Some games really dish out a kicking before you get any sort of pleasure from them, making you feel quite inadequate and full of self-loathing. (Thought you were good at games? Think again, you useless idiot.) So after countless hard nights of enduring your gamer’s ego getting beating after beating, it should be comforting to know that one driving game is on its way which will (metaphorically) wipe away the tears and haul you down the bar for a couple of pick-me-ups.
Juiced 2 wants to make you feel good about yourself, not torpedo your self-esteem for lacking the patience to sit through loads of identikit license tests. Teaming up with the massively popular event Hot Import Nights - think hip hop, perfectly proportioned ladies and exotic cars and you’d be right on - Juiced 2 is all about making driving as exciting and as much fun as possible. Everything from the retina-scorching paint scheme you choose to the racing itself is geared towards being accessible yet involving; if it’s even vaguely dull or intimidating, it ain’t going in the game.
Above: All of these screens are from the PS3 version, hopefully we'll get some screens for the other consoles soon.
So take the vehicle modding (one of the staples along with the betting) of the first game. While the options available are stupendously numerous, how you use them is straightforward. All the parts available for tuning your car are split into three types of kit: Power, Weight and Handling. When you’ve unlocked new parts by completing challenges and earned enough cash, you simply choose which area you want to improve and leave the game to it. This straightforward system might not be deep enough for some petrolheads, but it’s perfectly in-keeping with the stripped down ethos of the game which aims to be simple, fun and involving.
Career mode is made up of a series of challenges set in 11 real locations. London, San Francisco, Sydney and Paris are among those featured, and every city has multiple circuits - the PS2 version of the game also features a treacherous Alpine course. A new feature you might have to get used to is the drifting - something which seems to be appearing in many recent driving games, but which is central to Juiced 2 ’s Hot Import Nights theme. Regular races have plenty of scope for drifting, with wide tracks and lazy bends (not to mention the need to drift so your boost function can be replenished), but there are also four specific drifting events to master.