RalliSport Challenge 2
No matter how you feel about Microsoft, it can't be denied that they produce some outstanding games. After Rallisport Challenge initially helped to solidify the Xbox in the console wars and prove Microsoft's seriousness to be a major contender, RalliSport Challenge 2 once again shows why the Xbox isn't going to go the way of the Dreamcast.
To have a successful arcade racer, a number of staples must be included. Plenty of tracks, numerous cars, solid multiplayer capabilities, and great handling are all required to complete the experience. Not only does RalliSport Challenge 2 have these staples covered but with over 90 tracks spread across five different track styles (Rally, Crossover, RallyCross, Hill Climb, and Ice Racing), there's enough variation to keep things interesting. Even with that however, if the handling is awkward there is little point in playing. Have no fear as RalliSport Challenge 2 continues with the successful formula from it's initial release with responsive handling and controllable sliding that separates an arcade racer from a realistic racer.
One thing fairly common with second-generation games is a reused graphics core. Clearly RalliSport Challenge 2 received a decent facelift however with a high quality visual display. The attention to detail makes the difference with well-designed tracks, different weather patterns, and semi-realistic car damage (car can't be fully destroyed even when flying off a cliff. You will lose bumpers, tail fins, and tires however. The sound effects stand out as well with different cars having unique sounds, and to ability add custom soundtracks when the ones that came with it get old.
RalliSport Challenge 2 has also been upgraded to Live which has all the perks associated with it. Up to 16 people can play at one time but be warned that the tracks become congested quickly. Otherwise, you'll have a near limitless multiplayer experience.
For arcade racing, RalliSport Challenge 2 will be the racer of choice for some time. It's easy to pick up, great to look at, and has plenty of variation to keep it interesting.