Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 is a digital take on the popular toy brand that takes the original game, molds it and spits out with several improvements.
Product Brand: Milestone S.r.l.
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: $49.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
Arcade racing games had been one of the staples of the gaming for decades. The genre was popularized thanks to the immense popularity of Mario Kart, which immediately caused other developers to build their own games to compete. The genre had taken a bit of a backseat after the last decade, when the racing genre itself had lost a bit of earlier glory. Now arcade racing is making an attempt to come back, and it is being revived by a digital remake of one of the most beloved toy car franchises in the world – yes, you guessed it! – Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels Unleashed was an attempt at testing the waters for the popularity of the genre, and needless to say it surpassed expectations – grossing almost two million copies across all platforms. Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Supercharged is all set to beat the records set by the first game and make its own mark in the newly revived arcade racing genre. Presenting, Gameffine’s Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged review.
The Return of the Wheels
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 comes with a fully fleshed-out “campaign” mode with a quirky story of its own. The original game also had a single-player mode called “City Rampage”, but it was more like a generic mode for unlocking tracks and helping the players get accustomed to more difficult tracks. The story features two imaginary characters from Team Hot Wheels (not to be confused with the Team Hot Wheels from the popular animated series, though there is a likelihood in their designs). While the story itself isn’t anything to talk about – the animations did feel really well done, bringing back fond memories of the original animated series.
The story mode drops players off onto a large map, where they are made to progress through tracks and challenges as they make it past the various boss stages that mark the end of a biome. Unlike the original game, the map in Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 is very linear by nature, offering fewer choices for alternatives – meaning that players would have to continue trying to clear a challenge until they throw their controllers into the screen or just shut down their consoles in rage. Completion of objectives and tracks awards currency, which can be used for the various “gambling sections” of the game or on customizations/upgrades. Completion of tracks is necessary to unlock them for playing in arcade mode later on against AI opponents or unlock them for offline split-screen multiplayer (multiplayer does not have this restriction).
Hot-seat multiplayer is back! This means that players can just hook up an additional controller and play a split-screen match with their friends or family. Split-screen multiplayer is what made many games of the last decade very memorable, and I’m happy to see it return. Of course, the game has the traditional online multiplayer as well, but I’m not very sure how many people are excited about that considering the amount of microtransactions involved and how it all comes down to how toned your car is (or simply, how good your car is, really). At least currency can still be ground out in single player modes, so that’s a positive (even though it may take you a lot of time to get good cars for facing other people online).
Digital Hot Wheels v2.0
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 keeps the core of the original game and adds to the formula with some innovations of its own. The game involves races between small toy cars from the Hot Wheels franchise – many of which would be immediately recognized by the players when they hit the game. There are a number of modes in which the player has to take control of one of these small cars and race through the circuit till the end. I was surprised by how simple the core formula is, yet how much it managed to draw attention thanks to the “Hot Wheels” name alone (Marketing is always a thing, isn’t it?).
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 makes reasonable tweaks to the Hot Wheels video game formula so that there is a reason to get into the sequel rather than continue playing the original game. Cars can now tackle enemy vehicles at high speed by slamming into them, and even jump to evade other cars or navigate certain parts of the track. The jump functionality has been built with much support from the developers. Many of the tracks have several sections that can be traversed easily with a jump, as compared to cruising or drifting through. Of course, cars can jump across obstacles rather than be forced to navigate through the corners or narrow angles to evade them.
There are sections of the tracks where cars need to jump, otherwise, they’ll go tumbling into a valley of doom and will be forced to hit the reset button. The addition of chasms and valleys in the tracks to traverse makes tracks much more interesting and challenging than the original game. There also are new traps and monsters or obstructions to evade – there is a swinging boulder that knocks cars off the track, and of course – the spider, which shoots webs to entrap unwary cars in their place. There are several tracks that have off-road sections as well as on-road sections, meaning that cars would have to go into the ground, through mud or gravel or cement and the like besides the actual tracks. Tracks also are longer and more challenging in general, forcing players to adapt on the go or send their controllers hurling into the screen.
There are sections of the tracks where cars need to jump, otherwise, they’ll go tumbling into a valley of doom and will be forced to hit the reset button. The addition of chasms and valleys in the tracks to traverse makes tracks much more interesting and challenging than the original game. There also are new traps and monsters or obstructions to evade – there is a swinging boulder that knocks cars off the track, and of course – the spider, which shoots webs to entrap unwary cars in their place. There are several tracks that have off-road sections as well as on-road sections, meaning that cars would have to go into the ground, through mud or gravel or cement and the like besides the actual tracks. Tracks also are longer and more challenging in general, forcing players to adapt on the go or send their controllers hurling into the screens
The game’s biggest change possibly is the addition of monster trucks and bikes to the roster of cars available. These expand the amount of Hot Wheels toy cars available to the players to set foot in. They don’t stand out on their own – just like ordinary Hot Wheels cars, some of them have bad stats and some average and some good. Each vehicle in Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 now has a generic classification term that helps users decide which stat is the most pronounced for that vehicle. Some vehicles can reach high speeds fast, while others can move at a very high speed. Some vehicles handle corners very well, while some vehicles can brake very hard. The player is spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding their play style.
One of the portions of the game that put my love for the game into question is probably the microtransactions. The game has doubled down on the microtransactions available, even providing a daily gambling wheel to force the player to keep coming back and spin it to have a chance at winning something good – like a rare vehicle, or some extra credits for spending on the store. There also is a store that refreshes daily and allows players to buy vehicles. Of course, it is possible to buy more currency with real-world money, making vehicle acquisition slightly pay-to-win unless players are willing to dump hours after hours in meaningless arcade races to grind out currency.
Next Gen Arcade Racing
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2’s music gives vibes of the ’90s arcade racing genre with a slight remix. Unlike the original game, the music is not as iconic as I would have liked it to be. There is little change in vehicle or other in-game ambient sounds, but I did not expect many changes in that area – so that’s that.
The game does improve on the graphics immensely. Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 looks even better on next-gen systems. The environment design for the game has vastly improved – especially for the various off-road sections of the track. Even the vehicle designs seem to have been improved, especially for the new monster trucks and bikes. The game’s performance on the PlayStation 5 is smooth, without any hiccups of any type. The only issue that I had was that the game goes through a lot of loading screens before we get to play it – improving the initial loading time for the game would definitely be a huge improvement.
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 “turbocharges” the arcade racing genre and adds to the core of the original game without changing the actual formula of an arcade racer. Players interested in arcade racers who can overlook the microtransaction aspect of the game can get the game at launch. Others can wait for a sale to decide for themselves how good the game really is.
FINAL RATING: 85/100
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged Review - Toy Cars RevampedHot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged Review - Toy Cars Revamped
- Good environment design
- Monster trucks and bikes!
- Jump functionality
- Challenging tracks
- Decent singleplayer story
- Extremely linear singleplayer campaign
- Microtransactions - a lot of it!