REVIEW : Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All (PS5)
I’ll admit that I’m a big lover of racing games, but I’ve never played one themed on drag racing. I knew I had to try Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All when Team6 Game Studios and GameMill Entertainment released it. However, after playing it, I was left feeling very underwhelmed. This game causes more harm than good to the name of drag racing due to its cheesy premise, lack of refinement, and rudimentary gameplay.
When I initially played the game, I must admit that I was intrigued by its innovative approach to race management. You begin by burning out your tyres to heat them, ensuring that you have the most traction possible to outrun your competitors. Holding the two trigger buttons together and slowly releasing the left one allows you to peel out. The goal is to reach a temperature that is neither too low nor too high to prevent slipping or sticking.
You’ll then drive up to the starting line while holding the right trigger, and once there, inch up as near the line as possible without driving over. After that, all you have to do is keep an eye on the amber lights and peel off as soon as the green light goes out. Races are only a few seconds long, but they keep you on your toes by including a shift up or down mechanism to be aware of, as well as a nitrous boost option. Winning versus an opponent is done in two ways: best of three or best of five.
While these are distinct and particular measures to complete to begin a race, they quickly become a chore by the third or fourth time you undertake them. Because the game is such a repetitive mess, you’ll not only have to repeat the same game mechanics, but you’ll also have to repeat the same races to progress through it.
Another reason for the game’s failure is that it focuses solely on its campaign. You’ll spend most of your time in trial races, in which you and your opponent sprint to the finish line on a straight road. You’ll also be able to participate in some other tasks scattered throughout the map, but they’re not only hard to come by, but they’re also quite generic and feel very different from the rest of the game.
You’ll compete in No Prep King events by completing various challenges across the United States. These events and other stops along the way are unlocked by raising your rep and your car’s ranking. You can improve your car’s ranking by upgrading its parts or equipping some of them with better stats. You can also modify each of these pieces to improve various aspects such as takeoff, acceleration, and top speed.
I believe that customizing the car’s parts is very straightforward, but it falls short once again, especially considering how much they promoted the mechanic portions of the game. With the money you win, you can buy parts, upgrades, and cars anywhere across the area, although it’s just about adequate. The developers did little to set them apart from regular trials when it came to the real No Prep King events. You only have to race one person at a time until you’ve defeated five people, including the top contender.
Sure, you can name specific competitors who could or might not race you, but what’s the point? I believe the developers leaned a little too heavily on the notion of the original Street Outlaws television show for this one.
Aside from paints and a couple of wraps, there’s not much else in the way of car customization. It’s just the simplest version of any cosmetic customizing system I’ve seen in years. The concept of forming a team was another one that seemed to fall flat. Adding each squad member you pick up on your travels isn’t that impressive. They can fix your car faster or give you a small discount in stores, which is fantastic.
Audio and Visuals
It’s amazing how this game manages to be both impressive and hilarious at the same time. The cars, as well as some of the tracks, are well-made. Characters and their animations, as well as the landscapes surrounding the actual roadways, are a farce. Everything is a murky mess and devoid of life.
Audio is one of those things that is “so horrible it’s good.” This game features some of the most cringe-inducing acting moments in gaming in the previous decade, thanks to the use of real people from the reality programme it’s based on. It’s not fundamentally horrible, but it does give the impression that the game is low-budget. The music has a generic hardcore southern rock vibe that isn’t as fulfilling as “Free Bird” or “Sweet Home Alabama” and is more akin to a local bar band.
What It Could Have Done Better
Some strange issues exist in Street Outlaws 2, such as cars becoming stuck in strange places or brakes failing to work when attempting to burn out. I had hoped that the game’s fundamental mechanics would function effectively after launch.
I also believe the developers focused too much on some areas of the game and not enough on others. Those side challenges helped break up the gaming cycle, but they were never committed to. Also, if you’re going to have me grind and replay the same races over and over, make more of them, so I don’t have to.
Another amusing part of this game is how it misrepresents the locations it uses. As someone familiar with the United States and its geography, I thought the lack of research these developers did in their work absurd. A Miami Beach location is used in both the Nashville, TN and Orlando, FL challenges. Now, I can accept the Orlando one because that could be how people perceive the state as a whole, but putting a major beach destination in landlocked Tennessee?