Review by GCN Phreak
"After hearing mixed things about this game, I was a bit mixed myself. But when I popped it into the PS2..."
...It turned out great. It's no Gran Turismo, but it isn't meant to be. It's meant to be the fastest, craziest racer on the planet. I'd say it holds to that title pretty well.
Good graphics overall. Nice car models, but not up to the standards of GT3. Nice looking scenery, but nothing really special. It's all on par. If the damage models were more extensive, or were dynamic instead of static, it would have gotten a higher rating here. Also, while it's better than 30, it only runs at something like 45 frames per second. It could have really benefited from 60fps, but I suppose nothing is perfect.
When you bang into something, there's often a nice dull clank or clash to go along with it. If you take a skid, the wheels will screech along the pavement. It all pretty nice, but the real sounds of the game are the engine sounds. The deep roars coming from underneath the hoods of the HSV Coupe GTS and the American muscle cars will definitely please any ear, unless, of course, you prefer the higher pitched screams of Ferrari's and the like. While they are nice, they don't seem to stand out much, even if you turn the volume on ambience and music down, and it seems to me like the Mustang and Corvette have the same engine sound. The music is lacking, though. The instrumental versions are okay, but they don't much fit with racing. I usually have it off, anyway, so I can listen to the engines =)
The main part of any game to be reviewed, the gameplay. I must say, NFS:HP2 is a great game. The speed of the cars is incredible, especially in first-person mode. The pavement and scenery flies by at enormous speeds, and at that point, you feel relaxed, and at peace with yourself...that is, until you hit that family sedan that's coming up on the other side of the road. Then then unrealistic physics take you 20 feet in the air, set you back down, and you're off again. This detracts from the experience, but the physics were made so you could speed down the roads without having to brake too much, but just enough to have to think about your driving. Basically, made so you could have a lot of fun, and they get the job done. And you won't be disappointed by the list of cars. From Porsche to Ferrari to Lamborghini to Opel to...and the list goes on. It doesn't have the monstrous list of cars that the Gran Turismo series has had, but this list of cars is great. I haven't played the multiplayer yet, so I'm not going to add anything about it.
It's going to take a while to beat both of the championships and unlock the cars, I can tell you that. And there's always multiplayer...that always brings replay value to a game. And racing games always have that ''Ah, what the hell. One more drive around so-and-so in the so-and-so'' aspect to them that'll make you want to dust them off and pop it in again, years after you bought it(if you still have the system, of course ^_^).
Rent or Buy
Ah yes, the ultimate question. Well, I'm not forcing you to buy OR rent it, but I hope you come across it some way or another, just to see what you've missed. If you don't want it after that, fine. At least you won't have it in the back of your head anymore. But I DO strongly suggest at least renting it so you can complete some of the championship races and unlock some of the 4 wheeled beauties in the game. I bought it without renting, and I can definitely say I didn't make a mistake in doing so. From here, I leave the choice to you.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/02, Updated 11/10/02
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