Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All
Street Outlaws 2 Takes To The Strip In A "Winner Takes All"
In recent years, video games based on existing forms of media are commonplace. Whether it's games based on movies including The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem or a TV series. While the latter isn't as common as the former, it becomes amusing when based on reality television. For Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All, the second in the Street Outlaws series, this rings true by design. After all, it's not at all difficult to make a drag racing game, is it?
At its core, the Street Outlaws series is based on American drag racing, its culture, and its races. The subtitle, "Winner Takes All," isn't just for show. It's a way of life for the racers in Street Outlaws. In the small number of races I've seen, I've learned that anything can become a wager. A family heirloom here, a favorite jacket there. Your family heirloom and life savings? "Put up or shut up," as the saying goes.
Fortunately, in Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All, the only thing the player has to wager upfront is money. This may seem less exciting than offering your house as a bet, but, even video games have limitations. Actually, I was more surprised by the lack of offering your ride as a wager. I was even more surprised at how fun the game was.
Burn Some Rubber In Street Outlaws 2 (Carefully)
Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All does a fairly good job of easing the player to the drag strip. Aside from a tutorial accessible via the main menu, the player is introduced to mechanics early on. Certain nuances to drag racing, including warming tires and 'bumping' your car, are explained thoroughly. The controls to commit said actions are also easy to follow. Street Outlaws 2 doesn't hold your hand forever as the player is expected to lose their first race. There's little to no penalty in failing as the player can retry as much as they wish.
Warming tires, for example, requires a combination of holding the brake and the accel. Once the rear tires reach a certain temperature, the player eases off the brakes. The car then goes a set distance to transfer heat to the front tires, before returning to the starting line. Each car then slowly pulls itself to the starting grid. Players can 'bump' their car up to three times to inch themselves closer to the line. Going over will cause a penalty, so it's best not to overdo it.
Finally, holding the brake and accel at the same time, the player waits for the countdown. As soon as the lights turn yellow, the player releases the brake and floors it. If done correctly, the player will attain a perfect launch. All the player has to do is hit the shifts perfectly to secure a victory. While the gameplay is simple, the proper way to 'burn rubber' and 'bump cars' will come naturally. After my third race, it was easy to understand and win races.
Everything Comes At A Price
Players will notice that their starting car will not have any upgrades to purchase. This is because shops like performance and cosmetics will open as the player wins more races. The higher the player's rep in the region, the more opportunities will arise, some from teammates and allies. Unfortunately, this means players will have loads of cash and not much else to do with it. This is where the betting system comes into play.
Players can specifically "call out" opponents to a race, upping the ante with racing goals. Some goals require the player to lead with a perfect launch. Others require nothing but perfect shifts while some simply require to win the race. Rival racers may accept your bets and others won't. Regardless, winning wagers means more cash to spend on your ride as shops open up.
There Are No Licenses In Street Outlaws 2
One "gripe" about Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All is the lack of licensed cars, which is amusing to me. For a show that's about racing cars on the Discovery Channel nonetheless, there are no "Chevys" or "Fords." All likeliness to actual cars are kept, except a Chevrolet El Camino is now an "Elmo." Likewise, the Chevy Impala, another classic, is now simply the "Impy." While car enthusiasts will identify these cars based on real-life counterparts, it's unintentionally humorous. I suppose they couldn't afford the license, which I doubt, or they didn't want their cars in illegal street racing.
After a few races, the player can get a sneak peek at driving "souped-up" rides in the Quick Play mode. Players can choose pre-designed cars, a course, and a racer to go up against. After each race, the game instantly goes back to the menu select screen abruptly. Not even so much as a "You Win!" screen. The car select screen is also nothing but text, leaving uncertainty as to what the player is driving until they actually reach the track.
A Surprising Afternoon Of Fun On The Track
Ultimately, Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All will probably not win any Video Game Awards anytime soon. What surprised me was how solid of a package the game was for fans of the show and racing games. The team behind the game, Turn6 Game Studios, has also worked on other racing titles. Most infamously, they've worked on Super Street: The Game. It was a "Need for Speed: Underground" inspired game that had a better port on the Switch than on consoles originally. Years ahead from Super Street: Racer, it seems that drag racing has become their niche instead.
Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S.