Terminal Reality

4x4 Evolution 2

Having started out on the Dreamcast as one of the most highly toted realistic driving games in the video game world, 4x4 Evolution gave gamers the ability to create a huge truck through the use of real time parts and races. Now, 4x4 Evolution returns to the XBox with a ton of upgrades and trucks to give you a wider variety and overall choice on just how you want to build your customized machine. However, what you'll find from the start is that, although the game is visually pleasing and offers you challenge, it seems as though the challenge is seriously amped up to a point of where you cannot continue unless you perform the new Mission Modes!


Visually, 4x4 EVO 2 hasn't changed much, if at all from the PlayStation 2 version of the game and you'll find that everything that you're seeking here is essentially the same as it was there. Trucks are well detailed and colored while the tracks are lush and expansive. However, some of the trucks look a little blocked out and you may find that the game just doesn't seem to have much of a color difference on all of the trucks. If you're an XBox owner, then you won't find anything wrong with this, especially if you've never played the PlayStation 2 version, but for those who have both versions of the game, this could be something of a disappointment.


Audio wise, the game covers the bases with music that fits the overall pace of the game and keeps the theme at every stage. While not the most inventive of music, and being directly ported over from the Play Station 2 version, the best thing about the music selection is that it changes accordingly. Sound effects round out the roster with your usual assortment of engine roars and mud flinging, but it just doesn't seem to have too much life behind it. Although the music and the sound effects fit the overall theme of the game, there are points in which you may find that the game just doesn't seem to hold your attention in the audio sense and gets slightly boring as time rolls on!


As with most of the driving games that you find, 4x4 Evolution 2 throws you into the fray with a simple truck that can be upgraded right down to the calipers on the brake system, and pits you against trucks that outclass you at every turn. The problem that comes in with this game is that with the addition of the Mission Mode, you can't just take those as an optional part of the game and they are required playing in order to earn the money to upgrade your truck! You'll find that as you go through the races, the very first race is set for a truck that is ultimately better than the one that you have, and without the proper parts, you won't get very far.

The game play itself is pretty straight forward in the racing department with you going up against several different computer controlled trucks in an all out dash to the finish through several different off-road tracks. The computer is cheap, and the tracks in 4x4 Evolution 2 are laid out in such a way that unless you have your upgrades ready, you won't make it to the finish line at all! Through the successful winning of your races, you'll find that money helps you to buy parts from a huge list of real-time upgrades to give your truck better handling, speed, horsepower and acceleration. The actual point of the game is to create a truck that just doesn't get any faster, or more powerful in order to keep up with the rest of the competition.

The second mode that you run into is actually pretty cool in which you take on several different missions that range from running supplies to exploration. Although these missions seem as though they are fun and optional, you need to complete these various missions in order to make more money and upgrade your truck before you race. You can almost compare this to SSX Tricky in which you take a boarder and run them through the Showoff Competition before you take them to the Race in order to build the attributes! Even though this is something of a disappointment in which you're forced to play one mode in order to complete the other, you'll still find that the missions are fun and they do round out the game play.

Control is another factor that you're going to have to get used to with the huge XBox controller. Although the analog stick does a pretty good job in completing what it is that you're looking to complete, you may find that it doesn't always handle the way that you want it to. Lining up for jumps and actually controlling your landing when you come out of those jumps is something that you will have to practice a few times to get the hang off. Like most racing games, you have your assortment of braking tools (foot brake, hand brake) and the accelerating through the tracks is done with simple button presses that you can edit at your choosing.

Bottom Line:

Although 4x4 Evolution 2 is a port over from the PlayStation 2, it does have a couple of good points that make it a game for XBox owners to rent. The visuals, while not all that changing to seem to have a clearer and cleaner feel to them, even though they really don't shine. The control is where it should be with a racing game in which everything that you need is easily accessible on the front of the pad, and beginners as well as veterans alike can play without having to read a forty page manual. The game play is where this game is a coin toss, because in order to do any racing, you have to complete the missions and earn money, which only forces game play.

For those of you with an XBox, this game isn't a bad one at all, but it isn't that great either. If you've managed to miss this on the PlayStation 2, then you're in for a treat that could go north or south depending on your patience. For those of you who have already played the PlayStation 2 version, you're really not looking at anything new and you may want to save your money for one of the future racing games, and even NASCAR Thunder or Heat. Either way, if you're a racing fan, it's an average game that could have had endless possibilities, but ends up trundling along at second place over the finish line!

-Drew Guirey