I had originally played Burnout way back in the day, and something about driving dangerously just appealed to me more than regular race games (which I was hardly ever interested in). Burnout took a spin on the Need for Speed type of racing by giving you boosts for driving dangerously: drifting, driving in the wrong lane, and driving too close to someone.
Burnout 2: Point of Impact picks up where the original left off. The same basic formula is there -- race up to three other cars through the streets, picking up boosts by driving dangerously. However, the sequel expands the overall gameplay with the addition of Crash mode. Anyone who has played the original knows that one of the greatest things about the game is the crashes that can generate hundreds of thousands of damage. Well, the developers have given us the dream mode -- take 30 scenarios and cause as much damage as you can (into the millions of $$!).
Crashing is great, and you'll constantly be challenging yourself and friends for the best crashes, but at heart, Burnout 2 is still a racing game. Boosts, called 'burnouts', are easier to acquire in this game making for some seriously high speed action (burning out 20 times in a row is INTENSE). You now gain boost meter for 'big air', which is basically going as fast as you can over hills and hope that you land somewhere safe (pro tip - crashes are awesome when you fly through the air).
The major setback of the sequel though has to do with some tweaks to the gameplay. Firstly, some "crashes" just don't happen. The engine glitches in that I'll hit someone full speed and just be brought to a halt, not crash. Secondly, the amount of damage for in-race crashes is no longer display, which was definitely a crowd pleaser in the original. Finally, causing the computer opponents to crash is next to impossible, which is frustrating and unfulfilling.
Overall, the game is better than the original AND later iterations because it remains true to the original formula, and the original formula is simple but awesome.