The original Burnout game I did review on this site and I gave the game a very respectable score. Although scoring very well, the game did have some issues. This included a very difficult credits system and the lack of a save in between each race. Now Burnout II: Point of Impact has arrived and hopefully will set a few niggles straight.
Just like the original you insanely drive down busy traffic bulging roads competing against 3 competitors. The difference is that Burnout II feels a lot more arcadey. By this I mean it is super fast, super smooth and more importantly super fun!
With a much closer camera angle you feel right in on the action. The crazier and more dangerously you drive the more points you are awarded for your efforts and it is worth doing this now more then ever. Burnout II features Xbox Live! online statistics, although you can’t compete with other people online in races etc, you can compare lap times, crash scores and stunt points. I am sure most people will agree that the fact the game isn’t fully online is a shame but by adding this statistics system they have encouraged us to play the game much more then you would have without it.
Midtown Madness 3 has a good single player experience but the online play is a lot better and brings the game to life. Burnout II hasn’t got the online play to help it, but the single player game is so good you forget the fact it lacks full Live! support very quickly. This is what Midtown Madness 3 wish it had been offline in terms of fun, speed and madness.
With Live! statistics lap times mean a lot more then usual so you constantly require the ‘boost’ feature maxed out to accelerate to mind blowing speeds. This is achieved by driving on the opposite side of the road facing oncoming traffic, wheel sliding and jumping great distances from bumps on the road. The longer the stunt, the quicker your ‘boost’ bar increases meaning quicker lap times are possible.
Dodging between trucks, buses and cars makes for great entertainment and if you have Dolby Digital enjoy the ranting papping from drivers you have just overtaken disappear behind you. One major plus for the original game was the full 5.1 music and I am pleased to say they haven’t missed this out on the sequel. With a much more rock feel to the music it has been worked much more cleverly.
The music simmers in the background waiting for your ‘boost’ bar to max out. Press the ‘A’ button to initiate the boost and the music then blasts through your speakers as you perilously speed around the map. You even have the option to play the music from the first game if you fancy a change.
Another enhancement is of course the graphics. There doesn’t appear to be as much bump mapping as before but the vehicles look nicely detailed and there is a lot of movement all around. Take for example the Airport track. Drive around passing docked planes and hear and of course see planes pass above you ranging from small to large coming in to land. Much smoother then the first as well and did I mention a hell of a lot faster.
The gameplay has been made much more bearable as in the first Burnout game you had credits, if you didn’t finish first on the later levels you couldn’t continue to the next track so you had to use one of your precious credits. This system has now been replaced by a medal system. Win medals and overall championship to continue which is a damn sight easier then the old system I can tell you. To encourage a longer gaming experience though you have to achieve a gold medal for all the championship races to unlock extra races like head to head where you race a vehicle and if you win the race you get to drive that vehicle in the game for yourself.
The crashes are also far more spectacular and to make the most of this they have even added a place where you crash for cash and this too is saved online on Live! if you have the service. Careering into junctions at top speed with traffic crossing from left to right and vice versa to only speed into a prime target like a truck or bus to get a pile up of unimaginable scale. The greater the pile up, the more cash you are awarded.
A well deserving score for such a fantastic offline experience. Just when you thought Xbox Live! was the only answer for all titles, out pops Burnout II: Point of Impact to prove you wrong. If you still haven’t got this game, for goodness sakes get it now.
Rating: 4.5 / 5