Before we crank up this review up, would it be safe to say that I myself, have a tremendous undying love for 4×4 trucks? Most definitely. Would it be logical to say that my undying love for 4×4 trucks may have slightly swayed my GiN gems for this title? That’s a good hypothesis. Knowing these facts some might say that given my slightly biased opinion, wouldn’t it have been more logical to pass this title on to a more unbiased reviewer? I think NOT! Really, when you think about it, my love for trucks would make me highly offended if a title was done badly.
And finally, the question we’ve all been waiting for. When you take 120 of the most wanted jeeps, trucks, and SUVs in America, each carefully detailed from front to back in a number of assorted colors, throw them all into a mix of superb graphical quality, highly addictive gameplay, and a dynamic sound engine are you gonna make any 4×4 lovers dreams come true?
Oh, hell yeah!! Yes, my fellow off-roaders just when you thought Terminal Reality couldn’t evolve a 4×4 racing game any further here comes "4×4 EVO 2" for the PC and Xbox.
From the door 4×4 EVO 2 grabs you with its sharp and classy presentation of graphics and sound. As soon as the game fires up you know you’re gonna be in for one hell of a ride as you are treated to a quick sneak peak at some of the latest additions to the roster of vehicles in game, a glance at some familiar but revamped racing environments and a bumpin’ Dolby 5.1 sound track that just sets the mood for games of this nature. You could say it’s a bit of love at first sight, only in this equation all the cute chicks are replaced with cool rides.
EVO 2 features 120 of you’re top notch trucks from around the globe. A healthy selection of vehicles from a number of well-known manufacturers such as Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Nissan, GMC, and Dodge give the rider plenty of wheels to choose from before they hit the track. Needless to say Terminal Reality continues to push the envelope in the graphics department as each truck boasts spectacular detail and clarity. The lighting and shadow effects have been taken to the next level so you’ll notice a lot more shine and contrast on your ride, giving it that ultra real life touch. It’s amazing how a number of variables such as light and shadow effects, time of day, or even weather can affect the look of the vehicle. On both PC and Xbox, the effects are incredible.
While the trucks are all wonderful works of art the true eye candy I must say lies within the depth and detail of the environments. There are over 32 road courses in all, with each track gracefully defining itself with a superbly detailed terrain and a number of roadside elements. On some road courses the sun illuminates the environment in such a way, as it travels between trees or peaks out between valleys, that in the midst of all the heavy-footed mayhem and road rage, the rider is compelled to take a few moments to appreciate the scenery and embrace the beauty of their surroundings. It seems as if there’s something new to see around every curve and the horizon seems to go on forever, giving the driver a true sense of freedom.
The game operates on a Dolby 5.1 surround sound engine that just brings the game to life and allows the gamer to experience the full passion of what it’s like to be behind the wheel of 4×4 monster. Not only is the music slammin’ but the sound of the engines roaring and tires shredding simply blow you away. With such sharpness and clarity of sound you’ll be tempted to pump up the speaker volume and at that point tires won’t be the only thing you’ll be blowing.
Gameplay is as solid as usual with some cool new added features brought to the table this year. Game modes include single race, career, mission and network modes. In single player mode the driver can choose any type of sports utility vehicle or 4×4 truck and race it on any track under any weather conditions, time of day, number of laps, or varied amount of computer drivers. For the adventurous type motorist the Free Roam mode allows the player to explore a track without the constraints of time, checkpoints, or competitors. Each course hides a secret somewhere within too.
Career mode is undoubtedly the meat and potatoes of all the game modes. In career mode, the player begins with no vehicle and limited funds. You purchase a stock truck then compete in races to earn more cash. Once you’ve earned enough cash you can begin upgrading your new ride to increase its performance level. You’ll also have the opportunity to accept jobs to embark on adventure missions. Completing each mission will earn you more cash to put toward your truck. Also, once you’ve got enough wins under your belt you could be asked to try out for a spot on a racing team.
Finally, there’s network mode, which allows the user to get online and compete against other off-roaders around the world.
To make things even more a challenge Terminal Reality seems to have reworked the AI of the computers drivers dramatically. Computer drivers are much more aggressive in making their way to the checkpoints and at times it seems they collectively work together to detour you off the road.
Believe me when I tell you there’s no such thing as an easy win in this years’ version.
The speed of the game is much faster than before as well, so not only do you have to worry about getting left in the dust or ran off the road but the turns seem to come up pretty fast so you gotta keep your wits about you, else you’ll find yourself trailing the back of the pack more than not.
Simply put, EVO2 is the best that outdoor racing has to offer. The proof is in the pudding. When you put together superb graphics, awesome gameplay, a great sound engine and 120 of the most wanted jeeps, trucks and SUVs in America you can’t go wrong. Call me slightly biased. Call me unbiased. Either way you put it this games worth every bit of 4 1/2 out of 5 possible GiN gems.