It seems like only yesterday that I heard the phrase, “best crashes ever”. This was the infamous line given to Acclaim’s original Burnout for the PS2. Sure the game featured some intense crashes and a sense of speed that would make Wipeout take notice. What it lacked was any depth not to mention the look could sure use an overhaul. The PS2 really showed the jaggies on this one, the later XBox and Cube versions cleaned it up a little, but it still needed a face lift. One year and some anti-aliasing later Burnout 2: Point of Impact is here, and with some upgrade!
This is the most noticeable difference, Criterion took the time to anti-alias the visuals. This is a technique most PS2 developers do not feel the need to implement, and after seeing Burnout 2 perhaps they will learn to use it. This game is crisp and smooth really showing off what the PS2 can do with polygons. The only downside is the textures on the cars are lacking, they still look like fat hot wheels. If this game graces Xbox I am praying for bump mapping along with other X-touches. Then this game would shine and perhaps pass as the best looking racer ever. As it stands this game looks damn good on the PS2! Oh and did I mention there is no slowdown and almost no draw-in?? Damn fine job!
Burnout 2 utilizes the Dolby Pro Logic II technology and damn does it sound good. Sure it isn’t as crisp as true 5.1 but it handles the job, the problem is that the music flat out sucks. Repeating guitar and drum riffs really make the tracks seem to drag. If this were on Xbox custom soundtracks would be a must, seriously the music really leaves much to be desired. On the plus side the sound effects are very good. Crashes leave the glass stuck to your forehead they sound so real. Car engines roar across the six speaker setup like I was in the driver seat, fabulous use of sound effects!
The game forces you to take the offensive driving course before jumping into the action. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the handling while learning the nuances of gaining boost and utilizing it in a race. Controlling your car is just as smooth as the original and veterans will pick it up like second nature. On top of all the good Burnout 2 allows you to use the right analog stick for gas and brake which makes the thumb pressing pain go away quickly. To sweeten the pot Acclaim has also thrown in a two-player mode for massive replay value, speaking of replays, you gotta see these, absolutely incredible crashes!
While it sounds like this game does everything right it certainly is not for everyone. Racing games can only go so far to the casual gaming audience and my guess is that this game will only satisfy for a short time. If you were a huge fan of the original you owe it to yourself to pick up the much improved sequel, if you have never played Burnout before give this a rental, you may end up a fan. In the end a great game with just enough improvements to make it worthy of a purchase.