Burnout 2: Point of Impact Review

Feb 27th, 2024

Burnout is one of the premier arcade racing game franchises. It's tight high octane gameplay combined with it's beautiful graphics and spectacle fueled crashes made the game stand out in the slew of racing games that were being released during the 6th generation. The first big hit in the series was the 3rd entry Takedown, that's how I and many others were first introduced into the series and while I was aware of the previous entries I never saw them in a store or heard anyone talk about them. Having been a mystery most of my life I decided to rectify this and decided to take Burnout 2: Point of Impact for a spin.

Something that'll take some getting used to if you started out playing 3 onwards like me is how the boost meter works. Bashing in your rival racers won't do you any good, you'll have to rely on the traditional methods of drifting and threading your car across on-coming traffic and near other cars without getting hit to fill your meter. The game encourages constant boosting as using all of it will cause you to "Burnout" and get a portion or the entire bar re-filled immediately. It feels weird to play a Burnout game that doesn't want you to slam into the other racers but it still makes for a fun time. The Grand Prix races want you to avoid cars but the Persuit and Crash modes indulge your chaotic side. Crash mode has you sling your car into traffic to cause massive property damage and persuit has you ramming into a speeding car, playing as a cop probably trying to fill a quota.

Grand Prix races can get incredibly intense as you progress in the world tour. Each Grand Prix adds more races you must complete in a row with some of the tracks being long enough that a full race can last up to 6 minutes. The game hides alot of it's unlocks under getting gold medals in all the Prix races so you're constantly on edge trying to avoid traffic as crashing into single stray bus can ruin your entire run. This mode can be exhilarating but also a bit frustrating, especially when there's no quick way to exit a Grand Prix mode as retiring sends you to the same auto-save results screen as if you had finished the race.

The visuals are incredibly pretty and performs well even on the PS2, the developer Criterion was always able to push 6th generation hardware to their limits. There's a good variety of tracks with different weather patterns that can affect the traction of your car and reverse tracks ramp up the difficulty with most of the road comprising of on-coming traffic. The music while not too memorable does a good job of getting you pumped for each race and will even ramp up when you use the boost. A mechanic that is unfortunately absent from later entries due to their use of licensed music.

Burnout 2 in interesting to go back to, while it's not as flashy or spectacle driven as Takedown it offers it's own viceral racing experience that makes it stand out from the later entries in the series. The game goes for cheap online so there's no reason not to give it a try if you're a fan of arcade racers.

Screencaps by MobyGames