Juiced Xbox Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox, Xbox

Juiced has had a rather storied history in its path to the shelves. Any gamer worth his salt will know that Acclaim (the games original publisher) took a nasty nosedive resulting in a financial crash and burn for the company. This had a knock on effect, leaving Juiced without a publisher, and obviously delaying the games release for quite some time. Now, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Juiced is given new life thanks to the safer financial hands of good old THQ.

History aside, Juiced is another one of those street racing games that places an emphasis on earning respect from your racing rivals as well as lovingly lavishing your motors in performance and cosmetic gifts. Speaking of cars, there’s over 50 real life models included. It all takes place in a sprawling city as well, although the free roaming aspect seen in similar street racing games is absent, it’s not necessarily missed, as we’re here for the racing part after all. When it comes down to racing on those skyscraper-filled urban tracks, Juiced happens to be suitably fast and flashy for a street racer.

The vehicle handling is satisfying in a way that it takes a little time and patience to get used to, but Juiced is still quite some distance away from being branded a simulation, as there’s definitely more of a forgiving arcade feel to the driving, although very slightly tinged by simulation perhaps. It’s fast too, and the excessive use of motion blur really gave us the amazing sensation of speed, as did the explosion of sparks following high speed crashes.

Unsurprisingly the career mode has you out on the street, with your goal to become a widely respected speedster, but to earn the respect of a likeminded racer obviously doesn’t just happen with hopping behind the wheel of a motor. The career works on a calendar-based system, presenting you with an ever-changing choice of races (including circuit racing, point-to-point racing, drag racing, team racing and pink slip racing), many of these events are free to enter (handy when you don’t have the cash!), but a lot of others require an entrance fee. You can even host your own events, if you have the funds and the ambition to do so.

Success on the street is a major way to earn respect, and different things grab the attention of the various crews. Some crews like drag racing and others prefer to see a car doing showy tricks in the games aptly titled showoff mode, and so on. It’s a good idea that eventually results in you earning privileges as the respect number rises, reaching certain respect levels allows you to watch or race in their territory (including putting your pride and joy on the line in pink slip races), or even host your own event. We also love how crashing into other cars causes crews to lose respect, or how the respect rises or plummets dependent on how far in front or lagging behind you are during a race.

Throughout the career mode, AI drivers will offer their services to your very own crew. Your crewmembers can then take your place during races, allowing you to command how hard they push (simply up on the d-pad to push harder and down to ease off) and hopefully get him/her to the front of the field. We’d still rather take the wheel ourselves. Team racing is also an option, you are able to participate in these races yourself alongside a AI buddy, similarly firing commands and aiming to get your cars over the finishing line in the best possible positions.

There are many ways to earn money in Juiced, which is all well and good, as you’ll definitely need it for tricking out and repairing your car as well as entering race events. Placing well in races is obviously one way to earn yourself some cash, and the usual betting terms also apply. There’s a vast amount of ways to top up your cash account, but there’s also a vast amount of things to pay for, therefore, much like real life, many will be spending money almost as fast as they earn it. We often found that we had next to no money, leaving us to seek out the free events (to hopefully place well to earn some cash) and take further financial risks with bets. It’s an infuriating seesaw battle at times, but the game has a strange pull, which makes things immensely addictive.

Juiced is finally here, and we think it was mostly worth the extended wait that we had to endure before getting our hands on it. It’s fast, sexy and spectacular…everything we want from a street racer. The flawed financial system is the most major fault of an otherwise great game, and this simply cannot be overlooked in our summary. Improvements are what sequels are for, so here’s hoping for the grand return of Juiced in the future.