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October 26, 2002
Burnout 2: Point of Impact - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
190KBDolby Pro Logic IIYesYesNoneYes

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The detail has been increased.
Back up to November 2001, a little under a year ago. At this time the Playstation 2 had started to establish itself as the console of choice, although the XBox and Gamecube were looming large. One year down the track the Playstation 2 has over 60% of the worldwide market share and while many thought the Playstation 2 would look far inferior to Nintendo and especially Microsoft's systems, second and third generation titles are making sure the Playstation 2 still looks the part. Burnout 2: Point of Impact is one such title. While the first game looked nice and had some fun moments it never managed to capture the hearts of gamers. This sequel from Criterion is technically much improved, and includes plenty more game modes to keep you entertained for long periods of time.

Predominantly known for their Renderware software used by numerous developers to create game, Criterion also develop thier own games. Burnout 2 is the companies third game on the Playstation 2 behind Airblade and the original Burnout. Once again published by Acclaim, Burnout 2 is a pure arcade styled racing game with spectacular crashes with both other racing cars, and general traffic on the streets. In fact, it is the fantastic sense of speed and danger while racing between traffic that makes this game stand out from the crowd.

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The crashes are stunning.
The game begins with all players having to complete an Offensive Driving 101 course, where you "Learn to Burn" from the Burnout Driving School. These six challenges will help you learn driving skills such as drifting around corners and passing close to cars which is essential if you want to win races and top up your boost meter. The bulk of the game is a new point based championship that allows you to unlock duel races with other hot cars (which then become unlocked when you win the race) as well as other game modes. Pursuit races are also a new addition to the game where you must cause enough damage to other cars by ramming them. The game also includes a very tough Custom Championship as well as the Crash mode, which will likely provide the most fun.

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 in style of locations on offer, it's not too disappointing. The game includes 21 vehicles in total, 7 of which are initially available and another 14 which remain locked until you have completed different sections of the game. Some of these locked cars include police cars, 1950's hotrods and stock cars. Each car has different speed, acceleration and control settings giving them a different feel when racing.

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Inspired from Fast and the Furious?
Actually playing Burnout 2 is an exhilarating experience. The excitement you get as you launch the car off the crest of a hill only to see oncoming traffic advancing on the other side will leave you breathless. Naturally, it's not uncommon for cars to collide and thankfully Criterion have reduced the triple replay in the original game to a single quick replay. These collisions are spectacular to look at and Criterion have paid particular attention to the way in which other vehicles reacts. Some will miss the collision, while others will slam into the damaged cars causing more damage. The AI of the computer controlled cars is great. Traffic will swerve to miss the cars racing through the streets, but in doing so may swerve into the path of another car.

Boosts, or burnouts as they are known, are a major part of the gameplay, even more so then in the original Burnout. Each racer starts with an empty boost meter however by driving close to cars, drifting around corners, getting air over jumps or driving into oncoming traffic this meter fills up. If you hit other cars, however, your boost meter will loose energy. When the meter is full you can get a massive boost of speed by pressing the R1 button on the controller. Several of these can then be linked together to form burnout chains essentially giving you the race, as long as you don't crash.

Disappointments in Burnout 2 are few and far between. Perhaps the biggest is that although the cars are damaged during the races this damage doesn't remain for the duration of the races. The front of your car can be destroyed but moments after the collision there are no side effects at all. Also annoying, and this is mainly in the Crash mode, there seems to be invisible walls along some of the streets, which the cars collide into, and get damaged upon. So while they aren't directly involved in your collision their damage counts to what you have caused. Two other areas that could have been improved upon are the number of jumps on the tracks, and the number of cross-traffic areas to avoid. Finally, and this is getting very picky, is that in the 2-player Crash mode you must pass controller 1 back and forth between players. Why couldn't each player use their own controller?

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Crashing through the cones.
Graphics are yet another area where Criterion have pushed the game further then last year, much further. The game now runs at a constant 60fps and for those lucky enough to have a progressive scan TV the game supports that mode as well - only the second game in Australia alongside Tekken 4 to include such a feature. The effects such as sparks and smoke have been beefed up adequately, while the damage to the cars is impressive to say the least. Almost every single car part can be damaged from hoods to lights, wheels to bonnets. Nothing can escape two cars colliding at over 100mph.

Sound is one area where this game makes an impression. Hit the turbo button and the rock music will get louder and get the adrenaline flowing. The sound effects are equally impressive as the cars crash into barriers and other cars. The car engine noises are beefy enough despite not including real engine noises due to a lack of licenses. To top it all off Criterion have included Dolby Pro Logic II support for added surround sound presence.

What can I say about this game. It's bigger, faster and much more exciting then the original Burnout which I still class as one of the best Playstation 2 titles on the market. When it comes to this sequel there is no reason not to own this game - it's that good.

GRAPHICSDespite some glitches this game is the quickest ever. Cool cars too.
SOUNDThe soundtrack is limited, but the crashes and effects are great.
GAMEPLAYIt's frantic, dangerous and blindingly fast. 2-player rocks as well.
VALUEMany unlockable cars and game modes. Easy to pick up and play.
OVERALLI have absolutely no hesitation at all in recommending Burnout 2: Point of Impact. It truely is the most exciting and refreshing racing game on the market which has a lot more content then the original game extending its life. Get this game now and have some fun.

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