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Review: Burnout Revenge (Xbox)

Posted in Gaming,Racing,Reviews,Xbox by Shawn Wallace on 20 2005f September 2005

Last year Burnout 3: Takedown blasted onto the racing game scene on consoles, bringing with it might and mayhem. From the  rocketship-paced racing to the incredible crashes, Takedown firmly planted itself near the crown of arcade racers.  Then, just a couple months back, Takedown’s angry red-headed stepchild, Burnout Revenge, began making waves. Talk of  tracks made for battle, bigger crashes, faster cars, more blood… it’s everything a fan of Takedown could imagine.  But, Takedown left behind some mighty big shoes to fill. Can Revenge live up to the hype?

Revenge’s tagline is Battle Racing Ignited, and it’s good to see Criterion embracing Revenge for what it is; smash-mouth, 250  mph, white-knuckle racing. Revenge isn’t your typical “let’s-make-5-laps-and-we-might-scrape-fenders” racer. Oh no, Revenge brings  it like Kanye at a fund raiser. Nothing is sacred. Even though Revenge is a racer at heart, it’s merely a vehicle (no pun  intended) to bring you to new heights of pain and suffering. Every race carries with it two goals. One, to win the race by  being the first to cross the finish line. Two, to wreck your opponents in as many cruel and unusual ways as you can.

Throughout Revenge you will be faced with various game types, from Burning Lap (essentially a time attack) to Road Rage (crash a  certain number of cars to finish with bronze, silver or gold) to vanilla races and so on. However, calling any race vanilla  in a Burnout game is a travesty, what with all the crashing and flying metal and burning wreckage and all. Throughout these  various game types, you’ll be faced with crashing your opponents as well as blowing things up with your Crashbreaker.  Crashbreakers are essentially explosive outcomes to wrecks. You’ll use them in Crash mode and, later in the game, you’ll get  to use them in races. When certain criteria are met, you’re allowed a Crashbreaker. We’ll touch on Crashbreakers in more  detail in just a bit.

Let’s not forget Boost. Boost is acquired by slamming opponents, checking traffic, and avoiding oncoming cars. What does Boost do? Well… do I really need to spell it out for you? It’s turbo! Get more Boost, go faster, hit opponents harder, make bigger crashes, get more Boost. It’s a vicious cycle. A vicious, nasty, disagreeable cycle.

But that’s not all. There’s a flashy new catch to the Burnout series of racing games in Revenge. Traffic checking. Essentially, other than buses and semis, any traffic going the same direction as you can be “checked”, or ran into, and that car (or cars) will bounce off of you like a drunken projectile. There’s very little more satisfying than to send a box truck careening across lanes of traffic only to dispatch one of your opponents in the process. Yes, the gimmick wears off in short order, but early on it’s giddy fun all around. Once you become used to checking traffic, you can expand your skills by bouncing cars off of each other and racking up combos.

Let me run down some game types for you:

  • Crash mode – Basically a preset routine where you’re presented with a traffic pattern (usually along with some obstacles for difficulty) and the goal is to wreck as many cars as possible. The more damage you do, the more money you get, the higher rating you get in that event. There’s very little quite like driving a Carl Jr.s’ mobile diner down a rickety wooden bridge, launching it off a ramp and through a donut shop’s giant donut hole (not like a little donut hole, but the hole in a round donut) that resides on their roof, only to land amidst traffic and cause much mayhem and carnage. Do enough damage, and it’s Crashbreaker time. Tap the B button as fast as you can. The closer to 100% you are when the timer gets to 0, the larger the explosion. Also related, each vehicle has its own Crashbreaker intensity. Some cause small explosions, some cause huge explosions.
  • Road Rage – as mentioned above, it’s a race around a track, and the goal is to wreck as many opponents as possible. The more you wreck opponents, the more time on the clock. But beware; get wrecked too many times by opponents or run into too many oncoming cars, and you’ll total your car before your full potential can be attained.
  • Burning Lap – Your stuck on a track with a car and you have gold medal time, silver medal time and bronze medal time. The faster you go, the better you’ll finish. This is where Boost comes in handy. To get gold, you’ll need to Boost all the way around the track and not wreck. It’s possible! Difficult, but possible.
  • Race – yes, this may seem mediocre in light of the previously mentioned race types, but you can always take down your opponents and, in later levels of the game, you’ll get Crashbreakers when you wreck. There’s little else as fun as getting taken out by an opponent and taking him right back out because he’s in the blast radius of your Crashbreaker.

But, I don’t want to give it all away! There’s plenty going on to keep you busy for a looong time.

The game’s controls are improved from Takedown. Granted, Takedown’s controls were very good, but at slower speeds things could feel a little jerky. That’s been fixed in Revenge and the cars still feel tight and responsive at 100 mph or 250 mph.

You’re probably asking, how’s multiplayer. Other than EA’s less than savory Xbox Live functionality, it’s a hoot. It can be a little tedious finding friends to race with on Xbox Live, but once you’re all together, there’s nothing stopping you from making each other into little wet spots on the virtual highway. A few niggles, though; whatever you unlock in the single player, called World Tour, portion of the game, does not follow you online. You’ve got to do it all again online. Also, there’s several small details that were overlooked in splitscreen multiplayer. You have to re-choose all of your options with every race (Takedown did this much better; you want a red car, your buddy wants a blue car, you want nose cam, he wants third person cam? No problem. You want the same next race? Takedown saves those options. Revenge does not.) and your buddy has to hit Start to add himself to the roster. You’d think this would be automatic since, oh, I don’t know, you’re in splitscreen mutliplayer mode.

The audio in Takedown was top notch, and really couldn’t be improved upon, Revenge simply takes things to a more cinematic level, with gunshots as you fire off your Boost or some more animal-sounding slow motion audio effects. It’s all good. Very good. And, even though Takedown was a great looking game, Revenge has improved the game’s look drastically, with far more detail on the tracks, better looking cars and bigger tracks all around.

So, what can I say? Revenge is a fantastic addition to the Burnout series of games. From the total variety of gameplay to the great looks and top notch controls, if you’re looking for a fun, arcade-style racer that can keep you and your crew busy for hours on end, Revenge is your baby.

FINAL SCORE: 92/100

» Official Product Page
» Publisher // Electronic Arts
» Developer // Electronic Arts
» Reviewer // Shawn Wallace

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