Burnout 2: Point of Impact – Developer’s Cut
Ready, Set, Crash! Burnout 2 is Criterion’s second go-round with the series for all consoles. It is an arcade racer at heart but a frantic, action-packed, total-your-car racer in every other light and it makes its way to Xbox owners sporting improved crash physics, improved AI, more speed, new game modes and custom soundtracks. It took some time for the Xbox version to get here as PS2 and Gamecube owners had a head start with this. Was it worth the wait? Can Xbox owners finally crash…in the game that is? Read along with us and find out.
Getting familiar with the controls and basic rules in Burnout 2won’t take much time. The game starts you out learning the basics in a Driver’s ED car but quickly after that you’re off to the streets. This game breathes a torturous emotion onto the streets in which you’ll race forwards and backwards literally trying not to crash but wanting to crash so badly. But isn’t that the point? Well the overall selling plot with this game is of course being able to crash and look cool doing it but it actually gives fans a pretty decent racer in their library. The speed at which you can go in this game has been almost perfectly captured. Speeding down a highway and crashing never felt so good. With a much improved boost meter, you can boost through an entire match almost if you have an uncanny ability to keep the boost pressed while oncoming traffic steers towards you. Acclaim sought to improve on its crash aspect of the original Burnout and they succeeded in almost every way. There are 30 crash junctions to find ways to accomplish the biggest most expensive crash possible while aiming for the gold medal. This seems easy but it’s quite a challenge as there are 3 tiers of scores that represent bronze, silver and gold each with a price tag. These prices can go well into the $30 million range and beyond to achieve gold.
In addition to the bread and butter of the game, you play through a championship series and a custom championship series that allows you to unlock custom cars and tracks as you progress. The Xbox version of the game has 21 additional car skins not seen in other versions. They’ve also thrown in the Pursuit mode, Drivers Ed, Crash and multiplayer via split screen. Pursuit mode is fun as you take the role of chaser or the one being chased. You must total the car or avoid being totaled. It may not sound like much but try chasing a custom muscle car with the likes of a slow-mo Drivers Ed car and the fun begins. I don’t exaggerate when I say that you feel like a part of this game. Racing down a curve or navigating a U-turn in excess of 100mph while contending with oncoming traffic is a tad bit tense. But it feels so good. If there were a category for Best Crash/Fast/Adrenaline car racer, then Burnout 2 would win hands down. The multiplayer aspect of this game is nothing to get excited about as quite simply it’s more entertaining being alone. You can, however, get a good split screen performance from this game, as it never seems to lose its speed. You can also take to the crash junctions and take turns with a buddy trying to cause the most damage. It would’ve been much cooler though to somehow pit two players together at the same time to go at it.
Visually, Burnout 2 is quite an attractive racer that shines above the PS2/Gamecube versions. This is probably as it should be with Xbox owners being the last to see this game. The textures and lighting have received more attention but it seems as though no game can escape the dreaded jaggies.Burnout 2 has its share but with the speed in this game you’ll hardly care. With so much detail going on with the number of cars it’s amazing that the game runs a smooth 60fps at all times. Speed is never compromised no matter what’s going on with the oncoming traffic. The crash scenes are very well done and have been significantly upgraded since the originalBurnout. You’ll see car hoods flying and windows shattering in a surreal kind of way. If there is a game out there that recreates a crash as perfectly as this game does, then someone probably needs crutches from being a crash test subject. In fact, I’d bet anything that the main purpose of this game was to deliver stunning crash physics because simply put, they are stunning.
Burnout 2 supports 5.1 Dolby Digital sound and it couldn’t have been given to a better crash racer. The sounds of traffic speeding past you are wonderful as are the sounds when you decide you want to take on that big diesel with your pickup truck. The soundtrack is appropriate in the game as it somehow captures the intensity and adrenaline when you’re boosting your way to the finish line. You also have the option to create your own score, as custom soundtracks are available. So pop in some 2 Fast!, 2 Furious! with Ludacris and get groovin’.