Having never played the Dreamcast version of 4X4 Evolution, I was surprised that the game tries to be more than a simple arcade off-road racer. There is a mind-blowing amount of tinkering going on here; which might intrigue the Gran Turismo set, but frighten off the Ridge Racer junkies. The game offers 70 of the top leading SUV's on the market, and if playing in the Career mode, you'll be given $30,000 to get your butt some wheels and buy some parts. The more you race and win, the more cash you'll earn to put towards upgrades. However, why waste time tooling around like a grease monkey, when your time could be better spent just buying a brand new vehicle with more horses under the hood?

"If you aren't going to experiment, you are going to lose."

The driving physics of the vehicles tend to be more geared toward arcade-style, which belittles the entire process of upgrading your SUV in the first place. At least that's what you'll think at first. However, later in the game, if you aren't going to experiment, quite simply, you are going to lose. Considering your opponents will hunt out shortcuts 99% of the time and drive faster vehicles, you'll be hard pressed to show up last, never mind first anyway, modifications or not. In short, the competition is fierce and unrelenting, however the control is easy enough to grasp that anyone could play it. This creates the games catch 22 situation. You'll be able to steer your SUV but have a tough time placing to earn decent money. The Dreamcast version offered an incentive to tinkering in that you could go online and race against others. The PS2 only offers 2 player-split screen and it isn't much to talk about.

Ultimately 4 x 4 Evolution is a mixed bag. It plays well, but rarely rewards. It doesn't look nearly as nice as Rainbow Studio's ATV Offroad Fury and the for the most part, environments are bland and uneventful, even with the odd appearance of other vehicles or other obstructions. There are a lot of vehicles to select from, and if you own a deathtrap, I mean, SUV, then you might get a kick out of playing this game for awhile and pretending that it's you in the game, steering your vehicle through the transparent mud. I wanted to like this game, but after more than a few hours, I realized I was just bored of the whole thing. Changing virtual air filters borders on criminal in my mind. I don't do that in real life, why should I waste my time with it here?

System: PS2
Dev: Terminal Reality
Pub: GODGames
Released: Feb 2001
Players: 1- 4
Review by Vaughn