Juiced Preview

Juiced has had quite a wild development cycle lately. Development was first started back in 2003 and we still haven’t seen a near-final product yet. This could be due to the fact that the developer, Juice Games, has had some difficulty finding the right funding for the project. Not to mention that their previous publisher, Acclaim, went bankrupt forcing this title to go without a real publisher. It wasn’t long after that THQ bought the rights to Juiced in order to keep this project going. Now, you don’t invest in a title like this unless you see some potential in it, and apparently THQ has noticed something unique about this title. Well, we can gladly tell you that Juiced does have a lot of potential to compete with the bigger racing games, but it may not have the upper edge it needs to knock the Need For Speed Underground series from its reigning throne.

We’ve recently had the chance to get some time in with the latest demo for Juiced, and we must say that this title is looking much better than it did when we saw it last year. The demo that we played allowed us to enter in two races and gave us an opportunity to check out some of the mods that can be placed on the car. The game takes place in Angel city where you’ll find plenty of street racers ready to go. The story seems to advance through simple cinematic scenes which simply show your opponents talking to you and setting up the next race. At this point the scenes look pretty good and seem to appear every time before the next race. It’s at this point that you’re given the information of who you’re racing against, what car they have, and how high the bet will be. The other racer will lay down a certain money bet. At which point you can then either accept the bet or lower it if you feel that it’s just too risky. Once you’re done placing bets, it’s off to the start of the race.

One of the races that we did saw us going up against three other cars. The odd thing here was that the three other cars started out right next to each other while we were sitting behind the pack. It doesn’t make sense that we wouldn’t start out in the same position as them, but we’ll just have to see how this unfolds in the final version. The racing itself is far from what you might expect from a typical illegal street racing game. Juiced feels more like a simulation than an arcade-style racer like the Need For Speed series. It still has some features that make it feel more like an arcade game, but the cars handling is more stiff than your typical racing game. It’s also much easier to wipeout making it feel more realistic.

Upon winning a race, you will not only win the money that you put up, but you’ll also receive a certain amount of respect. Your respect points will ultimately add up over time which will open up new opportunities for you. A certain level of respect will have a barring on whether or not you can just simply attend races, race, race for pink slips, or even host a race. The respect aspect of the game is what seems to really be driving Juiced and making it a little different from your typical racing game. Of course, losing a race will also make you lose money and the much needed respect.

While the full version game will include over 50 cars and over 100 real world mods, our demo version only let us try out one car with a limited number of mods. Much like any street racing game, Juiced allows you to modify the breaks, engines, nitrous, body kits, wheels, and a whole lot more. The mod system works much like the Need For Speed Underground series where there are different levels for each mod. Usually this is level 1, 2, and 3, and of course installing the higher level simply means you’ll receive better performance. It’s a simple system that always works and makes sure that anyone can upgrade their car even if they’re not a car buff.

Juiced also includes a damage system which is looking good at this point. The damage is displayed accurately and realistically when hitting objects. After the race, you must then repair your car before heading out onto another race. It’s not too often that we see damage in this type of game, but Juiced is doing a fine job with it so far.

On the technology front, Juiced’s graphics are looking great. It’s not the best that we’ve seen, but it’s just enough to get the job done. Some of the textures on the cars and throughout the environment do seem a little too low-resolution, but the overall effect of the visuals looks nice. Another thing that makes the game look nice is the fact that not all of the races take place during the night. There are actually plenty of day races which looks great when the sun is beating down on these tricked out cars. The sound effects are a bit of a tossup at this point. While the cars do sound realistic enough, there’s this sharp piercing sound that constantly plays which gets annoying. It seems to be a part of the sound of the engine, but it just doesn’t sound right. Another annoying aspect of Juiced are the control customizations. When wanting to change the controls in the game, you’ll be taken to an external program which is rather confusing to use, and we really hope we don’t see it in the final version.

Right now Juiced looks like it will be able to compete with the big boys, but it’s small problems and annoyances might put it right into the ground. We’ll just have to see how it all turns out when it ships in May. At which point we’ll be sure to have a full review for you.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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