Burnout 2: Point of Impact PS2 Review

What is it that makes a racing game tick? Surely it can’t be tuning your ride, refining your car, amplifying stuff or something along those lines?. No! We want speed! Pure, over the top let’s-fly-down-that-road speed. Something that unfortunately lacks in most racing games like Gran Turismo. Not that we’re dissing that wonderful series, it’s just that there’s more fun in blasting through the streets and letting that engine rip than picking out tyres.

Instead of driving like a safe ninny, Burnout 2 rewards you by driving as crazy and wreckless as you possibly can. You see, the idea is to fill up your boost bar and this can only be achieved if you do nothing but dangerous things: racing on the wrong side of the road, barely avoiding cars, flying in the air, etc. And if you keep driving so crazy, you’ll get more and more speed making it extremely difficult to avoid those nasty collisions. Even when you think victory will be yours, one little mistake is enough to keep you from winning. All of this has to be done while racing on a road filled with slow and pesky cars who seem to enjoy getting in your way and becoming dangerous objects. It’s a real bummer to make that perfect turn, only to find a giant truck right in front of you or the remains of a crash between one of the other competitors and a bunch of puny automobiles. Of course, this raises the stakes a lot higher and adds that extra punch to the race: you’ll have to cross busy intersections, barely miss cars waiting in front of a red light and avoid heavy oncoming traffic.

When you’re involved in one of those luscious races, everything around your television turns black because you’re too focused and too busy marvelling at its great sense of speed. Your screen almost starts melting from the generated heat, your skin gets pulled back and your hair will probably never go back to its original state. Ok, it’s not that speedy: the foundations of your house won’t fall apart and you’re not going to be catapulted into a time vortex, but damn, Burnout 2 is wicked fast. If you have a low reaction speed, we advise you not to pick up this game: you’ll crash in a difficult turn even before your brain’s had the chance to order your hands to press right and slow down.

It’s good to see that this arcade racer really brings the concept of “Man, that is fast!” to another level and the nice track designs just make things even better; it really feels like driving on an American highway with a big yellow sun shining down on you or the thrill of racing in a busy airport where rain splashes everywhere is wonderful. The tracks have amazing detail and the blurry effect is great too, giving it that distinguished look. Mix that with the excellent sound effects and the pulsating feel of speed comes alive. Even in two-player mode the splendour doesn’t lose its charm: it’s still as fast and detailed as ever and the framerate stays high throughout your quest for earning that first place.

But the ideal picture of successfully avoiding everything that will lead to a crash can be crushed instantly. You really have to keep focus every second and watch every little detail because you can bang into something much easier than you think. Escaping the inevitable is impossible, strangely enough though the one thing you don’t want to happen is possibly the strongest graphical aspect of Burnout 2. When you crash, the view turns into a more cinematic mode. Your ride bashes into the back of a purple car. Because of the colour you might think it’s a soft car, but the impact is huge and your car gets thrown into the air with great force, only to hit a car you didn’t even know was there. Parts fly everywhere and you probably won’t recognise your own vehicle anymore. Sparks have begun to dance in a very chaotic way around the screen, smoke is everywhere and still trucks and cars galore are grinding along the road, causing more mayhem and destruction. The screeching of metal booms across the rooms and in the end you’ll see how much damage you caused by smashing into one little purple car; and to imagine you witnessed all this in mere seconds! Your car will be airborne more than you think: finishing with a crash total of zero in a race is gonna take a lot of practice and even then luck is still a big factor. So you see, the crashes are almost pieces of art! In fact, they’re so amusing -ok, they’re not that much fun when you’re in a thrilling race- that the developers decided to design an entire mode based on creating the biggest traffic accidents known to man, which is truly original and gives time off from the usual Championship and Time Trial Modes.

The typical Championship Mode has lots more variaton than your average shallow racer – not that we’re accusing anything. The normal “get there first before someone else does”-races are already heavy and tense so the one-on-one battles are even more nailbiting (in a good way, that is) because challenging only one driver is more intense. By progressing in Championhip Mode, you can unlock vechicles which are more powerful than the fairly neutral cars you start out with, meaning that they’re not exactly the kind of car people nickname “Beast”. This was obviously to make up for the fairly low amount of cars in the first Burnout.

In Crash Mode, the object is to make as much money by, well, making sure a certain piece of road is transformed into a car graveyard. Maybe a good excuse to get that road rage out of your system, or to finally do something wild if you’re the more responsible and safe driver. Most of the time it’s a matter of good fortune to rank up a high score though, there’s no actual way in telling where to hit in order to get the big bucks. Fun as Crash Mode may be, it’s fairly short and you won’t be plugging at it forever to be honest, although it’s always cool to just crash away and watch the virtual money roll in. If only we could get paid for such reckless behaviour in real life.

If you’re into the more serious racing game, Burnout 2: Point Of Impact probably won’t make your day, but fans and lovers of quick arcade racers are sure to get their kicks from this sharp title: it’s better than the original Burnout and it’s certainly one of the fastest games out there. The addictive gameplay could even busy you for some months if you get hooked; relinquishing your grip won’t be easy! Now remember kids: a good driver is a safe driver. Ha! Safe drivers are slow: there’s no need for them to appear on roads. Where are the daredevils? The Johnny Racecars and guys who aren’t afraid to show what they’re made of? Step right up and prove that you can handle the highway; those big vehicular masses won’t budge on their own! In Burnout 2, it’s the law of the quickest and the one with the most expiditious driving skills – and you know you have to respect the law!