Letâ€™s just get this out of the way, shall we? Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is going to cost some poor soul out there his girlfriend. Sheâ€™s going to walk into the room, see the barely clothed ladies gyrating around a pole as you select the racing league you wish to enter and that will be the end of it. When reviewing the game, I myself was subjected to snide comments from my girlfriend that the only reason I was enjoying the game was because of all the tits and ass.
And tits and ass are prominent to the point where it could be tempting to become condescending about the title, perhaps even labelling it as another sad attempt to cash in on horny teenagers. BMX XXX springs to mind. However, there are two things to appreciate when observing Juiced 2.
Firstly, the game sports the Hot Import Nights license, and one look at their website will reveal that with this license, the girls are as important as the cars. To exclude them would be like having a Mario game without pipes. Secondly and most importantly, unlike BMX XXX, Juiced 2 isnâ€™t a mediocre game attempting to make up for its inadequacies by including a bunch of smut.
Juiced 2, surprisingly, is a polished title that is really fun to play. Itâ€™s definitely pastiche, to the point where itâ€™s almost as if the developers were scanning the genre and selecting the best elements to include, and itâ€™s definitely targeted at a certain demographic, but none of this means that the game isnâ€™t an enjoyable ride.
Juiced 2 doesnâ€™t really ever set itself apart from the crowd by doing anything new, but what it does it does well. On a next-generation console, the game contains two career modes: one offline and one online. Itâ€™s offline only for all the other versions, although that doesnâ€™t mean that those versions are any less fun. While itâ€™s enjoyable playing against real people, the game does a good job of injecting personality into the offline racers.
The game also offers a nice range of options for customising avatars and cars, with the options for the latter being particularly deep. While in terms of customising performance the game isnâ€™t close to reaching the levels found in Forza 2, there is plenty of scope in terms of making a car look good.
Although decal editing again doesnâ€™t offer the freedom that Forza 2 did, itâ€™s possible to get a car looking good with half the time and effort. In this regard, the game certainly aims itself more at the kind of player who wants to spend his time tricking out his or her ride without spending hours in menus doing it.
If the tuning and customising of cars is more casual, the same could be said for the racing. Itâ€™s definitely a more arcade style affair, and those looking for the depth of racing in Gran Turismo or Forza 2 should look elsewhere â€“ this game is more Ridge Racer than anything.
Players will be able to compete in a variety of different events â€“ fortunately, calenders, entry fees, and repair costs are scrapped this time around â€“ in order to earn the cash to upgrade their current ride or purchase new ones. The events range from traditional races to drift races, where players are challenged to continuously powerslide round specially designed tracks. The variety is refreshing and helps prevent things from becoming stale.
Additionally, the game shines by offering a variety of different challenges to mix up the racing actions. For example, one challenge might ask players to â€śspookâ€ť a certain driver by tailgating them while racing, and another challenge might require a playerâ€™s car to fly through the air for three seconds.
Another feature is the ability to place bets with other racers, or to place bets on certain racers as a spectator. Itâ€™s a nice feature, although it becomes somewhat superfluous offline as all bets are flushed down the toilet with race restarts. Online, however, the feature works well and itâ€™s pretty fun to bet cash and pink slips against other humans.
Whether or not betting is a good idea depends on the racerâ€™s DNA, Juiced 2â€™s innovative addition to the genre. Depending on a playerâ€™s traits, their DNA will evolve. Drifting round corners like youâ€™re batshit insane will cause the DNA to glow in the drift area to reflect that. Take every corner as if you were playing Gran Turismo and the DNA will become â€ścoolâ€ť. Each DNA strand is unique to a certain player and informs other players what someone will be like before they race. Beware of people who have crazy betting DNA, as high stakes races will be likely.
In terms of presentation, Juiced 2 is a solid performer. The graphics are decent enough and everything moves fast enough to allow for a decent sense of speed, although the framerate can drop at times. The game offers the in-car view that is really becoming standard these days, and itâ€™s nice to see the changes you can make to the interior of your car this way. The player models, however, can look a little waxy and fake, which is a tad disappointing given the gameâ€™s focus on hot models.
The music and sound effects definitely lean towards the sort of hip hop culture that surrounds Hot Import Nights, although there is some rock and techno in there to vary things slightly. All the music is licensed and fortunately none of it is terribly obnoxious.
The menus are all nicely fleshed out, easy to navigate, and reflect the theme of the game well. There are gorgeous women at literally every turn and the smoking hot Ursula Mayes constantly informs of every nook and cranny in the game. The Xbox 360 version of the game also offers a whopping 60 achievements, meaning that if players are so inclined they can spend hours trying to unlock all the potential gamerscore points.
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights faces some big challenges: itâ€™s in a saturated genre, itâ€™s a sequel to an average game, and the licenseâ€™s focus on women as much as cars is as much of a hindrance as it is a selling point. Additionally, the game does little to set itself apart from the crowd and sits in a sort of limbo land between pure arcade racer and racing simulation.
However, that is perhaps Juiced 2â€™s charm. Better than the sum of its parts, the game offers an arcade experience with a little more room to muck around and a little more scope for customising things than is usually offered. Diehard racing fans who like games to be as deep and realistic as possible might want to look elsewhere. However, fans of games like Burnout and Ridge Racer would do well to check out Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights.