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February 2 2008
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
24/10/2007THQTHQJuice Games
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

Note: Some sections of this review have been copied from reviews of the game on other formats. Differences in gameplay have been noted where applicable.

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Graphics are passable for the PSP.
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 as it was the development team at Juice Games was given and extra year to improve the title. Indeed the game was improved however it still wasn't the great title we had all hoped for. A couple of years later and we now have the sequel hitting all formats including the PSP. Can the series finally live up to its 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 with dozens of cars and tracks available for your enjoyment. 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.

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Hitting the nitros for extra speed.
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.

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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The cars do look pretty nice.
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.

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.

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Looks like there has been an impact!
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?

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 had better car handling this remains a game which we enjoyed playing here at Futuregamez. Worth a look.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
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. If you own a PSP then this is a game worth adding to your collection.

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