Another great Burnout game
Ah. Burnout. Possibly the greatest arcade racing series ever. Well, the first two titles might not have been the greatest, but after EA stepped in, things changed. For the better. Burnout 3: Takedown was groundbreaking and deserved the critical acclaim it achieved. Dodging traffic at incredible speeds while taking out opponents was easily affiliated to Burnout 3. This time, everything is turned up a notch.
The first thing you’ll notice is the new slick menu interface with one of the game’s faster vehicles blazing trough traffic in the background. Create your profile and the game will see if you have a Burnout 3 or Madden 06 save file. If you have one of these you’ll get an extra car in Crash mode. Two if you have both save files. Now you can get started on the World Tour to get new cars, play one of the games multiplayer modes or dive into Xbox Live.
The first event you’ll play in World Tour is Traffic Attack in one of the game’s sunnier tracks, Sunshine Keys. Traffic Attack is the new mode in Burnout Revenge and introduces Traffic Checking. In Revenge, you can “check” traffic by ramming into them. You can only hit same-way traffic that’s smaller than trailers and big rigs, though. This is a good thing, because it would have been too easy if you could just blaze trough traffic. Also, it allows for much more traffic without it getting too difficult. Still, it would be nice if there were more big rigs and trailers to avoid. You can also do Traffic Check Takedowns by launching traffic into opponents. In Traffic attack, your car is armed with explosives and a countdown on the top of the screen shows when the bomb will go off. When the timer goes below 20 seconds, checking traffic increases your time left. Your goal in Traffic Attack is to score big by checking traffic while keeping your timer over 0.00. The fastest way to earning scores and gaining seconds on the clock is by doing trick and skill shots. For example, send a van flying onto an oncoming bus to get an Awesome Skill Shot.
Awesome is a word you’ll want to see often in Burnout Revenge. It’s the best you can get in the new rating system. Your driving is rated while you drive, ranging from OK to Awesome. Doing Takedowns and skillful stunts like Awesome Drift quickly heightens your rating. Get a Gold Medal and an Awesome rating to Perfect an event. This’ll earn you 5 stars that add up to your rank. There are 10 ranks in the game. You’ll start with Harmless and finally reach the last rank, Elite. Reaching Elite Rank also unlocks a car based on a certain upcoming shooting game from Criterion, makers of the Burnout series. Ranks are reached by earning enough stars. Stars are obtained by getting medals and ratings in events. As before mentioned, getting Awesome rating and a Gold Medal gives you five stars, while getting a less great result gives less stars. Reaching Elite Rank is way too easy, as you don’t even need to Perfect most of the events. It feels too short when you rank up almost every time, often without even starting many of the events in your previous ranks. Each rank unlocks its own series of events spread around some of the tracks in Revenge.
The tracks of Burnout have been heavily improved from Burnout 3, with lots of jumps and shortcuts to vary the experience. With all these jumps, Revenge also introduces the new Vertical Takedowns. Simply do a jump and mysteriously manage to land on an opponent to do one of these. You’ll need to do a Vertical Takedown in each location as it is one of the 8 Challenges found in every Challenge Sheet for the game’s 8 locations. Clever mathematicians can easily calculate that there are a total of 64 challenges, although not very (or at all) different from location to location. Other challenges include blowing up 25 vehicles in a Crash event at Sunshine Keys (the hardest in my opinion) and taking down a special car in a race event. This is usually a car that stands out from your other opponents, probably a Special car like the Logitech Racer (an F1 with Logitech Decals). Another challenge is to do a certain amount of Revenge Takedowns. Revenge Takedowns are achieved by taking out an opponent that has taken you out. Complete the Challenge Sheet for a location to unlock a Special car.
Let’s talk Crash. It’s awesome. This time around, it’s even better. Unfortunately, the quantity is heavily decreased from Burnout 3’s 100 Crash events to fewer, but much bigger events. Still, the quality doesn’t seem good enough to make up for the loss of quantity. The Crash mode has seen great changes this time. The first you’ll notice is the Golf-style meter that determines your car’s acceleration. Remember the tricky spin/release gas/throttle combinations you had to perform to start with a boost in Burnout 3? Now you just need to hit the green spots to get a Perfect start and a full boost. Most crash locations have big jumps. Jumping in Crash mode feels breathtaking and the weight and wind on your car affects the way you control in-air. Hit traffic and let her rip! Watch as traffic pile up and use your Aftertouch cleverly to position your car where you want it. As traffic gets damaged and more cars are mixed in the pile-up(s), your Boost meter grows. When it reaches 100% you need to button-mash B to set off the Crashbreaker. The button-mashing seems a little stupid though, especially as the cars with greater Crashbreakers are impossible to use fully as your thumb is not fast enough. You can also use the Crashbreaker several times, as long as the meter grows to 100%. On the upper-left corner on the screen there’s a counter that shows how many cars have been involved in the pile-up, and how many vehicles there are in total. There’s of course a great challenge if you want to get all vehicles to join the pile-up(s), which is not easy. The Crash cars you drive yourself are not particularly impressive compared to the ones in Burnout 3. I really miss the Fire Truck… And even here the cars come in updated versions, which has always been the worst aspect of the Burnout series.
