Every car game has an aim, best simulation ever, best physics, widest range of cars, closest to real graphics and so on. Burnout 2 has its own aim, best crashing simulation ever! Well I don't think Mercedes will use this one to crash-test their own cars, still crashing in Burnout 2 is a different experience, especially in the game’s subgame called "crash". Your aim is to do as much damage to as many cars, trucks and buses as possible. Furthermore the crash will take place in slow motion, letting you enjoy every glass broken.
Graphically it is not astonishing. Most of the car models aren’t exactly perfect, but it seems as if the developers made a decision to go with a higher framerate instead of high complexity car models. The feeling of speed is great, and in the internal car view-mode you will often think you're just driving your own car, but too fast! A cockpit view-mode would have helped the feeling, but it does work well as it is.
Sound will not surprise you, but will kindly stay in background. None of audio presentation will bring your gaming experience down, neither will you stop playing because you feel the need to dance together with game rhythms. The review copy was a PAL multilanguage version, featuring proper subtitles over English speech, which is a nice touch. An electric guitar soundtrack will keep your ear pleasantly busy with volume raising on during Burnouts.
As you may have understood game fun relies a lot on crashes. Still the game would have been a good arcade simulator and a really funny game even without crashes. Gameplay in single player is all about speed and risky driving, getting close to another car during an overtake, jumping, drifting, driving on wrong lane... everything "thou should not do" in real life is highly welcome here and will raise your "Burnout" bar up, letting you enjoy even an additional boost. Also, the Burnout bar can be pumped even while in boost mode, letting you experience serial-boost, which will occur when adrenaline is coming out of your eyes. Stepping inside the game is as easy as possible, with a few introduction/tutorial "missions" where you learn one feature by one, helped by movies if anything seems too hard at first.
Crash mode alone makes this game worth a rental, if not even buying it, just to show to friends. Championship mode will keep the game inside your DVD reader even for months.
Handling is a breeze; even at absurd speeds the car will react fast and keep the experience funny and reliable even using manual shift. The Burnout power bar and horn will keep your finger more than busy. In Crash mode like in Championship mode new levels and cars will be unlocked by winning in the previous level. In Championship mode that will not be an easy task since finishing at second place will not be always enough to unlock all following races. Crash mode relies on only 15 pre-made tracks, and even if they are not many, you will keep playing your favourite ones to reach higher stats. Championship modes relies on racing levels, fighting against another three AI run cars (they will crash just like you, no cheating) as well as special levels where you will take the role of cops trying to hunt down "bad guys"' car, where you need to hit them several times in a predetermined amount of time.
Burnout took the world by surprise, but it had its troubles; poor framerate, visual issues, Burnout 2 is still innovative, well done, seems to be mostly bug free and has fast loading times; Overall Acclaim has a winner, if you're after arcade gaming or racing and have a Playstation 2 look no further. However be aware that the game's single player mode is going to last only 10 hours (actually less) if you are a skilled racing driver, although you can keep experiencing crashing for as long as you keep the game!