The sequel to the popular 2000 off-road rally game brings new vehicles and challenging new tracks to the cross-country racing. This second effort brings additional real-life cars and trucks as well as more developed single-player missions, but retains the same kind of arcade-styled control and multiplayer support that bolstered the success of the first game. Like the original, 4x4 EVO 2 was developed by Terminal Reality and is published by the GodGames division of Take 2.
So, what makes a better sequel to a racing game? Basically, not much in this case. Apart from the necessary visual enhancements, gamers will unquestionably expect new tracks and vehicles, and 4x4 Evolution 2 has just that, along with some additional features.
Players who haven't enjoyed the rides and thrills of the first game will especially be delighted to explore all of the features the second installment has to offer. At the very beginning of the game, you will notice that Terminal Reality has refreshed the game with various new options (both in single-player and multi-player mode). Thankfully, the restrictions of single-player gameplay, which I recall being quite a pain in the neck, have now been dealt with. Once you commence a career in off-road racing, a variety of challenges, races, and adventures will await you. The "Series" and "Qualifying Events" are back from the original. However, the main problem in the first game was that it was pretty hard to earn some money for basic car parts. Now, there's an additional opportunity of participating in several mission assignments. On the whole, you'll be able to earn money throughout exploring and performing certain tasks, therefore earning more greens, as well as working on your driving aptitudes.
The title 'Evolution' truly agrees with general concept of gameplay. It signifies the concept from the original game that requires the player to go through a series of racing events (in "Career" mode) and receive cash for his effort; after that, he "evolves" by installing new equipment and thereby creating a more powerful SUV. The great thing about the career mode is that it can last as long as the player wants. Furthermore, the crew at Terminal Reality had decided to incorporate quite a lot of new tracks and vehicles. Gamers will be happy to know they can explore 32 tracks, which spread across various locations all over the globe - the old tracks were enriched with plenty of visual details and some were spiced-up with alternative side roads and shortcuts. Also, a few roadways were livened up with extra background animations. For example, the track called "Restricted Area," which takes place on a forbidden air-field, now has numerous additions to the environment: ammo crates lying around, F-16's and F-117's landing and taking-off, etc, etc. Understandably, a sequel means new SUV's, trucks, and jeeps. This game has over 120 models of the latest vehicles equipped to deal with the intricacies of off-road racing. To make things more exciting, the developers have decided to include even a few monster-trucks (which are really fun to drive).
Essentially, the purpose throughout the game remained the same: to show your racing skills and win cash prizes that will allow you to upgrade your base truck into a more efficient off-road vehicle. Relying on your choice of equipment and your driving abilities, you'll get to taste the delights of rushing through huge desert canyons, vast fields, swamps, high-ways, and so on. Depending on the track's features, you'll have to adjust your truck/SUV so that it can resist the oncoming dangers - like spilt oil on the road, stony paths, bushes, huge, and tree-trunks. This is where the authenticity of car parts comes in. There are somewhere around 90 pieces of vehicle gear, which can give your truck the proper boost up. So, like in the previous game you have to employ these components in such an order that applies to the features of your vehicle. Therefore, you will give your truck stability, speed, manoeuverbility, and endurance.
After playing for several hours, I noticed that the game doesn't have the strong tendency of becoming dreary; as was the case with the first title. This tediousness occurred due to a lack of more options, racing modes, and similar features. However, that boredom has been avoided in the second installment thanks to the implementation of diverse competition modes and mission assignments. Competition races like the "Series" are tough, so you'll have to be prepared. Luckily, the best possible training comes with the missions, which mostly involve exploration, fixing the supply routes, and, of course, free-style driving.
Bumps, rocks and visuals...
The sense you get from driving these trucks and SUV's surpasses the one I got from the first game. Initially, I couldn't figure out what was the main attraction. But, after trying out all of the tracks and vehicles, I noticed a lot of innovations.
The improved 3D engine allows additional details on the road, thus making the whole game seem more true-to-life. Features like dirt and mud flying from the back of the car tires, realistic fog effects, and convincing vehicle reflections all create a fabulous atmosphere. The chassis of your SUV displays the filth it gets from the track - this means you'll notice mud, road-dust, or snow on the armature of the car. The appealing facet of the game is that you can wash the dirt off if you happen to come across any kind of water surface (be it a river, or a cute little brook).
If compared to the old game, 4x4 Evolution 2 brings enhanced car-models and highly detailed tracks. So, if you're worrying about seeing the same thing all over again, you can think again, cause it seems that an effort was made to enrich every visual aspect of the game. Aside from the vehicle reflections, you will detect that the in-game particle system was also improved, giving a more impressive scope of effects like earth and sand hurling from the SUV in front of you, more details on the ground like grass, wild plants, small rocks, etc.
On the other hand, the in-game physics are still rather flawed, and that severely diminishes any apparent visual enhancements. This means, your vehicle won't react to the bumps, curves, and obstacles exactly like it's supposed to. Also, things like undetectable car damage and almost impossible reactions to severe bends (i.e. it handles the toughest curves at high speeds way too easily, even if the all the laws of physics suggest otherwise) may thwart the overall impression of the game.
Why isn't there greater vehicle damage evident on the SUV's? Whatever the reason for that may be, it sure seems rather unrealistic that crashes, flip-over's, or even head-to-head collisions, leave a vehicle completely intact, and in terms of playability that can present a serious problem, especially because Evo 4x4 2 is an off-road racing game.
As for the sound qualities, they do not seem to present any special features. But, you will find there are a lot of music-tracks that go extremely well with the atmosphere of each event.
Looking For a Good Race?
If it's a challenge you're looking for, 4x4 Evolution 2 is the right choice. Every race or exploring event will put your driving skills to the ultimate test. And, assuming you relish the idea of hurrying across hazardous areas in a Grand Cherokee SUV, you definitely shouldn't miss this game. Your opponents are going to give you a hard time and therefore should not be underestimated. They will ride through the shortest routes and complete tracks the best possible way, and that may perhaps take you a while to get used to. However, they do hit a tree every now and then, so be sure to use this opportunity to your advantage. Some tracks can be extremely difficult and they require you to know them to the exact detail, otherwise you may finish on the bottom of a deep lake, which spells the end of the race.
In a nutshell, Evo 4x4 2 can be a satisfying experience, and the added features may increase the replay value, but the game still has some rather annoying gameplay problems, which shouldn't be there in the sequel.
People who downloaded 4x4 EVO 2 have also downloaded:
4x4 Evolution (a.k.a. 4x4 EVO), Cabela's 4x4 Off-Road Adventure 3, AH-64 Apache Air Assault, Colin McRae Rally 2005, Screamer 4x4, Colin McRae Rally 2, 1942: The Pacific Air War, Ford Racing 3
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