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GameCube Review - 4x4 EVO 2

by The Cookie Snatcher on Oct. 24, 2002 @ 11:44 p.m. PDT

Experience the wild, off-road adventures of 4x4 EVO 2 in over 32 expansive, outdoor courses set in a variety of diverse locations around the world. Trek into unpredictable, jaw-dropping environments and diverse mission-based adventures ranging from locating a downed plane in the Grand Canyon to the discovery of a lost Mayan city in a Central American jungle.

4x4 EVO 2 GC Review

Genre: Racing
Publisher: Universal Interaction
Developer: Terminal Reality
Release Date: 9/09/2002

When Terminal Reality released the original 4x4 EVO on multiple platforms early last year it was met with somewhat mixed results, but the majority of critics agreed on the fact that it was graphically impressive and surprisingly fun. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about 4x4 Evo 2 for the Gamecube, not only is this game hampered by constant graphical issues but suffers from a problematic physics engine as well. There are some entertaining moments in EVO 2 but they’re fleeting and not nearly cool enough to save this game from mediocrity.

There are a couple redeeming qualities to 4x4 EVO 2 that are worth mentioning upfront, one of which is its heavy-duty customization system. We’re talking Gran Turismo thorough here; there is a vast amount of car manufacturers to choose your truck from, all with a slew of licensed vehicles. But buying your ride is only step one, after that you are able to choose from a handful of different after-market upgrade categories to deck out your ride’s aesthetics and mechanics. Nearly every conceivable facet of each truck can be upgraded, and the good news is that you’ll initially be able to tinker around with 100,000 bucks to do so.

More cash can be earned by competing in career mode through various racing circuits, the cash-prize increases as you progress. These are off-road courses with very few markers indicating the direction you are supposed to go in, you’ll need to replay some tracks a couple times over in order to understand exactly how the developers intended the track to work. Another way to earn some money is to attempt missions. These missions usually consist of doing things like scouring a large boring map for fossilized dinosaur bones, delivering water and supplies to a small town, or performing rudimentary training objectives. The mission sequences are, more often than not, confusing: objectives are only briefly explained before the mission and you can’t view an overview of what you are supposed to do after you’ve started the mission. Required drop-points aren’t marked on your map and basically what the missions boil down to is driving around, looking at random scenery while poor collision-detection blights an otherwise pleasant Sunday drive. Aside from those two main modes of the game, EVO 2 also offers a quick race mode, time trial mode, free ride mode, and a competitive multiplayer mode. All of which seem like obligatory additions that were added in as an afterthought.

Driving the various trucks is very simple; you steer with the L-analog stick and accelerate or brake with either the C-stick or the right and left trigger buttons. Other functions like shifting up and down or switching between 4wd and 2wd are mapped to the face-buttons and D-pad, respectively. The game play feels loose and light, which fits the off-road theme of the game nicely. But, collision detection constantly dogs the play mechanics and instead of bumping into objects that you nick you are instead forced to a instant and complete stop, which gets very annoying very early on.

Graphically, this game isn’t a looker. While the truck models are all, for the most part, believably realistic, the environments and objects look like they were lifted straight off a first generation Playstation game. The far-reaching courses featured in the game are somewhat impressive however, you can often visit the same course multiple times and notice an area that you missed on the last run, and draw-in distances are also quite good. The time-of-day and weather effects leave a lot to be desired though; the 1999 lens flare effect is so cliché. The audio in EVO 2 is simply middle-of-the-road, though there are aural representations for the majority of on-screen actions. Strangely, the music, which consists of forgettable techno, seems to cut out at times depending on your location in the course.

Overall, 4x4 EVO 2 comes off as an entirely uninspired and unimpressive rehash of the same title which appeared on the X-box almost one year ago. While Gamecube owners don’t have many options in the way of off-road racing games I still wouldn’t recommend this title for anything more than a rental. If you happen to own a PS2 I’d suggest checking out the original 4x4 EVO, which is vastly superior to this game, and can most likely be found for under twenty bucks in the bargain bin.

Score: 5.2/10

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