Definitely not intended for casual players
There are over 30 different courses included in 4x4 Evo 2 and all of them are a pleasure to look at. They range from desert areas to steep mountains to snowy arctic wastelands. Each of the maps is quite large and beautifully drawn. There are animated details such as planes flying overhead, trains going by, falling columns and more. Rather than having a definite border, all of the maps wrap around so that if you drive in a straight line, you'll eventually come back to where you started.
There are a large number of different trucks and SUVs to choose from, as well as different settings for things like tires, steering and such.
For game modes, it offers the standard career mode, time trials, quick race and free roam where you're free to explore each map without worrying about following the course.
I'd like to state for the record that I have never driven a 4-wheel drive vehicle "off road", nor have I ever raced one, so I can't say how realistic this game is. The following is strictly my opinion of how the game plays.
I bought 4x4 Evo 2 because it looked like a fun, arcade racing game and it was cheap. Unfortunately, it's not arcade enough for me. Despite the various vehicles having different top speeds, acceleration and handling statistics, they all drive like tanks. You've heard the phase "turn on a dime"? Well, with these vehicles it's more like "turn on a football field". After just one race, you'll have cramps in your hand from trying to get them to go where you want. Of course the computer controlled racers have no such problems. I pick the fastest vehicle in the game and I still can't catch them. I pick the vehicle with the best acceleration and the computer still shoots ahead of me like I'm standing still. I pick the vehicle with the best handling and I struggle to make wide turns while the computer zips around hairpin curves like it was glued to the track. I pick a vehicle with the most power and I struggle to get up hills while the computer cars go zipping by me. Some of the vehicles have high top speeds listed, but the only time I could ever get them to go above 50MPH was on long straight-aways and steep downhill runs. For most of the track, I averaged about 30-40MPH.
I suppose it didn't help that the game comes with absolutely no manual, just a CD insert with the standard installation instructions, nor is there a manual on the disc. It would probably help to know what the difference between 2-wheel, 4-wheel low and 4-wheel high are, but I have no idea, since they don't seem to make any difference in how the game plays.
In career mode, you can supposedly buy all sorts of upgrades for your vehicle, although given how little difference there seems to be between the different classes and types of trucks, I don't know how much difference extra parts would really make. At least I couldn't tell the difference between the various trucks. All of them were slower than whatever the computer was driving and it was next to impossible to get them to turn when I wanted.
Since this is an off-road racing game, drivers are encouraged to leave the track any time they want. The only requirement for races is that you pass through the various checkpoints. To this end, you have an arrow that points the way to the next checkpoint. When following the course this works fairly well, but when you decide to take a shortcut, you will often arrive at the checkpoint with no idea of which way to go next. You won't know that until you pass through the checkpoint and the arrow points to the next one. If you go the wrong way, you then have to stop and turn around, a slow, frustrating process that will guarantee that any time you gained by taking the shortcut will be lost by the time you eventually get turned the right way.
Finally, it is entirely too easy to get hung up on the various obstacles. Hit a pole and rather than scraping along it, you get stuck and have to back up. There are also lots of places on each track that you can't escape from, forcing you to press "H" and be reset to the last checkpoint.
The Bottom Line
I suppose that for someone who loves off-road racing and who knows when to switch drive mode, what type of tires to select, what to set the steering at, etc, this would be a great game. For someone like me who just wants to pick a vehicle and race a few laps, it's really more involved than I'd like. After racing each of the tracks a couple times, I uninstalled it because I knew that I would get completely frustrated trying to drive the tracks and always losing to the computer controlled racers.