04 Jul, 2005

Juiced Review

PS2 Review | It's just out, and yet it feels outdated already.
Juiced was originally set for release approximately eight months ago, however Acclaim went bankrupt and THQ picked up the game. Rather than just publish the title and move onto another title, THQ decided to encourage Juice Games to redevelop the title and tweak it so it was different to the current street racing titles. So, eight months later we’re seeing a completely different game, was the lengthy delay worth it or should THQ have just published the title and let it be?

Juiced was so far in development that certain gaming media already had copies of the title, official demos were released and PALGN even got an opportunity to play the title. When we picked up this game for the second time we were surprised how much the game had evolved. However, in eight months the game isn't the only thing that has evolved. Since then we've been treated to Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo 4, Need for Speed: Underground 2, Burnout 3 and Midnight Club III. See how much difference eight months can make?

So what has changed with the game title? Juiced Games have added an entirely new arcade mode, which is quite extensive and takes place over several tournaments. The game interface has been completely overhauled; including the in-game hub, and the audio has been reworked.

Juiced is a street racing syndicate title which borrows some of the elements from many of the popular racing titles of recent years. There are 7.5 trillion possible car modifications, which may sound like a lot, but there is a total of one hundred aftermarket cosmetic and performance mods. There are also over fifty licensed cars for players to add these aftermarket parts to.

Look at the beautiful scenery

Look at the beautiful scenery
The game begins with a small introduction and once that is out of the way, players borrow a car and have to win to progress. After winning they are given a small sum of money to purchase a car, with the eventual goal to own the best cars and be the most reputable racer on the scene. Juiced features a detailed reputation system. Players can earn reputation or lose reputation, according to the look of their car and how they have performed in each race.

The game also features online play, which has since become standard for tuning titles. Up to six players can race, and the game features World Leader boards. The online component of the game appears to have been worked on heavily, and while their weren't many people online for us, we anticipate the online component will soon become a favorite feature of the title. For those who prefer to play offline, the game supports two players, as well as LAN play. In fact, this is one of the few titles around that actually supports Playstation 2 LAN play, so Juiced Games should be commended for this at least.

There are also many different race types in Juiced but most of them have been done before, the showoff mode allows players to race around a track and accumulate points for their performances, crashing the car or losing control of the car will lose all the points, so the pressure is really on. Aside from this, there is also a race mode, solo mode and sprint mode. We would have appreciated a few more racing types in custom race mode, as some of the other racing games offer a lot more options.

The game also features a real-time damage system, and while it seems like a great feature it is not as well implemented as well as it could have been. Damage is penalized in the career mode, so for most of the time players will be trying to avoid damaging their car, rather than taking a risk - sometimes the damage cost isn't worth the risk.

Unfortunately the crowd isn't very enthralling

Unfortunately the crowd isn't very enthralling
Juiced Games have done a great job of making the game feel fast. The game is very generous with nitrous and when the player uses the nitrous the background becomes a complete blur. There is barely any slowdown and the game flows really well.

The game itself feels realistic, with the handling being convincing enough to please picky fans, while also being accessible for those who have just picked up the game. For some reason the game also features text cues in the middle of the screen, similar to that of a rally game, where players are alerted to slow down or brake. This is completely unnecessary and really takes away from the intended realism of the title.

The menus are all easy to navigate, but the car modifications can be a bit intimidating at first. When the game initially loads up there is about a twenty second loading screen to welcome gamers, which is a tad annoying. The loading throughout the entire game is a little excessive and ranges from about ten to fifteen seconds.

Juiced's sound is formulaic at best - it is a mix of typical urban street music that is nothing we haven't heard before. However, it does fit well into the game. The character banter is a little average, and each character doesn't have as many phrases as they could / should have had. Some of the characters also make comments that are just so off-cue or cringe worthy that they make you question why you’re playing the game. One of our favorites is "If I had a hat, I'd take it off." More character voice work would have been appreciated, as all the phrases quickly become repetitive.

Neons, part of the 7.5 trillion combinations possible

Neons, part of the 7.5 trillion combinations possible
The game itself takes a decent amount of time to complete. There are plenty of unlockable tracks and cars, but the frustration of very similar races will take its toll. Sticking with the game will unlock some incredibly fast vehicles, such as the Dodge Viper.

Juiced is still essentially an eight month old game - even though it has just been released, it is already behind. Most racing games these days have something unique that appeal to the gamer, but Juiced feels like it has just added a lot of decent racing features together into a street racing title. The excessive loading, average career mode and poor variety of races make this game feel extremely outdated. Juiced is really only for the big fans of the street racing genre.
The Score
Juiced was supposed to be released eight months ago, before we'd played all these brilliant racing games, now it just feels like it has come to the genre too late. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Juiced Content

Juiced grabbed by THQ
09 Oct, 2004 Release date now set for the summer of 2005.
Juiced Preview
30 May, 2004 Could Juiced beat Need for Speed: Underground at its own game?
Juiced grabbed by THQ
09 Oct, 2004 Release date now set for the summer of 2005.
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