|System: PS2, PS3, X360, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Juice Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 17, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights has received its fair share of media coverage. You've seen TV ads, seen banner ads on the web, even seen a poster or two in your local game shop. But is Juiced 2 worth all the effort? That all depends on what you want out of your vehicle-based game. If you want a game where you can race around on different tracks and customize your cars, then Juiced 2 will probably fit your bill. But if you're expecting a new or attention-grabbing game, then you may want to look elsewhere. Sure, the game doesn't do much wrong, but its lack of anything new or noteworthy really hinders it from being a great game.
The game's premise is simple enough: you're an up-and-coming driver on the Hot Import Nights circuit. You participate in events, achieve superstar-like goals, and bet your way into driver superstardom. And once you complete a certain number of goals on the track circuit, you're able to move up to another circuit. One thing that is very commendable about the game is that it doesn't lock you into doing a certain amount of races. The only thing that determines your progression in the game is accomplishing your goals, which can be anything from a certain amount of drift points to a sum of money bet on a race. So if you're an experienced vehicular gamer, you are able to skate through the first couple stages fairly easily. And if you're new at it, then you can take your time feeling out the gameplay.
One big feature of Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is its Driver DNA feature. What this mode essentially entails is an analysis of your driving style and those who compete against you. Every time you make a big bet or drive exceptionally fast, your driver's DNA will change. There are several different components to the entire DNA model, including your willingness to take risks, bets, and even how fast you go. When you upgrade the different levels of your Driver's DNA, the game's A.I. shifts to give you more of a challenge. And while this sounds pretty good, the maxing out (or lack thereof) of your driver's DNA doesn't really seem to alter the gameplay in any crucial way.
But, of course, the biggest feature of any automotive game series is the different cars you can use. And I have to say that Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights features a very diverse amount of cars. One car that I was particularly glad to see was one that I had never encountered in a game. A Volkswagen New Beetle. I am probably very tainted with my excitement because New Beetles are my favorite cars (they're so cute!), but I was very happy to see a vehicle in a game that's not a Corvette or Mustang. It was definitely unexpected, but you can bet I raced the heck out of that New Beetle. Other cars are mainly standard fare with all the usual suspects. And if you were wondering if the game gives you any incentive to expand your garage, it most certainly does. With each circuit you unlock, a whole host of better cars become available for you to buy.
But if you're not too bent on building your garage and instead want to focus on making your initial car the best it can be, there are plenty of ways to do that as well. There are tons of ways to customize your vehicle, including everything from tweaking what is under the hood to outfitting it with just the right rims and spoilers.