Every bit the gem it's supposed to be
Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild is supposed to be one of the best arcadey extreme racers on the PS2. A bit of a hidden gem that doesn't come up as much as your SSX games or whatever, but just super fun and super well-made. And you know what? It actually totally is. While the controls are a bit non-standard, and the tutorials don't do a great job of a)engaging you and b)explaining core mechanics, once you get past that initial learning curve and just start playing, it's pretty much all golden. The game is REALLY stylized though; this is some weird, early 2000's CG character proportions to look at (honestly, it reminds me of the Action Man cartoon, but more... well, extreme). It's not that big of a deal though, because the stars of the game are the tracks themselves, which not only look fantastic but change every lap with big, flashy, animated moments. It's really cool to see dinosaurs in your first lap, and then the robots break down over the course of the next 2 laps and walls bust open and stuff, y'know? And finally, I just want to say that the progression is fine. Totally fair to play through the single player and unlock things. No difficulty spikes, or unfairness from the AI - just learn the tracks and race well and you'll beat the heck out of your opponents.
So yeah, Splashdown 2 here is the real-deal. If you're looking for a great arcadey extreme racing gem for the PS2, and don't have this, pick it up. Just get through the pretty terrible tutorial as fast as possible and get to racing; you'll learn things faster and have more fun and that's the point.
Reviewed by: Vince from Pennsylvania on 6/10/2020