September 24, 2002
Burnout 2: Point of Impact - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
17/10/2002AcclaimCriterion1-2$99.95

Click To Enlarge Image
Check out the car details.
Late last year Criterion released one of the surprises prior to Christmas. Burnout was a fast paced racing game that introduced an obstacle rarely seen in racing games, traffic. And I'm not just talking about the odd car in the left hand lane, but cars in your lane, oncoming traffic on both sides of the road, and cars going through intersections. It was the closest thing to Outrun since, well, Outrun. Fortunately for gamers, Criterion have decided that a sequel was in order, and it looks magnificent with many improvements over the original.

Click To Enlarge Image
Once again crashes are spectacular.
Rather then just update the game with some new cars the developers have gone all out to include thirty new stages set across six new United States locations including Miami, Los Angeles, The Rocky Mountains, New Mexico and a busy international airport. It's somewhat sad to see the game stick to mainland America, but given the target audience, and the variety of locations on offer, it won't be too disappointing. The game includes 21 vehicles in total, 14 of which are initially available and 7 which remain unlocked until you have completed different sections of the game. Some of these locked cars include police cars, 1950's hotrods and stock cars.

Click To Enlarge Image
Fast And The Furious anyone?
The game modes have also been changed. Burnout 2 includes an all new points-based championship gameplay structure. Also new is the Offensive Driving 101, where you can "Learn to Burn" from the Burnout Driving School. Also new are the Pursuit races which allow players to race a police car and ram opponents off the road. Finally the game includes an all-new Custom Series Mode that allows you to race modified vehicles complete with body kits and decals.

Click To Enlarge Image
Texturing is quite impressive.
Looking at the surrounding screenshots it's clear that Criterion have been working on the graphics engine, although the originals was never any slouch. This new engine is now fully anti-aliased, includes support for 480p Progressive scan on Playstation 2 (high resolution) and a rock solid 60fps. Burnout 2 includes realistic weather effects including snow, rain and fog to add some realism, and difficulty to some of the tracks. Criterion are also boasting that the game will include the best lighting effects yet seen in a Playstation 2 title. Another area which has been dramatically overhauled is the collision system which now includes a lot more points on the car which can be deformed visually.

If anyone can deliver all that's promised in a game Criterion are probably best placed. You may not realise it but that company is the one which produces the Renderware software used to develop many titles on several platforms. This gives them an intimate knowledge of the Playstation 2's awkward hardware, and as a result, how to get the best performances out of it. With an October release date now set this is one game for racing fans to keep an eye on.