Smuggler's Run 2
by Take 2 Interactive
Games in which you play a contraband smuggler are few and far between. Come to think of it so are games set in Russia and Vietnam. Smuggler's Run 2 gives takes all these ingredients and creates a fast and furious game that never gives you chance to draw breath.
The game with comes with a series of smuggling missions that take place in Russia and Vietnam along with some other gameplay variations. There are eight vehicles to be had in all but you begin the game with just the Super Buggy. Completing missions will unlock the further vehicles such as the Special Du Monde and the Kavostov. Each vehicle has four attributes (speed, acceleration, handling and weight) which are rated from one to ten. The missions are simplistic in fashion, nearly always time limited, and always revolve around you picking up your cargo and delivering it whilst evading the local law enforcement whether that be the police or the army. Some missions require you to perform alone whilst others place you in a team. One comment that I would make is that your team's drivers are somewhat poorer than the opposition which is a little unfair.
When you first play the game you would be forgiven in thinking that it is all too simplistic. Indeed it is simplistic. You look for the yellow jets of smoke that signify your contraband, pick it up and then head for the red jets of smoke that signify the drop off point. This may be simplistic but it's the harshness of the terrain and the speed of the police and other enemies that create the difficulty in the game. A visual indicator points the direction you must travel but it only points the direction as the crow flies and does not take the hazardous terrain into account. If you have played 1NSANE on the PC you'll know exactly what I mean. The obvious route will usually have your vehicle spinning over, so take care.
There are several types of games that you can play other than just the missions. The types of game are Checkpoint races - in which you race against seven opponents through a series of checkpoint, Turf War and the free ride Joyridin'. Turf War is split into three different games which are Crook 'n' Smugglers - in which you compete with rivals to collect the contraband and deliver it, Loot Grab - a team based affair that sees you and your team-mates trying to out do the opposition by collecting more contraband and finally Bomb Tag - sort of like loot grab but one of the enemies begins with a time bomb and the bomb passes to whoever he hits, if you're left with the bomb when the time runs out all your score is wiped out. All of these Turf War games are good but I would recommend you play through the missions first as they serve as a tutorial for these hectic variations.
Graphically the game has been well done. The cars are all at least what you'd expect on the PS2 but it is the superb modelling of the terrain that you will really notice. The game has a pleasing draw distance and pop-up is virtually non-existent. The physics of the cars has been handled well. The bumps and jumps all appear realistic with the superb sensation of speed adding further to the illusion.
All the information is given textually, although the information is minimal (it doesn't really need to be anything else). Visual clues such as the direction indicator and the jets of smoke to signify the pick up and drop off points also add to the clarity as well. There is nothing here that the deaf gamer need be cautious about.
Smuggler's Run 2 is a fast and furious driving game. The objective of the game may be simple, but the fun to had in playing the game cannot be questioned. Not unlike Unreal Tournament on the PC it provides gameplay that is quick and easily accessible. What the game lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in action and the progressive difficulty of the missions mean that you won't be finishing this game in a weekend.
Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10 Unrelenting adrenaline pumping action.
Quality of text: 7/10 Although basic it provides all there is to know.
Graphics: 8/10 Great attention to detail on the terrain.
Visual Presentation: 8/10 Visually the game has been well set out.
Interface: 9/10 Everything is kept nice and simple. Takes minutes and not hours to learn.
Gameplay: 9/10 Fast, furious and very addictive is perhaps the best way to describe it.