4x4 Evolution 2Buckle up and get set to grind through unforgiving terrains, soar off high peaks, dive to underwater depths and bulldoze down anything standing between you and your goal. 4x4 Evolution 2 is an off-road, free for all, heart pumping racing title developed by Terminal Reality which gives any hardcore player a much needed sense of control and freedom.
In 4x4 Evo 2, you have the choice of free racing to chalk up your skills for the real deal, free roaming, which gives the player an opportunity to explore the in-depth terrains and environments of the game before pitting themselves against opponents, Time Attack, a common mode on racing games which allows a player to tackle an environment, time themselves and attempt to beat their score in future races, and finally Career mode, where the player competes against the AI in trying to gain enough dough to soup up thier vehicle, or they can challenge their skills by going on dangerous rescue missions.
One part of this game that really turns people off is the AI (artificial intelligence). Yes, trust me, the AI cheats. When you finally grasp the top place during a race, they get unfair speed boosts to catch up and even in some cases may pass you. Sometimes, the AI will even stop in it's tracks right in front of you, and similar to 4x4 evo 2's predessors, when you hit something you cannot pummel down, you stop right on the dime.
The graphics in 4x4 Evolution 2 are no better described as beautiful. Terminal Reality payed great Attention to Detail when designing the vehicles, as the reflections are precise, there are no jaggies, the headlights actually work, and you can even see a little man inside your vehicle moving the steering wheel insync with the movement on the controller if your car has a sunroof. The environments seem endless, the level of freedom each and every level sports is great. The underwater portion was really fun, the whole gang over here was cheering me on as I accelerated right into a jump which sent me doing a barrel roll through the air and right into the water. They even made environments underwater so you could drive around a bit (with limits of course, one being that you couldn't drive out of the water and back into the race) Even though we had to respawn the vehicle every time we rolled into the water, it kept calling our names... one of the better features in 4x4 evo 2 :)
I found the controls of this game easy to cope with, they were not too sensitive, and allowed for last minute decision making (ie: Curving to evade diving right into the water, although who would really want to dodge the fun of the water). I was uneasy about using the analog, (bad experiences with the PS2 controller), but Xbox's wide and slanted placement melted in my hand like butter and before I knew it, I forgot all about it. One thing I found difficult was the colored buttons, (and it's not because of my fat fingers) since I don't look at a controller while I play, at some points, when I wanted to respawn quicky to get back in the race after plummeting into the water, I touched the orange button accidentaly, when I was initially aiming for the white button (right above it), which messed up the view.
The sounds of this Off-Road wonder was not a problem. It's precise, environmental and engine noises didn't bother me at all. In most cases, it was drowned out by the music I downloaded into Xbox from my CD's anyways. Terminal Reality associated noises into the game triggered by actions which happen to the environment, which I found creative, im not talking about bashing into a wall and hearing a thud, I mean dropping onto thin ice and hearing the ice crackle under your weight, or hearing your vehicle sway through the bushes.
All in all, this is an off-road title to look out for, but don't take our word for it, go out and rent it on November 16th, 2001 to see for yourselves. If you can tolerate the cheating AI, you should have no problem in having an enjoyable experience with 4x4 Evolution 2. If not, well then, maybe you should turn to another off-road title for your hardcore racing needs.