Enjoy street racing? Drifting around corners, nitro-boosting down straights, and snatching first place from the oil slick slack jaws of your opponents? Then Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights will have you strapped in and ready for a fast-paced ride that will make your head spin like shiny new rims on a scorching summer's day jaunt.
Juiced 2 spares no blushes in rolling you into the nitro fuelled world of street racing. Fans of movies such as The Fast and the Furious will be right at home with its brash presentation, fast cars, glamorous models and trash talking, with ties to popular real life custom car show event, Hot Import Nights. But even with all these elements the game is still very accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the exhibition or its associated racing. From the moment you enter the career mode, a pleasant MC vocally introduces the main elements of Juiced 2 with hints and tips, as well as the basics.
THQ's game also includes a couple of elements that exist within real street racing: gambling and the individual personalities of the drivers. The former is something that occurs before every race, where you're given the chance to bet with competitors on whether they'll finish above you or not. If accepted, you stand to gain extra funds on top of any spoils you make on your final ranking.
This is something that slots nicely into the latter element, personality. Each driver is in possession of DNA, which tells you their style and habits based on Circuit Racing, Drifting and Gambling (all created by factors such as powersliding, nitro use and overtaking). With each part gauged as Wild, Sane or Cool, your experience with certain rivals will vary depending on their DNA. For example, making a low bet with someone who's Gambling DNA is Wild will likely see them raise that bet by a large amount, leaving you with the decision to either match it or back out.
At the same time, your own DNA is constantly being calculated and updated based on your methods. Certain achievements made during a race, such as breaking a speed barrier, getting air time or winning a certain bet, shapes your DNA. All of which gives each race value, regardless of the individual challenge you need to progress such as drifting around a course to gain points, beating certain racers, spooking a particular rival (driving closely to them long enough to make them spin out) or just coming first on a circuit.
Beep beep, beep beep, yeah
Between the different types of races, a sharp split-screen two-player mode and DNA based achievements, there's plenty of diversity in Juiced 2. Its strong sense of individuality turbo injects a lot of character into proceedings, from the use of DNA and hiring crew members to aid you, to the way you can deck out your car with decals, paints and performance enhancing mods.
But none of that is as important as the gameplay. While the first few games can prove a challenge given the heavy emphasis on drift racing, it doesn't take long to get into the swing of controlling the vehicular beasts, made all the more fun and addictive when you start hustling other drivers out of their hard earned cash and hear their vocal disenchantment when you beat them to the finish line at the last moment with a well-timed nitro boost.
Smooth and playable, Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is a pleasing dose of driving adrenaline, with more than enough to keep you interested even if you've not dabbled in the thrills and spills of the genre... while for fans, THQ's wheel spinner is something that will really rev your engine.