Each zone houses 24 ranked events (either a standard race, a solo checkpoint Speed event or a last car standing Eliminator race), which take place on one of four tracks (making a total of 16). Points for coming in the top three in each event go towards unlocking the next rank in the same set-up as before. What really separate this from the original are the tracks and the hazards.
Prefer heavier vehicles like the big rig or monster truck? Then in the Fire zone you’ll need to make sure you have enough boost to make a series of jumps across rivers of lava, while in the Water zone you should be looking out for shortcuts through the deeper bits that’d sink the smaller vehicles. Basically, every vehicle on every track in each of the four Zones presents advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to learn and master.
The tracks are the stars of the show, whether it’s the thrill of jumping from one precipice to the next, taking in the beauty of a rainbow as you skim through the base of a waterfall, or cursing the developer for making that bit of rock you just smashed into jut out slightly further than the rest of them. Thanks to the rubber-band AI, which makes your opposition less competitive when you fall behind, you’ll never be too far away from getting back in the race.
Only the new monster truck disappoints – hit anything bigger than a bike and this rig seems to lose all power, often resulting in you flipping over instead. Ultimately, it’s just a bit too slow and slightly cumbersome. Still, we’re sure it’ll be many people’s favourite vehicle. The excellent Split-screen mode for up to four players is a real blast, although you’ll need a big bright TV to play it on. The Time Attack mode is great too and you can load ghost car data to see where you’re going wrong as well as post top race times on an online leaderboard.
A few more tracks, vehicle types and Race modes would have been good (we’re sure they’ll appear in future DLC), plus the ability to fully customise your vehicle instead of relying on a few skins. Still, what’s there out of the box is exhilarating, exciting and brilliant fun.
Oct 28, 2008