Tokyo extreme Drift 2 May 9, 2007 - Last year, Crave and Genki brought Tokyo Xtreme Racer DRIFT to our shores to capitalize on the sport's ever-growing popularity. Featuring a number of mountain courses and stock models from various manufacturers, DRIFT was supposed to deliver the true physics-defying experience behind the wheel. Unfortunately, last year's game ran out of gas due to its control, challenges and division between night and day races. Obviously, this game needed more time in the garage before it hit the streets. So now that its sequel, Tokyo Xtreme Racer DRIFT 2 has rolled onto shelves, has it received the overhaul and aftermarket parts it needed to smoke the competition? Sorry drift fans, but this is the same beat up tuner with a new paint job and flatter tires. The storyline behind DRIFT 2 isn't a continuation of its predecessor; instead, it presents a brand new scenario for racers to tear through after the disappearance of the best street racer in Japan known as the Emotional King. With King missing, two other racers took over his top position and traded back and forth between being the best in Japan. While the racing circuit got accustomed to this turn of events, they were blindsided by a new racing crew calling themselves the Thirteen Devils, who started to invade tracks and territory. Of course, as a newcomer to the circuit, you'll wind up facing off against this crew of infamous racers and fellow novice drivers as you attempt to dominate the scene. Good luck making that turn... you'll need it. Taking place across five separate racing stages and 11 Japanese locations, the primary focus of the game revolves around various day and nighttime events. Day events are designed around gaining sponsors and money in time trials or drifting challenges which goes to upgrading your vehicle or purchasing new machines. You'll also acquire Category Experience points, which you'll need to move up in the standings and get into more complex races. Experience points are also important when it comes to the nighttime events, which is where you'll challenge other racers for money or prizes. That might sound like an interesting division of play until you actually get behind the wheel and try to control any of the vehicles within the game. Regardless of what machine you choose or how upgraded it is, the car never ever imparts a sense of speed or control to help you accurately perform drifts, which are a key part of the game. You can apply a load of pressure to the gas and yet the car will slowly crawl down the track. Similarly, whenever you try to drift, either the car sticks to the road, barely sliding a foot when you pump your brakes or pull your E-Brake or it performs as if it's hydroplaning through an oil slick without any possible control available. This is unforgivable, especially when you're trying to corner around a series of hairpin turns and you wind up pinballing back and forth between guard rails regardless of how you've been driving or how fast you're going. In fact, many times, you'll find yourself simply abandoning the pursuit of drifting to simply make it across the finish line in the time allotted to your race. But doesn't this completely run counter to the purpose of the game, which is to drift? Don't you need to drift through the various races to progress? Sorry pal, but you're not really competition here. Nope. In fact, players can avoid drifting entirely by entering and re-entering the other racing modes, continually placing first in those events. For some reason, players can constantly replay the same race that they've already won, acquiring experience and money to move up in the standings and outfit their cars. Not only does this make legitimate progress through the game a joke, but it technically also gives you a large advantage over the night time rivals you face off against. I say technically because there really isn't any skill involved in beating these rivals. If you can get past your opponent, either by ramming them into a wall or slipping around them, they'll never perform a sufficient challenge to overtake you. Wherever the challenge was supposed to be in this game, it seems to have evaporated. Then again, considering that the instruction manual tells you that the difficulty of the game can be automatically adjusted so any opponent you face is easily beaten, challenge doesn't seem to be high up on the list of priorities for the title. The manual is particularly noteworthy only for how error filled the documentation is. When you have multiple sections with phrases that literally says (NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS), you know that there's probably something seriously wrong with the game. If the makers aren't sure what something means, why the hell should players know what's going on? Closing Comments Tokyo Xtreme Racer DRIFT 2 doesn't appear to have learned anything from its predecessor at all; in fact, it appears to have picked up a number of new and even worse problems. The inability to drift still sucks, but now, there's no reason to attempt to legitimately progress through the game since you can avoid these races entirely, and rivals aren't challenging either. If you're looking for a true drifting experience, go elsewhere, because this definitely isn't it.