March 3rd, 2007, 00:07 Posted By: wraggster
THQ showed off a bevy of titles at their Gamer's Day event last night, one of which was Juiced 2. Those unfamiliar with Juiced only really need to know that it was a underground street racing game where players could customize their cars and bet both the cars and their earned cash against computer AI in a career mode that had players climbing up the ranks of bad ass racers. Juiced 2 basically follows the same frame or existence. The game will begin with you creating a character, purchasing a car, and begin racing up through various levels of circuits. Along the way you can bet against other racers, for other racers, for themselves, and on AI races.
One of the biggest differences between Juiced 1 and 2 is that THQ has secured the Hot Imports Nights license, which will allow for a bigger and better style to the game that hints at much more professional racing than just underground for pink slips. The tracks we saw in this version of Juiced were both set-up to look like very professional races. Both of the tracks, one a full race, and the other a drift course, were in London and looked pretty damn nice. There will also be tracks racing through other fun cities around the globe such as San Francisco and Rome where players will drive right through the coliseum.
The level of customization for characters and cars alike is pretty extensive. While the player avatar probably won't matter quite as much to most racers, the options are still there for gender, looks, and clothing. The fact that the avatar will show up online when racing in multiplayer adds a bit more weight behind the creation. Either way, it's really the car customization that will grab most players and Juice Games is placing a lot of energy into making sure players have a ton of options for parts and decals. With around 90 cars to choose from and 600 body kits, it should be hard to complain. These tweaks also include items that aren't immediately apparent such as the interiors (seats, steering wheels, etc..). Painting and sticking decals on the car also looks to have a great level of customization. Decals can be slected and moved anywhere on the car and can be rotated, tilted, increased in size, and more. Along with a nice array of base colors and pearlescent tones, there should be a wide variety of cars for the multiplayer portion of the game.
Considering Juice Games has removed the need to repair cars in between races (there is still a damage model in the races), which put a serious damper on making any real money, you should have a good amount of cash to spend on improving cars both in their looks and their tuning. Eventually you will want to take these cars online and race against other players for game cash or pink slips. Betting was one of the cool things about the original Juiced that made races that much more important. Bringing that to multiplayer is a pretty good idea. One of the interesting things is that other players that aren't involved in the race will also be able to jump in and bet. So if you get a couple of well known drivers battling in a race, you could get a pretty good sum of folks wagering on the match. Odds will change as the race progresses so there's also a chance that you could make several bets on one race.
Juice Games is also making sure that those who do participate online in pink slip races won't ruin the fun by "accidentally" dumping out in the middle of a race that's going badly. Once a pink slip race has been initiated, the server will automatically remove the cars from the players inventory and save the game. That means any player who loses connection in the middle of a high stakes race like this will also lose their car. It's a real incentive not to cheat. It also means that anyone who really does accidentally disconnect will also lose their car. That is, of course, sad, but probably worth the risk when dealing with a bunch of online idiots that like to ruin games for the rest of us.
We would have loved to have a chance to play the game ourselves, but this was a first-look only opportunity. It's hard to comment on how well the game's controls perform without the hands-on time, but what we saw looked pretty smooth. Both the race and the drifting seemed to control pretty well for the developers playing the game. There were none of the usual spin-outs in the short demonstration at least though one AI did go careening into the wall after the demo driver followed for long enough to drive the spook meter up far enough that the AI driver freaked out and crashed.
Juiced 2 is due out for basically every system aside from the original Xbox and GameCube. The 360 version was shown at the event and looked very decent. We'll have to wait for another time to see each of the other versions, but both PC and PS3 should be identical to the 360 version and others will only suffer from a lower graphics level without losing too many of the features.
Look for more info on Juiced 2 as Juiced Games and THQ continue development.
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