Product Type: Electronic Arts Xbox 360 games
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Is This Long Running Series Suffering from Burnout?
Burnout Revenge (Xbox 360)
Member Name: samueltyler
Burnout Revenge (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Fast action, arcade fun
Disadvantages: Online too brutal, can become boring fast
There are two main types of racing games; simulation and arcade. To the layman a driving game is a driving game, but there are great differences in how different games play within the genre. Games like ‘Grand Turismo’ and ‘Forza Motorsport’ pride themselves on how accurate they are to real life, forcing the gamer to play the game as you would on the road. To me this is no fun as I end up driving my Ferrari into the first wall I see and get the game over sign. The other side of the coin sees games such as ‘Outrun’ and ‘Motorstorm’; these games ignore natural physics in the pursuit of enjoyment. I much prefer the ability to leap 100s of feet, or power slide past a giant inflatable Sonic the Hedgehog. There has been one series of games that has come to dominate the arcade racer market in recent years; could the first next gen version of the game continue this?
‘Burnout Revenge’ is the latest in the long running crash racer series. Unlike most racing games there is as much concentration on crashing as there is racing in the game. You control a car that must go up against a series of challenges including; time trails, races, crash races and crash accumulators. The time trials and races follow the usual pattern for the genre with you gaining more points for coming in the top positions. What makes them different from other titles is that you are rewarded with boost for driving recklessly i.e. the wrong side of the road, crashing out an opponent. This means that the player must balance dangerous driving and racing together.
The Crash races and Crash Accumulators are more unique game types that must also be completed to unlock more levels as you advance as a driver. The Crash Races gives you a ticking clock in which time you must destroy as many opponents as possible. If you crash you are immediately put back on the race track to hunt them down. The truly unique mode is the Crash Accumulators which see you trying to cause a massive pile up that will create the most collateral damage. You are rewarded with medals depending on the level of havoc you create.
The majority of these game types have been part of the Burnout cannon for several years but this title introduces the concept of revenge. If you are taken out by someone they will be highlighted as someone that you want to take out in revenge. If you do so you will be give an extra bonus boost. However, be warned as people you take out will also be after you. This concept works well in the one player mode but comes into its own online as you begin to build up a portfolio of people after you and who you are after!
The handling and level of speed in Burnout Revenge is very good. As the game advances so do the cars becoming faster and harder to handle. There is no denying that at its core there is a great game. However, there is not that much extra here for owners of the previous games so I can only award (4 out of 5)
I had a real problem with the longevity of ‘Burnout Revenge’ because it should last for years, but in truth gets boring after a surprisingly quick time. There are hundreds of different race modes, cars and awards to unlock, but they come so thick and fast that they soon become meaningless. EA have shot themselves in the foot by not making the rewards sparser. Also I felt that the game types became very samey after a while. The levels zipped by so fast that it made little difference if there was a new track or a mirror track. Finally I felt that the difficulty curve became far too steep after a while; the game allowed you to plod along at a good pace only for you to hit a wall 2/3 way through.
As with all 360 games the achievements could be a great way to increase the games lifespan, unfortunately ‘Burnout Revenges’ were so hard as to be useless for a less skilled player as myself. The majority were based around completing each driving level as perfect. This would mean going back over previous levels over and over again just to eek out a few more seconds – not fun. (3 out of 5)
The online aspect of ‘Burnout Revenge’ is probably its best asset as the ability to play all tracks with all the cars means that there are plenty of fun to be had. Due to the speed of the game there are only 6 players allowed at once, but this is plenty enough for a good time. However, like in many LIVE games it is vital that you have people to play against that are of a similar level to you. I played this game online a lot and I was never able to win a match as the other racers knew all the shortcuts and ways to boost speed. This means that the online version of this game will be impenetrable for many novice gamers. For this reason alone a great online game becomes distinctly flawed. EA should have created a handicap system, but they did not. (3 out of 5)
The graphics on ‘Burnout Revenge’ are definitely next gen and look very good. However, compared to top racing titles such as ‘PGR’ it does feel slightly cartoony. The cars on offer are not official makes, but this is made up for by the numerous exciting and interesting tracks that you use from cities, bridges and docks. The sense of speed in this game is also well realised by great blurring effects. You are able to get to incredible speeds with the aid of boosts and having a wall rush towards you at amazing speeds is exhilarating. (4 out of 5)
Many top racing games are let down by their poor level design. Real life tracks or mundane roads would not fit well with the arcade feel of Burnout and the makers realise this. The tracks are often set in inner city areas where there are lots of objects and traffic jams to be avoided. The balance between open aspects and narrow lanes is well throughout through.
The best aspect of the tracks in ‘Burnout Revenge’ are the numerous different routes that you can take to achieve a winning position. There are numerous shortcuts on offer, but they may actually prove more time consuming as they are often difficult to navigate without crashing. By finely balancing the shortcuts EA have created a great set of tracks. (4 out of 5)
Like in all modern EA games the sound and music in ‘Burnout Revenge’ is great if you like modern American rock. There are loads of official tracks that play in the background throughout the races and the loading screens. I found the majority of the tracks to be good, but I can imagine that they may not be to everyone’s taste. The sound effects are universally good with the cars sounding just like they should. Special mention should go to the effects that make the cars feel faster or when you slow down time. (3 out of 5)
As a sum of its parts ‘Burnout Revenge’ does not quite become a must have game. There are so many aspects of the game that could have been brilliant if it were not for a couple of small flaws. The sound and graphics are definitely next gen and the level design means that you are bound to have at least some fun with the game. However, the ways in which the levels are unlocked soon becomes dull and add to this the difficulty of online and you may find yourself only enjoying it for a short time. To make a truly successful Burnout title I feel that EA will have to make it more accessible a game in terms of progression and make the online mode handicapped. (3 out of 5)
Maker: EA RRP £50
Amazon uk £22.47
Summary: A decent enough racing title for arcade style fans that is worth picking up for £20 or less.
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