have been a nice addition. The other thing that really bothers me is the lack of a rearview mirror. Sure, there is a seperate button to look behind you, but when doing 160 mph on the wrong side of the road in a tunnel, that tends to be more than a little dangerous. Is a small mirror really too much to ask?

Sound

Burnout 2 is less spectacular in its sound department. The crashes sound ok and so does starting your boost, but the engine noises are dreadful and the music is generic. Thank goodness you can play your own Xbox soundtracks during the races.
A nice little feature is that when you press your boost button, the game pumps up the volume of your soundtrack just a bit. The standard Burnout 2 soundtrack seems to do something too when you press the boost button, but it was just too awful to listen to. I apologize for the lack of information on this part. Now let's hear the Burnout 2 team apologize for the soundtrack and engine noises...

Multiplayer

Playing the championship mode also opens up a few multiplayer games, such as single race, pursuit and crash. But Burnout 2 doesn't quite deliver in this department either.
Even though the Xbox has four joypad ports on its front, Burnout 2 only supports two players at a time. Which probably has something to do with it being a PS2-port, but it's a horrible shame nonetheless.
And, no, you can't system link this game and, no, you can't play it online either. The only Live thing you can do with Burnout 2 is comparing your scores.

Single race lets you and a friend compete against each other and opponents on a track you have picked, under weather circumstances you have selected. As with most multiplayer games, this is only a lot of fun if your opponent is more or less as good/bad a player as you are. But make no mistake; pushing your best friend head-on into a wave of unsuspecting carpoolers is a rush.

Pursuit means that player one has to smash its car into player two's car an X number of times before the race has ended. You can choose to drive the cop car but, unlike pursuit in the championship modes, you can also pick any other car you like. The cop car has a big disadvantage, though. Its sirens are blocking your view somewhat, making it hard to see oncoming traffic. A small disappointment concerning pursuit is that if you push your opponent's car into the other traffic and send him flying, the damage doesn't count towards your score. Only the times you hit his car count.

Crash is the only multiplayer game that can be played by more than two people - because you take turns. You get three different intersections to trash (there are 30 in total) and the player with the highest score (the most damage) wins. Simple, but a lot of fun.

Replayability

I've had and played this game for weeks now, and it's still my favorite game to get a quick fix of adrenaline. It's just a pleasure to play, so I'll probably be going back to it for the next few months.
The learning curve is sweet, with a small hiccup going from the championship to the custom series championship. There is a lot to unlock too and trying to get gold on all levels will keep you occupied for quite a while.
The game could have used a few more tracks though, but the ones that are there are impressive.

Final Recommendation

This game is a lot of fun. It won't keep you occupied nonstop for weeks on end but you'll probably want to come back again and again for a long time to come. At least until an Xbox Live Burnout 3 arrives... If you're not sure whether Burnout 2 suits your needs, by all means, go and rent it. But if the words ''speed'' and ''crashes'' increase your heart rate, go buy it now.



Reviewer's Score: 8/10, Originally Posted: 06/03/03, Updated 06/03/03


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This title was first added on 18th December 2006
This title was most recently updated on 28th March 2012


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