Ok where to begin with burnout 2? I want to be honest here, i don't know what to make of this game, on some hands its a disappointment and on others its fantastic. So let me begin...
Back in the "Old Days" of computer games (the 80's) There was only one style of racing game, the lets drive at the horizon, car fixed in place, with the road moving around us and avoid obstacles such as oil slicks, road barriers and other cars, a successful example of this is the immortal Outrun. It was a straightforward repetitive game that had one level but the background changed. Then developers pumped a little variety into games with Titles Such as Chase HQ (Back in the days of Neon Bermuda Shorts and Sweatbands i rocked at this game, Jenksy will debate this from my lame comeback attempts on Chase HQ2 recently while drunk...)
This added the variety of chasing an opponent and ramming him till he ran out of energy, and so car racing games developed until today's high quality, real life physics, gorgeous graphics and beautiful fluid racing of today. Where am i going with this History Lesson? well remember it, its important later...
So, Burnout 2 P.O.I a successor to the original (and in my opinion rushed) Burnout, is altogether a more smoother better produced game. The Idea being to race around city streets, country lanes and motorways in a race against 3 other cars avoiding oncoming traffic, walls, bridges, and generally anything that may cause you to wipeout your car. You can also build up a turbo bar called your "burnout" the main ways to do this are by driving on the wrong side of the road, avoiding other cars in near miss collisions, powersliding around corners and also by getting big air off jumps in the road. To sum up THEY AIN'T ASKING YOU TO DRIVE SLOWLY PEOPLE! The aim of this game is either to race properly and win titles or to cause the most sensational slow motion crashes in the history of racing.
This is where POI wins for me because the games developers have created a mode called crash mode and seen an element of game play to be exploited, forget stuntmans claims to be about crashes and high speed maneuvers, that's fair enough but this is the best game i've ever played for flying into packed interstate junctions at top speed into oncoming traffic and causing phenomenal crashes with buses, jackknifing lorries and barrel rolling taxis. Then you get graded on how much damage you do in a "dollar dollar bill ya'll" style.
Fantastic!!! If anyone beats Jenksy's $50,000,000 post the totals below, I thankyou
The Graphics are well crafted, the motion blur on the background and scenery is fantastic, as is the slight distorting of your car when you engage your "Burnout", the scenery is well structured with the odd lamppost or dustbin flying out of the way if you clip it with your car. However fly off the level too far at too high a speed and it loses a lot with some pixelation but that's hardly relevant and quite frankly you just shouldn't be driving that fast young man! The disappointment with the car damage is although its spectacular to watch the crashes, (there's a lot more bodywork smashing compared with the last game, the colours are less vivid and the game just feels more real), the lack of damage when clipping other cars during driving is a bit of a let down, bounce down the side of a lorry and you won't get a scratch on you, which brings us to the handling of the game
Put simply... Its Poor, this is No Gran Turismo 3 and its certainly No Grand Theft Auto, this isn't even outrun, the handing is far too easy, I even drove about half a lap with one hand controlling my steering and acceleration just to prove how easy it is, this is where burnout let's itself down for me, its one of the biggest elements of the game, why make the handling so simple? when you take the driving tests at the start of the game you find yourself disappointed if you don't get gold medals, its that easy, i used to be satisfied with bronzes on Gran Turismo So you can see what im saying about the difficulty.
However this is counterbalanced by the unfair advantages given to computer drivers... For example, I drove a perfect lap, and i mean perfect I used by burnout Boost 5 times, I broke the lap record by about 7 seconds, at the last checkpoint i was 5.7 seconds ahead of second place driver, I had one crash and when I restarted on the track i was just behind the computer, he must have been driving a rocket to catch me, it doesn't appear that the AI allows bad driving from your opponents either, its a shame, because they'll always follow the racing line, will rarely go down the wrong side of the road (although if forced they will) and generally drive sensibly, Its something that most games developers will have to avoid in future because the recent TOCA title had phenomenal AI with computer opponents really taking risks, driving aggressively and holding grudges, It's something this game would really benefit from.
The music is Nice, a mixture of comfortable driving music and rocky tunes to really put your foot down to, no modern rock bands just standard nameless instrumentals, but its hardly noticeable as your not paying attention half the time, a beautiful little feature is the increase in volume of the backing tracks during racing when you engage the burnout. It really adds to the effect of high speed racing.
The levels are a variety of small circuits mixed with some absolutely huge ones, and race length varies accordingly, for example on the interstate (average lap about a minute) you generally compete in a 5 lap race, however, at airport terminals 2 and 3 the average lap is about three and a half minutes so we're clocking a two lap race. This variety can really add to the championship races, a mainstay of a one player game.
Now here's where that history lesson comes in...
Other levels in One player include head to head racing to unlock other vehicles (hot rods, police cars, Nascar's etc...) One lap races (A la Outrun) Pursuits (A la Chase HQ) and three to five race championships ( A l every racing game ever). The game also owes a few favours to Need for Speed, Road Rash and of course the omni present Gran Turismo.
The Game however as a whole really lacks an X factor, there isn't really anything outstanding about it, the crash mode is really good, its something that fans of driving games will love its what we'd all like to do in this sort of game, and now we can, but without detracting from the whole game there's something missing. Gran Turismo had its realism, TOCA had fantastic AI and a storyline which although it wasn't stunning really made me enjoy the game more as opposed to feeling like i was driving a faceless character, even Chase HQ had a story and that was old skool.
Don't get me wrong, i enjoyed playing burnout i think the game is fun, enjoyable and beautiful to look at, but its just too easy and i cant help feeling i'm gonna get bored of it quicker than i should.