Review – Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All
When I previously mentioned that I like the novelty of owning and playing licensed games, I forgot to mention that, at the very least, the game had to be based on a franchise that either fits as a videogame adaptation, such as movies or superheroes, or has to be based on something so out of place and absurd that I can’t help but imagine what the hell can be done with the license, such as Crayola Scoot or that Home Improvement game for the SNES. It cannot be based on something that is obviously boring to begin with. It cannot be, for instance, a game like Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All.
Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All is a licensed game based on a Discovery Channel reality show about drag racing. It is all about one car driving against each other on a quarter mile straight line. No turns, no brakes, no aerodynamic skills. Whereas NASCAR is all about going forward and occasionally turning left, drag racing requires only half of that effort. Somehow, that concept was considered fun enough to be full-fledged game, and to make matters worse, that original concept was successful enough to warrant a sequel. I would like to know how and why. I played it and the damn thing bored me beyond repair.
The core gameplay loop in Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All is comprised of a series of small interactive steps followed by ten to twelve seconds of actual drag racing. First of all, you’re supposed to burn out your tires, reducing their size and drag coefficient. According to the game, it helps out with your acceleration and top speed. Next, you have to hold down the R2 button until your car magically stops in front of the starting line. It’s impossible to make a mistake in here, as the car will automatically brake whenever it’s supposed to. You’re then given three extra chances to bump it a little bit forward, giving you a few extra inches of advantage.
Finally, the actual drag racing. Hold down both L2 (the brakes) and R2 (the acceleration button). Once the lights go green, get your finger off the brakes as quickly as possible, then shift gears when you’re told to. A few seconds later, you’ll be either declared the winner or loser. You might win some money and parts for your car, or lose some cash in case you had placed a bet before the race. With your new parts, upgrade your gas guzzler. Rinse and repeat for a few hours, during an excruciatingly long career mode. That’s Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All. It costs fifty bucks.
The fact that the game is beyond boring and as shallow as a puddle in the Atacama Desert isn’t its only glaring issue. It’s not exactly well-crafted and polished, either. It doesn’t use the Dualsense’s adaptive triggers in any way, shape or form. It barely looks better than a racing game from the PS3 and Xbox 360 era, with Forza Motorsport 4 still looking more impressive than it, even almost a decade and two console generations later. At the very least, it runs at 60 frames per second at all times. Which isn’t exactly a feat, these graphics ain’t pushing any hardware boundaries.
The sound department deserves a paragraph of its own. I will be honest, the soundtrack isn’t bad at all. It’s comprised of meathead hard rock, but it’s fun. It’s loud as hell, but it’s fun. The voice acting, on the other hand, is so disastrously atrocious it’s almost a thing of beauty. Whether the game was voiced by the actual cast of the show is unknown to me, but all I know is that whoever was hired to voice the myriads of lines of dialogue scattered throughout the entire game really didn’t want to be there. Everybody sounds unenthusiastic and bored to a hilarious degree. I would recommend getting the game for the voice acting alone if the pricetag wasn’t so egregious.
Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All is the wrong kind of licensed shovelware. It’s the one that, no matter how much effort had been put in its design and mechanics, nothing decent would have ever come out of it because its source of inspiration was already bland and insipid to begin with. It’s a stupidly expensive (and poorly made) game centered around ten second races. There are tons of other racing games, such as Forza Horizon or Need for Speed, that offer the entirety of what this game has in stock as just one of their side modes.
There are a few PS3 and Xbox 360 games that look as good, if not better, than Street Outlaws 2. At the very least, the game manages to run at 60fps at all times. I’ll be shocked if it didn’t.
It is a simplistic gameplay loop based around drag racing. The game does try to add extra steps to make the experience more engaging, but no less mundane. It doesn’t use the Dualsense’s adaptive triggers.
I’ll be honest: the soundtrack isn’t half-bad. Loud as hell, but not bad. The voice acting, however, is so bad it’s almost a piece of avantgarde art. And there is sooooooooo much of it throughout the entire game…
Fun Factor: 3.0
It’s way too mundane of a game for the suggested pricetag. Once you get a hold of the gameplay loop, it becomes as uninspired as it can be. There are tons of other racing games that offer the entirety of what this game has in stock as just one of their side modes.
Final Verdict: 4.0
Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and Switch.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All was provided by the publisher.