The Burnout-series is without a doubt one of the most popular arcade racers of the moment. Especially with the previous title, Burnout: Takedown, Criterion hit the nail on the head. Thanks to adding even more spectacular crashes and the integration of them in the gameplay a very explosive coktail was served! Of course we want more of that candy and we get plenty in the newest version, Burnout Revenge.
Although Revenge isn’t fundamentally different than its predecessor there are quite some new things worth mentioning. First to catches the eye are the more complexe and finished tracks. You got some more or less hidden short cuts and side alleys that aren’t always shorter but often lead to spectacular jumps. Also noteable is the fact that you’ll have to earn your boost differently than before. It’s less easy to drive in the wrong direction (because often there is no “wrong”) and also driving close to the traffic doesn’t work any longer.
Spectacular drifts do still fill up your meter (the controls are super tight) and even more cool is the new concept of “checking”. From now on you can drive traffic that goes the same direction as you from the road. Fat, good for your boost and on top of that you can take out an opponent with the cars you catapult away. Do watch out though: trucks and busses are a bit too heavy for this lifting and will make you crash, the same goes for traffic that comes towards you. So be extra careful if you want to get to the bottom of things. For the wannabe pilots amongst us; takedowns can now also be done vertically thanks to the many differences in heigth!
All this violence is put on the World Tour Mode, the singleplayer experience with about 170 events to be played. These got split up in 11 levels, each divided in several locations where you can unlock new assignments as you gather medals. Gold, silver or bronze means a good finish but now you’ll also get stars for violent driving, with a maximum of four, + 1 for a golden medal.
The more stars, the quicker your rank rises and the faster new events are cleared. The crash events are in my opinion still the least interesting (although they’re more fun) but the loading times have been reduced and it’s possible to try again quicker, something that bothered me enormously in Takedown. For the unknowing: in these crash assignments you get to see a traffic situation where you have to create as much chaos and damage as possible with one well-aimed jump, sprint or slalom.
The biggest difference here is in the fact that you can get multiple crashbeakers (and you can blow up your own car to create even more mayhem) and that the power-ups have disappeared. The different racetypes are normal racing, race against time, elimination which is like last man standing, Road Rage where you have to realise as many takedowns as possible within a certain timeframe and the forementioned Crash events.
The carpark still doesn’t contain any real existing cars, something I still feel as a miss. What would be nicer than driving traffic off the road in your own car? Lickily there’s a wide variety of vehicles, different colors and they all look flashy. The AI of the pilots isn’t realistic and although they’re not unbeatable it’s still frustrating that on a straight line they still pass you. In the end this never bothers though as Revenge remains an arcade racer to the bone. Also the offer of available tracks is a bit too limited, as the game progresses you’ll more and more get to see the same roads.
In a racing game the graphics are of immense importance. You don’t have to look for realism here but what you get in return is a feeling of speed that is present in very little games. The traffic goes by at an incredible pace and thanks to the many blur- and focus effects you literally get sucked into the game.
The sound is even better as on a certain moment I was truly surprised by the quality and detail: you literally hear objects flying next to you and the faster you go, the more you get to hear a tunnel effect. Perfect! Also the menus, cut-scenes an animations when getting specific takedowns or specials are more than great. Only too bad you can’t skip them all. The music is also quite enjoyable, with some heavy rock, punk and some more poppy numbers as well as the possibility to select your own soundtrack.
Of course there’s also a multiplayer option and especially online the makers have done their best to make things as exciting and fun as possible. Up to 6 players can replay the singleplayer modes online and htere’s also some sort of team option with Road Rage. You also get a seperate ranking online and need to unlock your cars again. Luckily this is done relatively fast and that way you get opponents of a quite similar level as yourself. Too bad the human opponents are often a lot less enjoyable than the virtual ones made by the Xbox processor. Overall the online part is very strong and will most definitely expand the lifespan of the game.
Burnout Revenge improved further the formula of Burnout: Takedown, without any major differences though. You could say there’s a lack of innovation but on the other hand the game does get damn close to the ultimate arcade racing game. The feeling is speed is unequalled, the crashes more spectacular than ever, the gameplay fat, aggressive and oh so fun, and the graphics and sound are of the best we have seen and will get on Xbox. If speed and action are what you want, this is for you!