Even my inner child is disappointed.
Psychologists theorize that each of us have a collection of inner beings that
regulate our actions. The most popular is the inner child; mischievous, curious
and often in need of attention. Well, today we are focusing on our more rash
assertive side, or as I like to call it, our inner 4×4 offroad SUV. This is
the side of ourselves that makes us selflessly charge over and through the bogs,
swamps and general rough terrain of life. Sometimes we lose traction and slip
down the hillside of determination and other times our drive and ambition is
so great it feels as though we’re a fully upgraded and unstoppable Land Rover.
on those days when your get-up-and-go has seemingly got-up-and-went, it’s often
fun to plop down on the couch with an offroad game and do what you can’t do
in life – be an unstoppable juggernaut. All you need to do is find a good game
to facilitate this. Too bad the Xbox’s new SUV sim 4×4 Evo 2 is not
one of those games.
4×4 Evo 2 is the sequel to the mildly popular 4×4 Evo on PC,
Dreamcast and PS2. While the PC and Dreamcast versions had their share of frantic
mud splashing fun, this Xbox sequel is more like the watered down PS2 port.
You get a lot of game modes and plenty of customization optionsk, but the gameplay
elements just aren’t well thought out and it looks no different than the Dreamcast
and PS2 versions.
You’re given $30,000 with which to buy your first monster. Unfortunately, you
won’t be able to pass the first track without earning some dough and properly
decking out your ride. It’s kind of retarded that your truck needs to be upgraded
just to place on the first Career track, which leads me to the importance of
The Mission mode is a new addition as well as a necessity since you need to
earn money for upgrades prior to entering the Career. Here you will do a series
of very basic missions. After the mission briefings and a few long, frustrating
moments staring at two different maps (both are equally unhelpful) to find your
objective’s location, you get to do brief deliveries, pick ups, checkpoints
and other rote racing concepts. This might not be so painful if there was one
decent map to reference instead of the two mind-bending pieces of a cartographer’s
One hundred vehicles, a plethora of upgrades and thirty tracks (including forests,
bogs, plains etc.) add a ton of depth, but they still managed to screw this
game up. The upgrade system is lame. It’s required that you upgrade with specific
parts before you can do a more interesting upgrade like a simple carburetor
change. This greatly limits the extent of customization, vehicle uniqueness
and subsequently, the fun.
game isn’t particularly interesting to watch. Sporting last years PS2 4×4
Evo graphics, this game looks old. I thought it would look at least as good
as the PC version. I was wrong. The visuals aren’t bad, but we’ve seen it all
before. Open vistas, an airplane overhead, some side traffic – been there, done
that. Still, the textures hold up well and are nicely detailed, and there is
a bit of environmental bump mapping to add realism.
Vehicle AI isn’t the best, either. All racers follow a prescribed path and
never deviate. There is a real lack of aggression on the NPC’s part. I want
guys to at least attempt to run me off the road. Don’t be so nice! If I wanted
to make friends, I’d play Chatting
The best part of 4×4 Evo 2 is the control, but even that is marred by
the ridiculous camera angles. Controlling your vehicle is pretty simple and
it responds very well to your commands. You’re able to switch your wheel drive
from rear-wheel drive to four-wheel low and four-wheel hi drive modes. It’s
up to you to determine which is best for a given situation.
The problem is the camera. You can choose from three different camera angles:
top-down, first-person, and a weird third-person. But great control isn’t worth
spit if you can’t see what the heck is in front of your face. The first-person
and top-down views have their obvious problems; it’s the third-person view is
the one that really boggles the mind. When going up and down hills the camera
will move just enough to let you look down on your hood instead of up or down
the hill. This is particularly frustrating in races since seeing where you need
to go is sort of vital.
4×4 Evo 2 is plagued with too many flaws to be recommended for anything
other than a brief rental. The graphics are old, NPC riders aren’t very fun
to race against, the maps are dumb and the camera’s a joke. I suggest you continue
to search for other ways to virtually express your inner 4×4 offroad SUV.