Oh yes. The cars! Criterion got there own car designers, and boy did they do well! The cars are incredibly stylish. There’s a total of 78 cars (80 if you have the two save files) in Revenge. The “normal” cars are the cooler ones. The two cars you start with have a boost speed of 160 mph and have similar designs as the Sport and Super classes in Burnout 3. So no silly compact cars this time! You’ll unlock cars fast, as Revenge suffers from being too easy for anyone familiar with the Burnout series. Burnout Revenge also updates there vehicles, apparently not caring that it’s the weaker aspects of the series… You could say they’re in 3 classes; ST, DX and GT. But they’re not ordered like in Burnout 3. They’re ordered after how good they are or how exclusive they are. Finding your favorite car simply means horizontally scrolling through the many vehicles. There are really just 16 cars that have a really unique design when not counting Crash or Special cars… For example, a Factory M-Type DX is an updated version of the Factory M-Type ST, while the Factory Type GT is an updated version of the Factory M-Type DX. So there are 46 cars that are won by completing events in World Tour, plus the two you start with, the 12 Special cars you’ll get by achieving certain goals and 18 Crash vehicles. Then there’s two extra that are unlocked by having certain save files… Strangely, I got 100% before I should have, simply because I have an extra car from my Burnout 3 save file. I still miss 2 Signature Takedowns to get the last Special car and a rightful 100%…
Signature Takedowns are back, with a total of 24 (3 in each location).
You’ve also got the modes from Burnout 3, like Road Rage, Race, Eliminator, Preview and Burning Lap. Some of these have changed. In the Eliminator mode the last placed driver is eliminated per 30-seconds, not per lap. And the timer in Road Rage has changed too. It’s much shorter, often starting at 30-50 seconds, but time is extended by doing 2 or 3 takedowns before time runs out. Another cool change is the Crashbreaker events. Race, Road Rage and Eliminator includes Crashbreakers in the later ranks! Just like in Burnout 3’s Crash mode, press B to set off the Crashbreaker. This is only available if you’ve crashed or have been taken out. Take an opponent with you in the explosion to get an Explosive Payback. Of course, taking more opponents with you means bigger score and bigger chance to win. The best is Total Payback, where you blow up all 5 opponents (Race or Eliminator). Hit no one at all, and you’ll waste your boost.
This is also an excellent Live and multiplayer game.
The racing itself is great. Everything blurs and the screen tends to shake. Especially when jumping in Crash, as everything shakes and feels like the big jump it is.
Now… Music! The featured soundtrack includes 41 songs from artists like The Doors, Animal Alpha, Yellowcard, The Chemical Brothers and LCD Soundsystem. My favorite song is The Big Jump by The Chemical Brothers. That beat is so awesome… The soundtrack is improved from Burnout 3, but still has a bit too much punk rock over it. It’s more hard-core rock (Animal Alpha is an example) and Techno (The Bravery is an example), thankfully. But of course, Xbox owners like me can easily switch to custom soundtracks and listen to their favorite music, in my case Rap. That’s my fizzle, drizzle…
The sound effects are also amazing, especially in Crash. You can almost feel the explosions and the metal crushing!
All in all, Burnout Revenge actually isn’t the best in the series. All of these new features and improvements mean nothing when the difficulty is so incredibly easy. The 169 events are simply unchallenging, even the timed races that were so hard in Burnout 3. There’s also room for improvements. There are plenty of obvious glitches that haven’t been sorted out, like the Crash Cam appearing when you haven’t crashed yet and so on. They still need to vary the car designs more and turn up the difficulty. And there’s no Single Race! And what happened to Crash FM? I didn’t like it in Burnout 3, but they could have tried improving it and not just limit it to introduction and training videos! I found that voice to be damn sexy…
But still, this is an awesome racer. You’ll get all the things that made Burnout 3 great and more, especially if you thought it was too hard, but anyone looking for a challenging Burnout game might be disappointed.