Review by The President

Reviewed: 01/17/04

An amazing game that got overlooked.

Burnout 2: Point of Impact is really the epitome of fast paced Arcade racing. Literally, the more someone plays this game, the more they will see the unique charm and style that this game has, the hard work that Criterion did to take the Renderwere Engine above and beyond, and of course, the amazing crashes. One of the best parts of the game is watching, just looking at in awe, the amazing crashes that are concocted by weaving through traffic. They even invented a mode where you could just watch the mayhem you make by these crashes! Everything about this game makes it one of the best racing games out on any system, and with it being on the cheap side for all consoles too, people should at least try to pick up this title as fast as they can.

After a quick and simple driving tutorial that gives you a run-down on the controls (that are simple and quite intuitive for any controller) you will get rushed into the main mode, Championship, where you race against three other cars to get gold medals and trophies. The main part of the game is to get all of the trophies and medals, and they have over one hundred of them total. To even be able to pass any of the other cars, you would need to get a Burnout, or a super turbo nitro boost. You have a small meter that can be filled up by four ways: driving on the wrong side of the road, drifting, almost hitting cars, and getting air (or at least two wheels.) All of this is done easily, because Burnout 2 has a tight handling system, and it responds like lightning to the controller’s movements. Once you get a Burnout, you go to your top speed, and easily be able to pass everyone, as long as you don’t hit anything. You can also keep getting Burnouts if you do enough reckless driving at these high speeds. The longer you hold the Burnout, the harder it becomes not to hit anything, and the roads are cluttered with everything, from stop signs, small tables, and of course, many slow moving cars, trucks, and buses. If you hit anything solid, you get to see a nice crash. The Championship series is very fun, and addictive trying to get first place in every race.

After the Championship, you also have Single Race, Time Attack, and the Crash Mode, one of the most original things ever to do in any driving game ever. Each Crash Mode is a completely different experience, because there are hundreds of different X factors. Sometimes different cars come, instead of buses a log truck may come crashing out, cars could fall off cliffs, and it is really amazing. What you are trying to get is get the most amount of damage from every car on the road as possible. The more damage you do, the more money you get, and you may need some big totals to get a gold medal on every level.

Literally, Burnout 2 almost made me do a double take. It looks absolutely amazing. Though none of the cars are licensed, in fact, but that just gives you the pleasure of being able to completely destroy them, and see how intricate the models in this game are. Nearly everything that has a chance of breaking off in real life can fly out in Burnout 2. Tires flop out and go around in circles before stopping, glass shatters, and even when you honk the horn and crash, the horn slowly and weakly stops after a few seconds. Going from the impish Compact to the souped up Supercar, each of them look amazing, like they just rolled out of the factory, just pristine. Then they are smashed to little itty bits, and it you smash it real good, sometimes entire cars buckle on impact.

The car models are to be outdone, however, by the racecourses themselves. Each of them is full of detail, with most of the courses meshing into one huge circuit. All buildings and wharfs that appear in the game look real, but they all seem to made out of just a few colors, and favor a dull gray, which is not very pleasing to the eye, but overall, works. The only thing that looks below standard is the water, because it does not show light changes, while every other surface does. And remember, everything on screen while in single player mode is a blazingly fast 60 Frames Per Second, while in Multiplayer, goes down to 30. Overall, Burnout 2 is a sight to behold.

Without a doubt, Burnout 2 has a pretty good selection of tunes to listen to while driving. Most of the stuff is rock, with a little bit of techno thrown in to spice it up a little. While most of the time driving, the tracks are barely audible, but when you reach a Burnout, they become loud and pulse pounding. A very nice touch by Criterion, but it becomes annoying when you are listening to something and it just cuts out. All of the car noises were probably taken right from real cars, along with the generic honking of the horn that seems to be the same in every car, and a nice little police siren for the one and only Police Car. Though it would have been nice to have a little more emotion in what kinds of music that is seen, it is adequate.

After you get finished with the Championship, a whole other series comes out, with even harder races to tackle. Also, the ability to gain even faster and faster cars, though many of the later ones are just Customs, and not new models, are a little plus. The most replay you would be getting out of Burnout 2 would come from the Crash Mode and an extra unlockable mode, Pursuit. Pursuit is when you play in a ‘cop’ car, and you can chase down criminals, by, what else, hitting them. This mode is actually pretty fun, and can even be played with two players, with one being to the cop, and the other a criminal. Though not being able to customize any of the vehicles is sort of a minus. Easily, you can get a long time out of Burnout 2, because of everything that was packed in there. In the Gamecube and Xbox versions, they even added fifteen more crash modes, giving the player a whole lot of fun!

Many great games are looked over by people because they want to look at something that gives them flash over substance. Well, Burnout 2 has substance, a load of it. Check it out.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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