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Criterion Games



E (Everyone)



Q2 2003



- Worth getting just for Crash Mode
- Xbox Live ranking increases replay value
- Turbo boost more than satisfies need for speed



- Generic, unlicensed cars
- Relatively non-challenging championship mode
- Lousy soundtrack



Review: Burnout Paradise (360)

Review: Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (XB)

Review: Burnout 2: Point of Impact (GC)



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Burnout 2: Point of Impact - Developer's Cut

Score: 8.9 / 10


burnout 2 point of impact xbox review         burnout 2 point of impact xbox review


The usual formula for capturing the checkered flag in racing video games is simple: apply effective braking and acceleration techniques and above all else, avoid crashing into anything. Well, in the newest arcade racer, Burnout 2: Point of Impact: Developerís Cut (PoI) for the Xbox, that formula takes a totally twisted U-turn. Flying in the face of racing game convention, PoIís Crash mode actually encourages crunching metal mayhem. The goal? Create the biggest and most spectacular car pileup possible by speeding no-fear into traffic patterns. The more cars you can get to crash, the bigger score you will get. Even better, the online leaderboard ranking through Xbox Live lets you see how your best crashes stack up against the world of PoI players.

An unique and fantastic Crash mode really saves PoI from being just another average arcade racer, because the Championship mode is nothing more than




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ordinary with a slight challenge level and doesnít even have any kind of car licensing that nearly every racing game has nowadays. With a varied track selection filled with plenty of hazardous intersection crossings chock-full of traffic, simple-to-master driving controls, and a thrilling amount of velocity via the burnout turbo boost, PoI more than makes up for its lack of a serious challenge and other minor shortcomings.


Again, on the surface, PoI is nothing more than the average arcade racer that gives you a handful of vehicles on the gameís 30 track levels pitted against competition in a quest for driving supremacy and a gold medal or two along the way in the Championship mode. Thereís also the usual Time Attack mode. Ho hum. Ho hum.

Even worse, thereís nary a real vehicle to be found in PoI, which doesnít have a official car or truck license to its credit, although a few of the vehicles have a sneaky resemblance to actual manufacturer creations, including a Dodge Viper clone. That lack of license also applies to an incredibly bad and non-descript soundtrack, which doesnít feature even one song heard on a radio station playlist. But at least that issue can be rectified by taking advantage of the Xboxís custom soundtrack feature, and I strongly recommend ripping some good driving tunes to your Xbox to get your gaming motor running.

PoI is supposed to feature Xbox-enhanced visuals, and although the graphical presentation is up to snuff, it doesnít come near the quality seen in such Xbox racers as Project Gotham Racing and RalliSport Challenge. A Pursuit Race, which involves a chase in a police car of a breaking-the-law speeder brings some of the better ďracingĒ seen in PoI, but again, it has been done already a couple of times over. Other Xbox-only goodies include 21 additional car skins and more crash junctions for car carnage.

After that, the comparison to the average arcade racer start to end and PoI kicks into high gear, beginning with Offensive Driving 101 and carrying over to the Crash mode. Offensive Driving 101 instructs you how to be a driver with reckless abandon and teaches the finer points of scoring in the game and how to build up a turbo boost.


burnout 2 point of impact xbox review          burnout 2 point of impact xbox review

A burnout, the inspiration for the gameís name, is done by driving within near-miss proximity to not only traffic in the right-of-way, but also highly encouraged against the grain of opposing traffic flow. Once you start the turbo, youíll be thrown into a thrilling speed boost. You get credit for a burnout if you are able to drive for the entire temporary time limit of the burnout staying on the road without colliding with any other vehicle or road hazard. If you can keep totally free of any type of devastation, you will keep the burnout going. With all the many vehicular hazards, itís not as easy as it sounds. The highest string of burnouts Iíve been able to accumulate is three. Thereís also an Xbox Live leaderboard for total burnouts in a row.

Once the basics of offending driving is mastered in an undertaking similar to Gran Turismoís license mode, you will unlock the Crash mode. Without question, Crash mode is the highlight of PoI as death-defying driving reaches new heights. The premise is easy: drive into a heavy traffic pattern and cause a major smash-up. The bigger the crash, the bigger your score will be. Thereís a gold/silver/bronze medal award system based on the point total. Your scores in the Crash mode can be uploaded onto the online leaderboard with Xbox Live, so even if you have a big-scoring crash, thereís always an incentive to try and do better if someone out there has a better score on a particular junction.

When you first initiate a crash, PoI goes into a slow-motion camera mode that follows the disastrous automobile destruction youíve produced in the great crash animations. PoI features an impressive physics engine, so all the smashing, bending, twisting, and crunching happen in an extremely realistic manner. Glass, tires, and various other car parts explode every which way. (Kind of reminds me of the scene in the original Blues Brothers movie when thereís that huge pileup of police vehicles on the highway.) This is an E-rated game, though, so it doesnít get too graphically violent. Donít expect driverís body parts to come hurtling through windshields and splatter on the roadway.

This may sound a little crazy, but as much as I enjoy smashing cars in the Crash mode, Iím a little disappointed that the crashes arenít more explosive. There are big rigs that get caught in the mayhem including those pulling loads of recently cut logs and even gasoline tankers. But the logs never spill off the trailer and the tankers never explode. Now that would have made for some serious crashing chaos.

Those slow-motion crash animations in the championship mode can get distracting. Every time you hit something youíre not supposed to such as other vehicles or objects, a slow-motion crash animation showing your vehicle being destroyed kicks in. But you will quickly adjust to its occurrence and with a quick re-spawning with your car miraculously Christine-fixed, it doesnít really interfere with your gameplay.

Helping complete the ease of driving of PoI is the gameís control setup. Accelerating, braking, drifting through sharp curves, and igniting the burnout all are a summer breeze. Not having to worry about PoIís driving mechanics means you can concentrate on enjoying the sensational smashing fun of the game.

Hell-bent on destruction psycho drivers finally get a game to meet their rubbernecking tendencies full throttle. PoIís Crash mode is a high-revving great ride, and having an Xbox Live ranking system in place gives PoI a huge amount of replayability. If arcade racing in the tradition of the Need for Speed series is what gets your motor running, then burn, baby, burn an asphalt inferno with PoI.

- Lee Cieniawa

(June 29, 2003)


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