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4X4 Evo 2

Terminal Reality

GOD Games


1 - 2


The offroad racing genre has become more popular as of late, but is the recent success unfounded?

Have you ever played a game that got you so frustrated or angry that you just wanted to pound your chest, spit and foam from the mouth, skew your eyeballs out with a stick, or wrap that stinkin' controller cord around your neck and squeeze just to see the blood drip from your nose? Alright, maybe I was a little too drastic, but after playing 4x4 Evolution 2 I couldn't help but wonder, "Where's the fun?" Perhaps my expectations were too high, but the game just didn't deliver my thirst for a more solid offroad racer. There are a few elements that make 4x4 Evolution 2 stand out from its brothers, but it just wasn't enough to keep me at the controller.

Of course, with Xbox games you'll automatically expect a high polish to the games, or at least something decent looking. 4x4 Evoluation 2 does not have this shine. I soon began to wonder if I was playing the Nintendo 64 instead of the Xbox. Bump mapping? No. High texture quality? Hardly. The textures on the buildings you encounter look extremely blurry and undetailed. The maps you race in are also fairly desolate and lacking in detail, there's not much to encounter or look at it. Don't even try to go too far offroad, you may get lost due to the continuity of the maps that seem to never end, which all look the same. Unfortunately, there's 32 of them.

The trucks, however, look at least a little more polished. They have the shiny reflective coating that we've seen in quite a few of the Xbox games released. I did like the fact that there are not 30, not 50, not even 70 trucks, there are over 120 trucks from Dodge, Jeep, Nissan, Infiniti, Lexus, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, and GMC. Probably one of the greater aspects within the game is the ability to buy parts in several topics for these trucks. These parts range from tires to engines to brakes and even appearance. One could almost say this area of the game is the Grand Turismo 3 of offroad racing.

The game may appear quite decent with the part customization, but your hopes soon crumble to ashes once you actually put your truck to drive within the game. The "fun factor" seems lost in the translation from controller to screen. After choosing Career mode, buying my truck and a few parts to go with it, the race is supposed to begin. The load time itself could kill you off, for you have to wait up to 30-40 seconds for the loading screen to finish. I was lucky enough to read the tips that appear on the loading screen about the track I was about to race in. They pointed out a shortcut that would almost guarantee a win! I soon found the shortcut and hoped I would win, unfortunately I ended up going in the wrong direction. How could that be? I followed the overheard arrow that told me where to go but instead I ended up going around the track backwards! That's where my fun ended, within the first few minutes. Even if you actually follow the track, it's just not that fun.

Career mode is where the main course of your 4X4 meal is. You'll begin with no vehicle and $30,000 in your bank. The first think you'll want to do is buy a truck [otherwise, what's the point, right? - Ed.], and if you have enough, a part or two. Once you complete this step, you move on to actual racing in which you use cash prizes to purchase performance upgrade parts to customize your vehicle. Earn enough, and possibly get a newer (higher performance) vehicle. In Career mode, there are a lot of other categories to dig around in. There are practically categories within categories to choose from. There are also several different races to compete in, as well. You can race through Series, Qualifying Events, Team, and even Missions in which you embark on an "adventure." Successfully completing an Adventure Mission will earn you cash, too. It seems like there's a lot to do, but in the long run it's again just not fun. Once you actually pick up and play the many races you may end up disgusted.

Despite all this action, I found most of my pleasure spending three to five minutes in Free Roam. This mode allows the player to explore a track without the constraints of time, checkpoints or competitors. You can set the many tracks, and there are many, to have different weather or time of day, which adds to the fun. However, straying off course will just show you how desolate these levels truly are, and staying on the track is the only place you'll actually see something worth seeing. That is one of the reasons I spent three to five minutes playing each track, the fun is quickly cut off after roaming a desolate land free of anything half interesting.

Other modes include Time Attack in which you compete for the fastest time or Hot Lap on any track. There's also a Quick Race mode which allows you to race all courses up to 20 laps and against up to 5 opponents. Fun? I don't think so. Even though 4x4 Evo 2 utilizes multiplayer capability, I doubt your friends will enjoy themselves too much. It's certainly not a game to show off if you want to impress your friend with your hot new Xbox. Especially since only two people can play at a time. What's up with that? Last I looked, the Xbox had 4 controller ports.

The game's sound didn't add to the experience either. I rather enjoyed the game more by turning the music OFF! The music is your basic farmland songs, nothing more than computer made themes. The only real sound to experience is the roaring of the engines and the squealing of the tires, although I wouldn't call that enjoyable to actually listen to, since there isn't a lot of variety there.

The game would've been much more enjoyable if they probably closed off the levels and actually added some detail within. I could hardly play this game for 5 minutes without getting bored; there is just no "fun factor". Although I wouldn't mind a good offroad game, 4x4 Evolution 2 just isn't the right kind. It's not a horrid game, the fact that it has such an extensive amount of customization is great.

Scott "VeX" Kuss
It's not the heat, it's just the gosh darn humidity!

4X4 Evo 2: The Scores













The Final Word:  Overall, it's not bad but it's not great. I appreciated the customization level in the Career mode, but the graphics, sound, and gameplay are not very high in Xbox standards. Infact, this game probably could've been a Nintendo 64 game if it was early enough. If you want a good offroad racing game, don't look here, this isn't it.

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