This isn't half as bad as we thought it was going to be, save for one teeny, tiny point - the handling. Your classic case of Achilles' Heel syndrome, World Racing 2 features some dazzlingly quirky extras such as handy nitrous bursts for jumping over broken bridges, or fully damageable licensed cars, but when the handling goes and screws everything over, no amount of fancy padding can save this.
It's a shame really, especially for a game that sets out to put "the fun back into driving". It does so on so many levels too. Debris stays on the track no matter how many laps you complete, everyday traffic can often cause stonking pile-ups, you can ram through short-cuts, perform death-defying leaps of faith, and smash just about everything on screen to pieces. So why then do the cars have to literally ricochet around the course? It's almost like they left the steering out and made a rubbish version of Burnout by accident. There's so little grace or fire in the belly of the cars, you're practically skating about with bricks for wheels.
This is a great pity. The courses, from Egypt to Hawaii (and just about everywhere in between) are richly detailed and well designed, as are the 40 or so real-world car models, which are all up for a good crunching. The first-person perspective is one of the best we've seen in a racing game too, with true belly-flipping moments of terror when you squeeze between the oncoming traffic. The physics aren't half bad either, with rival cars spinning out and plummeting into buildings or off cliffs. But, what's the point when the driving's so awful? You can wrap a turd in the finest filo pastry, sprinkle it with fresh fruit, icing sugar, and melted Belgian chocolate, but you still wouldn't eat it.
With everything else done so well, it's a real shame such an important thing as handling should be so overlooked.