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Criterion Games



E (Everyone)



Q2 2003



- Woah speed!

- Tons of fun

- Good number of races and cars

- Challenging AI

- Crash mode is strangely compelling



- Somewhat confined urban tracks

- Fell out of the game once



Review: Burnout 2 (PS2)

Review: Shox (PS2)



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Burnout 2: Point of Impact

Score: 9.1 / 10


Remember those carefree days of your youth sitting in a big cardboard box imagining you were zipping along at Mach 10 in your custom car on your way to Disneyland or to a buddy’s house?  Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PoI) comes as close to that experience without having you sit in a cardboard box.  In terms of flat out fun and speed, not much can touch PoI.


burnout 2 point of impact gamecube review           burnout 2 point of impact gamecube review


PoI could have been just another racing game – one without licensed cars at that – but it excels for a number of reasons.  The main one being the rewards for precision reckless driving.  Heading into oncoming traffic, skidding through corners, narrowly missing other cars and catching air all provide you with small increases to your boost meter.  (After playing for a while, I’d actually start to salivate when my boost meter was almost full.)  Punching in the boost not only makes you go incredibly fast, it also blurs the edges of the screen slightly, the soundtrack explodes, and the road briefly stretches ahead of you in one of those cinematic moments.


It’s during these boosts that you’re most apt to make a mistake resulting in a terrific crash or multi-vehicle pile-up.  I mean, how steady are your nerves at 200 Mph in oncoming traffic?  The results can be downright spectacular!





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If the occasional crash during a race or Challenge isn’t enough for you, PoI comes stacked with a Crash mode, which tasks you with creating as much vehicular mayhem as possible.  This mode may be off-putting to those that have been involved in real carnage on the road but I found this mode strangely appealing as it lets you try all those things you can’t do in real life (provided you don’t have suicidal tendencies).  The crashes aren’t just spectacular – they border on ridiculous.  In one particular pile-up a logging truck caught air!



All this crashing brings me to PoI’s graphics, which do more than an adequate job pulling you into a race and creating a sense of speed.  And although the cars are “fictional” the locations seem almost real thanks to touches big and small.  At the airport planes regularly fly overhead, traffic lights will stop traffic, traffic is varied – all situated in some gorgeous environments.  And it’s all backed up with solid sound and control.


The actual races offer plenty of challenge and variety.  There are straight races against three or one computer controlled opponents (with and without laps) and chase modes, which challenges you to crash into an opponent so many times to catch him.  Successfully completing circuits and races unlocks further tracks and more cars.


burnout 2 point of impact gamecube review          burnout 2 point of impact gamecube review


The AI is no chump, but neither is it a cheater.  If the AI trounces you it’s because somewhere along the line you screwed up and not because the opposition is flawless.  (You’ll see them crash too – sometimes up close and personal.)  A crash will usually net you a two or three second penalty before the game resets you back on the track so even one crash can drastically affect the outcome of a race.


With all that PoI does right, there are one or two minor quibbles.  One crash sent me flying outside the track area and tumbling into a black void, but this was after hours and hours of racing and the game did get me back on the track.  My other beef has to do with how confining the tracks feel even though they take place in urban landscapes.  But most of the time I was having too much fun to notice.


What Burnout 2: Point of Impact comes down to is that it’s a solid and entertaining racing game, which has the potential to draw in non-racing fans – not something many racing games can claim.  If you’re a racing fan, you can’t go wrong, particularly if you have a cardboard cruiser to sit in while playing.


- Omni

(May 10, 2003)

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