We weren't exactly full of praise for Empire's reduxed version of Mashed: Fully Loaded, and at first glance this sequel to last year's trucking title doesn't differ much from the original. Big Mutha is holed up in the clink awaiting trial, and her backwater offspring must raise enough cash to pay off each juror. Visit a trading post, buy some goods, get them to your destination in a given time limit, sell them at a profit, rinse and repeat. Much the same, but there are a few improvements.
A new intuitive map is a godsend, allowing you to actually reach your next destination in time. Just how much time depends on you too, as you can choose between being trucked gently, trucked, or literally trucked harder (titter). Greater difficulty gives you an increased multiplier bonus; make it to the next conurbation in time and the cash comes rolling in. The game does introduce a pleasing amount of depth with regards to the amount of items you can buy, dependent on the type of truck you have (obviously transporting milk and human organs requires a refrigerated truck), and a definite sim element as players must sell their items for the highest profit. Hit Y and you'll be able to instantly see which town will be the most profitable to shift your wares in, as opposed to before where you had to go back and speak to the relevant barman.
Along the way you can increase your potential bonus in all manner of crazy ways, and here's where the game again benefits from being more than a bit left of field. By avoiding the tractor beam of a passing UFO, shaking off hijacking biker gangs, picking up travelling hobos, and slotting your rig into the tight parking space at each trading post will all ramp up your potential bonus. The most productive and most fun way, however, is to build up your Crash bonus. Not quite on the scale of Burnout 3: Takedown, but still a fun way to pass the rapidly depleting time. Intuitive controls make it simple to move the rear of your truck with the R thumbstick while steering with your left to take out traffic and buildings.
That said, the handling still feels sluggish and unsure, although the trucks can sustain much more damage this time, and even when trashed will still make it to you destination, albeit in a more erratic fashion. Thankfully fuel is no longer a constraint so you're free to roam from one destination to another at will, although your nitrous needs to be replenished by taking out passing fuel trucks.
There's plenty of depth here, but at the end of the day, races become a repetitive flatbed of short, sweet dashes from A to B. And that's what stops BMT2 from being a really good game. We'd have liked to have seen maybe more trucks to choose from, or even greater mission variation. As it stands, it's fun for the initial few hours, but can't keep on trucking much longer after that.
A notable improvement on the first game, and more realistically priced. It'll keep you trucking for few hours or so.