After playing All Star Racing and giving it a not so great review, I decided to give it’s sequel a play through and see whether they had managed to polish dirt or just slap new makeup on the same, grimy old hag. Still proudly brought to us by Mud Duck and ZeniMax Media, All Star Racing 2 now seems to right most of the wrongs that it’s predecessor committed. Although still not a diamond among coal, All Star Racing 2 can easily be mistaken for a thoroughly enjoyable racing game on the Playstation.
All Star Racing 2 still offers four different styles of racing, but this time you’re not limited to just cars. Now you can choose from either Formula One (or GP to skirt lawsuits), Karts, Motorcycles or Semi-trucks. One thing I praised the original for doing was offering quite good looking car models, and I wasn’t disappointed here either, although the same can’t be said for the models of the riders for bikes and karts. Not only does this refreshing roster of choices add a very much needed shot of interest to the game, each class seems to have it’s own unique handling as well. While handing still isn’t the greatest, it is better than the original.
As well as unique handling, each class offers five different tracks per class. All of which look quite good and offer some challenge, as well as upon loading there is a best time, which both helps fill out the loading screen and gives you something else to achieve in this game. Each class now offers six color choices, which also adds a small, yet very welcome change from the previous game. Even with six total choices you are still limited to six total cars on track, as well as you’ll still often be competing against your twin for some reason.
I did say the sequel righted most of the wrongs, but not all of them. This time around collision is still a mess; bump, pause and nothing else really happens, but I must say it is slightly improved. Difficulty seems to be toned down and is challenging on medium, and not a complete blowout, yet it still seems to vary from track to track and class to class. Winning is still useless too. Again you’re presented with a lackluster screen dimming, results appearing and the end, nobody cares. At least you get to put in your name for some credit, which is something.
While the handling for the GP class is tight, yet rife with under steer, the karts are a bit tighter, and the semi-truck class seems to do quite well with the original level of under steer that the first game offered, although that’s to be expected from such a heavy machine. I must admit that I am quite impressed with the Bike class handling, in a funny way. I’ve never been good at bikes games as there is a learning curve on the whole rider physics. Before you can actually turn the bike, the rider must lean into the turn, causing me to instinctively hold the turn button too long, often causing me to over correct when I need to straighten up. The same lack of control feel is present here too, but I believe that isn’t to say biking racing games are bad, but this is a fact to point out that All Star Racing 2 actually may have gotten this one absolutely right!
I feel it bares repeating to say that All Star Racing 2 can easily be mistaken for a thoroughly enjoyable racing game. I prepared myself for another complete mess, but I was pleasantly proven wrong. I’ll even go so far as to admit that while taking screenshots for the article I found myself getting upset that I wasn’t doing better. This sequel is what the first should have been, it’s competent and actually can be fun!