Whenever a racing title is being developed, one question seems to ponder the minds of gamers alike: Can it compete with Gran Turismo 3? While GT3 provides a genuine racing simulation, it lacks the true arcade feel and excitement that is known to some of the best racers. This is in no way an attack at GT3, as it is easily the best racing title I have ever played, but for those looking for a fast, exciting arcade racer, Burnout 2: Point of Impact may be their ticket to heaven. Developed by Criterion and published by Acclaim, B2:PI pushes the envelope for production on the Playstation 2, and features lighting and graphic effects that will dazzle the eye. Hitting 60 FPS with ease, the game almost seems too good to be true. It has expanded heavily from Burnout 1 and already looks to be one of fall's most promising releases.
Burnout 2: Points of Impact has set out to capture the realism of racing, while showcasing the exciting arcade feel that gamers love to experience. Car reflections, sun glare, and weather effects are just the beginning to what Criterion has to offer. The game showcases six locations, 32 stages, 14 different cars (plus 7 hidden), and the ability to customize your own vehicle. Among the selectable cars, you can choose stock cars, hot rods, police cars, pickups, and SUVs. NASCAR cars and Japanese muscle cars are a few of the hidden vehicles that are available. A few modes available right now are Offensive Driving 101 (a tutorial to the events in Burnout 2), Single Race (checkpoint racing), and Pursuit (take the wheel of a cop car and chase speeding drivers). Highway 188 Loop, Big Surf Shores, and Crystal Summit Vista are a few of the tracks featured in the game. The finished product of B2:PI will contain more modes and tracks, so understand we are just scraping the surface.
As always, the option of turbo boosts will be present; however, there seems to be a different twist on things this time around. Players attain boosts by driving extremely close to oncoming traffic, and receive higher levels of turbo depending on how close they get. The power-up meter is very visual and offers a great sense of speed for the driver. Numerous engine sounds and outside noise round off the experience to deliver the best possible sense of speed. Vehicles also take an extreme amount of damage, as every portion of your car is vulnerable to attack. The engine will smoke, sparks will fly, and shrapnel will fly; just make sure to keep your eyes on the road.
Burnout 2: Point of Impact prides itself on producing some of the most gruesome, awe-inspiring crashes and collisions for a racing title. If the name isn't any clue, Criterion is working hard at bringing the most wild and intense racer for the PS2. At times it's almost one's objective to whirl out of control just to see the amazing effects present in this game. Burnout 2 hopes to push the limit of what a player can do to a number of vehicles.
Along with everything already mentioned, Criterion has made it known that the opponent AI in B2:PI is exceptional. You won't be seeing the average racer here where every car seems to stay on a perfect dimensional path. The computer will actually at times make you look like the cautious driver, as they spin to wreckage causing massive car pileups in heavy traffic. Second, vehicles will respond intuitively to the actions you perform on the road. Horns honk, lights flash, and cars swerve all depending on the moves you make. Prepare yourself for an interesting day at the wheel, because this AI is smart and dangerous.
With a November release date slated, Burnout 2: Point of Impact looks to heat up the fall season. As of now, the game is scheduled to land on the PS2 first, but it will be coming to the Xbox and GameCube in the near future. Keep your eyes on this fast and intense title, as it may be the best arcade racer to crash onto your console in years.
8/1/2002 Matthew Stensrud