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Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 Review 1 (1)

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged Review

It’s been just over two years since Hot Wheels Unleashed was released, and with its three season passes chances are many players are still very much having fun with it. Needless to say, some may feel that a full-blown sequel isn’t entirely necessary at this point, and they’d be right. That hasn’t stopped Plaion and Milestone from charging ahead with Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged, however. And while it may not revolutionise the formula, it does have a number of meaningful improvements and whole host of new content.

For a start, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged launches with an absolutely massive roster of vehicles – 130 of them, in fact. There’s much more variety to them this time around, too. Alongside die-cast models of real-world race cars and original Hot Wheels classics you’ll also find Monster Trucks, ATVs and even bikes. All have characteristics that make them somewhat unique, and thanks to a new Skills system you can further tweak them to your preferences as well as upgrade them into new classes, improving their stats all-round. Not only is there a greater range of vehicles, then, but you also have more control over how they perform. And livery options also let you change how they look.

You generally acquire vehicles in this sequel by purchasing them from the in-game shop using credits, which are rewarded in pretty much every mode. Some can be won by completing events and challenges, though, and you’ll also acquire a wealth of Skill and Upgrade points as you play, as well as Spin Tokens that allow you to win prizes in a similar vein to recent Forza Horizon games. Ultimately, you’re always being rewarded in some way, making playing in any mode beneficial to your progression.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 Review 2 (1)

For those more interested in playing against the CPU, campaign mode is back and this time it’s a bit more enjoyable. There are cartoon story scenes very much aimed at children, but they’re fun at least. What really stands out is that there’s more variety to the events that are on offer, and the campaign simply feels better in terms of structure. Like before, you’ll make your way across a map, completing events to unlock yet more events. Each event has a harder Unleashed objective to complete, too, for those who really want to test their skills. At the end of each area you’ll engage in a boss fight, which boils down to you racing around a track while hitting targets to reduce a boss’ health. With elimination events, standard races, drift events, waypoint races and time attack events all added into the mix, you’re certainly kept on your toes.

Related: The Best Arcade Racing Games on PS5

All of these event types are available outside of the campaign in Quick Race, of course. They’re also available in multiplayer, too, whether you like to play online or locally via split screen. The waypoint races in particular are a nice addition, challenging players to master navigating open environments to hit a sequence of checkpoints. Sometimes you can be left scratching your head as to where to go thanks to the navigational arrow not being all that helpful when it comes to elevation, but once you have the hang of things it makes for a nice change from blasting around a track. Trying to chain drifts to get the highest score in driftmaster events is a heck of a lot of fun as well.

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In spite of all these new event types, new vehicle types and general improvements to modes such as campaign and the track builder, however, it’s the tweaks made to the core gameplay of Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged that really make it a winner. New obstacles on the track, such as swinging rocks, add a little bit more excitement and drama to races. There are new pads to drive over or avoid, too. Even more interesting are the new ways to spend your boost. You can now jump, for example, and sometimes you’ll be required to in order to avoid an obstacle or cross a gap in the track. Dashing left and right is also possible, useful for either knocking opponents or quickly dodging something ahead. All of these manoeuvres make it worth keeping a bit of boost, just in case you quickly need to get out of harm’s way.

All in all, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged isn’t all that different from its predecessor, but it is bigger and better in just about every way. A brand new range of environments and additional vehicle types help to keep things feeling relatively fresh. And new event types are also very much welcome. It’s the new moves at your disposal that really elevate the experience, though. Being able to jump has allowed Milestone to get even more creative when it comes to track design, and it also adds yet more depth – you have to think more about how to use your boost. This is a very worthy sequel, then. It’s just a shame you can’t carry over your vehicles from the first game.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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