Burnout 2: Point of Impact Review (PS2)
I looked up the word “sleeper” in Webster’s dictionary and found a definition that reads:
“One that achieves unexpected recognition or success, as a racehorse or movie.”
Every year in the gaming industry we’re blessed with what us gaming media types refer to as a “sleeper”. In fact, most year end awards presented by gaming sites and magazines include a “Sleeper of the Year” award. Those games that don’t get a lot of press, yet get their momentum through “word of mouth” in the gaming community. You don’t see all the hype and advertising that you see for the Maddens and the Grand Theft Autos of the world. These titles are left to fail or succeed strictly on their own merit. Later this year when the gaming world and specifically the Operation Sports Staff starts compiling their lists for the top games of 2002, Acclaim’s Burnout 2: Point of Impact deserves to be a game on a lot of lists. But, here’s the question, will it be on yours?
If you’re not looking for a flat out arcade racer then I’ll save you some time and suggest that you stop reading now. Burnout 2 will never be confused with any kind of driving simulation. As the name implies, the game modes are about two simple things: “burning rubber” and “impact”.
In Burnout 2, the rules are simple. Go fast. Take chances. And wreak havoc on traffic! You’re actually rewarded by risking life and limb. Catch air, avoid a pile-up, drive into on-coming traffic, or whatever. All these things fill up your “boost”. Fill it up and things get really interesting. With a simple push of a button, the virtual nitrous kicks end and you take off like the Millennium Falcon jumping into light-speed. Plus, if you lose control, so what. Then you’ll be treated to one of the greatest aspects of Burnout 2…the crash!
Each crash is treated with a spectacular scene like something right out of a big budget movie. Glass and sparks fly and the flipping flying car, or cars, pile up as more and more cars add to the anarchy. This aspect of the game is so amazing, that they’ve actually added a Crash Mode. This mode allows you to barrel down the street to an intersection with the hopes of causing as much damage as you can. Believe it or not, you’ll find a lot of strategy in this mode, and you’ll also find a lot of friends not going home when you fire it up.
All the game modes have their strengths. And with the modes, vehicles, and features that you can unlock as your driving skills increase, Burnout 2 can hold your interest a lot longer then the average racer.
Using the PS2 hardware as well if not better then most of the competition, Burnout 2 provides a crisp clean look that does an amazing job at giving you a visual feeling of speed. With superb lighting, nicely rendered environments, and great models, BO2 takes on an almost Hollywood movie feel akin to “The Fast & the Furious” and other flicks of that genre`. And I would feel remiss if I didn’t once again mention how absolutely spectacular the crashes are in this game. It’s worth a look for that alone.
Audio in a game is always a tough area. My personal opinion (and that’s what we are going with since I’m the one writing the review) is that a developer is better off doing too little then too much. Overdoing the audio can take a lot of enjoyment out of a title. Burnout 2 nails the other side of the coin by doing just enough with the audio to add to the overall feel of the game. The engine sounds, crashes, atmosphere, and background music, while not spectacular, fit perfectly into the gameplay. Nothing groundbreaking. Just right.
It’s always nice when a developer makes a solid game. It’s even nicer when they release a sequel that not only incorporates all that was good with the first game, but takes it to another level in all areas with their next attempt. Burnout 2: Point of Impact is solid top to bottom and a fantastic new treatment of the arcade racer for the 2k’s and beyond. With slick graphics, fantastic crashes, and strong replayability, Burnout 2 is more then worth a look and strong consideration for 2002’s “Sleeper” of the Year.