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November 21, 2007
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
30/10/2007THQTHQJuice Games1-22-8
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Now that's a stunning paint job.
The history of Juiced is an interesting one. Only days before the original PS2 game was due for release the publisher Acclaim went bankrupt and ceased operations almost overnight. The title never hit the shelves, but THQ managed to pick up the rights to the franchise. Rather then rush the game into the stores the development team was given and extra year to improve it. Indeed, developers Juice Games did improve the game, but it still wasn't the great title we all hoped for. A couple of years on and we now have the sequel on the Playstation 3. Can the series finally live up to the potential? Read on...

Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is based around the street racing scene and is affiliated with the Hot Import Nights car show which puts the hottest modded cars on show across America. The game contains two types of races - drift racing and normal racing. This game includes over 70 of the hottest cars, and dozens of tracks. One thing that surprised, and impressed, me is that rather then going through a series of events on a calendar you now have much more freedom in the order of events you race in. A 'spook' meter also appears during races. If you get close enough to an opponent a gauge will appear which will fill up over time. If it gets full you can 'spook' the AI controlled cars into making a mistake. It's a great idea as just in real life, when someone’s on your tail the pressure increases and the chance of a mistake also goes up. Our only gripe is that the meters are pretty big, a smaller one would have sufficed.

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Detail in the streets is much improved.
But racing games are old hat? For a game to stand out these days it needs to have a range of modifications available. As well as a full paint and decal system Juiced 2 includes 90 digitally scanned cars and over 250 aftermarket mods. Naturally these will change the appearance of your car to impress the others when you head online. As well as visual mods the game allows you to upgrade the cars engine which improves performance. What I was disappointed with was the fact that the game doesn't really show you a true measure of how much the cars are improved by the various mods. You get a sliding scale of 'points' with most cars ranging from 15-90, but what does that mean exactly?

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An actual in-game racing screen.
It is also possible to place bets against other racers which certainly adds another dimension to the racing while winning races will reward you with cash to purchase new cars of mod the ones you currently have in your garage. Gone in this second game is the need to spend cash to enter races and repair your car. While we can live with the former gone, I would have still liked to see a bill to repair damage to you car.

One of the unique features to this game is the "Driver DNA". This feature sees the game looking at your personal driving and betting traits. If you're in the red you're a bit reckless and will bump and bash your way around the track, if you're ice cool blue then you will take the slickest approach to your driving. It is even possible to load celebrity DNA to race against, although to be honest the celebrities weren't people we were familiar with - however those into the car modding scene may be familiar with them. Finally online racing is also available - and this includes the ability to play the entire career mode online. It's a neat addition, but we've had a bit of a hard time finding other players at the moment. Perhaps given time, and more Christmas sales we can find some competitors.

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Cars can be fully customised.
The biggest issue I have with Juiced 2 is the handling of the cars. Be it racing or drifting neither feels as polished as it should be and actually feels quite a bit loose. Move the analogue stick all the way in one direction, even when turning corners, and the chances of staying on the road is pretty minimal. Having said that you do slowly get used to the handling. I was also slightly annoyed by the loading and game saving which, while brief, is a regular occurrence.

Graphically Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights has some great visuals and also some pretty average ones. The cars certainly look nice enough especially with all the paint jobs, decals and mods which you can place on them, and they are also destructible. The game holds a fairly solid frame rate but is let down ever so slightly by rather bland texturing on the buildings and the backgrounds. So many of the buildings have a dull grey and black look, and while many cities may be like that in real life, that doesn't mean it has to apply to video games. Why couldn't the developers put in some interesting lighting, more signs or a bit more spark to make the game shine?

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Hitting the nitros - nice flames!
For the most part the audio in this game is pretty impressive with some great music setting the mood of the game perfectly. There is also quite a bit of speech littered throughout the game, primarily to notify of what you can do during the early parts of the game. Car engines sound beefy enough and there are some nice effects such as collisions as well.

Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is a solid game and while it could have been a little more polished and certainly could have been a bit more refined with the car handing this remains a game which we enjoyed playing here at Futuregamez. Let's hope that it does well enough that Juice Games can continue to push this series further in future.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSThe cars look great, the characters good, backgrounds vary.
SOUNDSome pretty pumping music, and plenty of speech and effects.
GAMEPLAYThe cars are a bit loose, but the game is still fairly entertaining.
VALUEA pretty lengthy game with tonnes of modding options..
OVERALLJuiced 2: Hot Import Nights still isn't the greatest game we've played, but it was entertaining. One can only hope that Juice games return for a third outing as they could soon have one of the best racing games on the market.

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