Burnout 2: Point of Impact [Developerís Cut]

-Criterion/Acclaim (2003)

-Also on PS2 and GameCube sans extra developer stuff.



Drive recklessly and endanger the lives of the innocent.

My Thoughts

For a new racing game to be noticed it needs to stand out from the already established and successful franchises. It needs to offer something different, but at the same time it needs to actually be a good racing game. Ridge Racer, the various Need for Speeds, and Gran Turismo are all excellent, popular series each with their own unique gameplay and style. However, even bad racing franchises can be successful as the Test Drive series somehow made it six or so installments plus had even worse spin-off games. I was never that impressed with the first Burnout. It was a decent racing jaunt, but it never stood out for me and I didn't think it would become a regular series. Good thing for me that many other people liked it enough so that Criterion could turn out a much better sequel.

Hereís the gist of the Burnout world: Drive as recklessly as you can to build up your boost meter so you can drive faster and more dangerously. The other big thing that sets Burnout apart from other racing series is the glorious sight when you crash into a semi at full speed. The crash system has been further improved which gives a better sense of what happens when you try to do your make-up while driving. Before getting started youíll partake in a quick training course that shows you the in and outs of the Burnout racing scene. Youíll be able to easily get a hold of the dangerous driving techniques thanks in part to the spot-on controls.    

Championship mode is where youíll be unlocking all your cars and the tracks to race and/or crash them on. Championship mode consists of GP races against multiple drivers and face-offs against a single car. Completing these will unlock the Custom Series Championship which is more racing action, but with faster cars. Pursuit mode puts you in the driverís seat of a cop whose job it is to stop a speeder by ramming them into a fiery wreck. This mode is very similar to the classic arcade game Chase H.Q.

Aside from the fast racing, the real highlights of the game are the spectacular crashes you can cause, and there is a mode for doing just that. Incidentally, itís called Crash mode. In these courses your goal is to reach a certain amount of dollars in damages by causing the biggest pile-up possible by driving head-on into a busy intersection or strip of highway. There is a certain amount of damage you are shooting for to get the gold medal. Some of the crash goals are easy and youíll achieve it on your first try. For other courses itíll take you multiple tries because youíll have to find the perfect ďpoint of impactĒ that will cause the big money making pile-up. It never becomes a chore though, because no matter how much you may have to try, it remains fun each and every time. Sometimes I just couldnít believe how much damage I caused. There were times when my driving caused collisions that were millions of dollars beyond the needed $400,000, or whatever it was for the course. Well, Iíve found something Iím good at; causing massive car wrecks.  

The cars are very shiny and reflective, sometimes almost too much. Cars in real life do have that reflective quality, but I donít really see too many cars that look like Mr. Clean used his extra potent super shine magic on. The rest of the graphics are very good, especially when causing major collisions. The sounds are right on and kind of morbid at times when all you hear after a collision are multiple car horns continually blaring in the silent aftermath of destruction and, most likely, death. The music is very basic, repetitive techno which gets a tiring after awhile. Fortunately, the game provides the option of using your own songs ripped onto the Xbox which are played in random order. 

As for the ďDeveloperís CutĒ after the title, Iím not sure what it all encompasses. Supposedly there are twenty-one extra paint jobs and skins for the cars plus tracks not in the PS2 and GameCube versions, but since I havenít played either of those versions, I wouldnít know which ones they are.

Score: 8.0       


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