When I first booted up Juiced I was intrigued; I didn’t care much for the ability to pick my in-game phone, but the many other customization options, the respect you need to gain from other racers, and the choosing of your crew’s name and logo got my attention. Add in the gambling aspect of the game, and I saw several ways in which Juiced might be able to compete with the many highly acclaimed racing games already out there.As with a lot racing games, you start the career mode with little of anything. You have a decent bankroll to start off with but it goes to waste at first, due to the small selection of cars and mods. By entering events marked on the calendar or hosting your own, more mods and eventually more cars become available. Winning events also rewards you some regular cash, but the real money can be made by betting with another driver. Before each race you can choose a single racer to bet with, and by out-racing just that person, even if you two take up the last two places, you will be rewarded with how ever much you bet.
I’m fully aware that this is a videogame and any problems you encounter have no significance outside the game, but if you care to really build your garage and save up some good money, be somewhat conservative when it comes to betting. If you find yourself with little money and a slow ride (you can bet and lose the car you put so many dollars into also) it is very difficult to work your way back up. And don’t think you can bet all your money and turn off the console if the race goes south. The first time I did such, right after the race was over, I found the gambled money gone anyway upon rebooting. The second time was in the middle of the race, and the next time I went to enter my career mode, it was gone.
Unfortunately, Juiced’s career mode has more taxing problems. The same things that at first garnered interest quickly became repetitive. The Event Calendar from the first month is not that different from the one months down the road. A couple more features are available, like the ability to race for the opponent’s car, and having a built up crew unlocks a couple more race options, but everything else is the same stuff that grew old hours ago.
The racing mechanics are all pretty average. Handling is good, assuming of course that the car being used is finely tuned, while the speed of the races is a little disappointing in light of all the other racers available today. With the lack of variables on the already-boring track, a better high-speed racing experience can easily be found elsewhere.
While it stands on its own compared to videogames on the whole, when measured up to the newest Need for Speed’s and Burnout’s, Juiced looks merely average. The cars are still sleek and shiny and the backgrounds are nice, but all the competition out there makes it seem like a racing game can look a lot better. Even the racing and high-speed effects, like blurring and such, are underwhelming.
Following the emerging trend, Juiced’s online and multiplayer options are pretty plain. The only thing it has going for it is its transfer of pink slip races (where the loser’s car goes to the victor) from the career mode to online racing. After that it’s the run of the mill game variants, tracks, cars, and options.
Music is what you’d expect. The soundtrack is decent, and often suppressed by the louder engine-revving and horn-honking noises that occur while a race is going on. Such sound effects do a pretty good job of immersing you into the race.
With so many other racing games out there that offer more than Juiced, and more to come in the following months that promise the same, you’d have to be a pretty hard-core racing fan to pick up this game. Across the board all its aspects are pretty average, so whether it’s the customization, the career mode, the visuals or audio presentation, or the actual racing that interests you, there is a racing game out there that will better fulfill you.
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