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Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights preview

Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights

Is Juiced 2 to shed its problematic history?

Potential


Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights is the second street racing game from THQ and Juiced Games. The original Juiced was too long in development and as a result felt a little dated. It was entertaining enough and had potential but after all the hype that had surrounded it beforehand, players were a little disappointed. Juiced Games has promised to do better this time and from what we have seen so far, we are inclined to believe them. Read on and you will find out why.

Choices choices


Juiced's character creation and car customization features weren't that strong and the developers, recognizing this shortcoming, are attempting to redeem themselves by offering many more choices. Players will want to spend more time on their characters this time around, since they will be the player's avatar when they take the game online. You can create unique cars choosing from over 90 different cars and slapping one of 600 body kits onto them, along with a variety of paint colors and decals that can be moved, rotated, shrunken or enlarged to your heart's content. You can even choose the seats that go in your car! Of course, paying for all this in-game will come at a cost. Fortunately it will be a little bit easier to make money in Juiced 2. Before, you would have to pay money to repair your car in between races. It is not that the damage model has been removed but the bills for the repairs have been done away with in this rendition.

Pleasant to look at


Juiced 2 will bring the original's famed betting feature to online races. Players can bet money and even their cars on online races as well as in the offline modes. Of course this will mean more people will try to cheat but the developers have come up with an ingenious way to combat cheating. For instance, when a Pink-Slip race starts, players' cars are removed from their inventory and the game is saved. They don't get returned until the race ends so when a player disconnects during a race, they will lose their car. While this can be devastating for legitimate players who accidentally get disconnected during a race, it should be a good deterrent for potential cheaters.

Dated graphics will not be an issue this time around. Juiced 2's graphics are everything you would expect from a next-gen game. The game provides us with lots of eye-pleasers like real-time reflections on cars and stunning fire and motion blur effects when boosting. Add to that some of the most beautifully modeled cars you have ever seen along with realistic looking human models and you have got yourself quite a bit of eye candy indeed. We all know graphics aren't everything (at least they shouldn't be), but they help, and Juiced 2 definitely excels in that category.

While the graphics excite me, they also worry me a bit. The game's graphics will push a lot of PCs to their limits. I can imagine the game like will have pretty high system requirements and will likely lose much of its detail on lower-end machines. This shouldn't bother anyone who can look beyond a game's graphics but for the casual PC gamer, it may be a problem.

Not for Wii


With such a promising game, you could start speculating on where it could go wrong. There are some 'unknowns' that we would love to see clarified. For instance, what good is a racing game if it has got all these wonderful features, but not many tracks to race on? I would rather have only 20 really great tracks than having 100 terrible ones but I can't help but wish for more. Hopefully Juiced Games won't be sacrificing quality for quantity.

All in all, Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights looks to be a solid racing game that will appeal to most fans of racing games and, due to the crisp graphics and deep customization options, to other gamers as well. Since the game is scheduled for release on every modern console except for the Wii, it has access to a wide variety of gamers and budgets. I would have liked to have seen how the game could have implemented Wii's unique controller, but perhaps it will be just as interesting seeing it in action using the Nintendo DS touch screen instead. I am definitely looking forward to this one.

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