I didn't expect to like Burnout 2 as much as I do. I'd played the first one quite a bit and thought it was a decent racing game, if a little frustrating with its collision detection, and when the second one came along I bought it more by default than anything, just another new game to try out. It turned out to be my favourite racing game of all time.
The last racing game I'd gotten thoroughly addicted to before Burnout 2 was Gran Turismo 2, three years earlier. I haven't since played a racer to completion, and even Burnout 2's own descendants have only diluted the formula.
What Burnout 2 did perfectly was pitch the skillful racing against the thrill of the crashes - something that's been completely lost in the traffic-barging focus of the fourth entry, and a hugely addictive crash mode that - while a little glitchy - was infinitely more fun than Burnout 3's join-the-dots effort. It may not have the visual panache of the latter two but it still looks mighty fine, handles beautifully, and provides a decent, escalating challenge to the player.