Burnout Revenge - Review
|19/9/2005||EA Games||Criterion||1-6, 6 ||M||Medium|
The current generation may ending but as evidenced with Burnout Revenge the developers are still pushing even more out of the system then ever before. If you thought that this fourth title would be more of the same with a few new tracks and cars then think again. Developers Criterion - who are now owned by Electronic Arts - have gone back to the drawing boards and totally re-designed the game some with some major gameplay changes. Its still lightning fast, if anything its even faster then last years game, but now includes the ability to crash your way through other traffic on the road.
|This is really pushing the PS2.|
That's right. The biggest change to this game - and it has a massive impact on gameplay - is the ability to crash into regular traffic thereby turning them into obstacles on the road for your opponents to try and avoid. Naturally it's not all one sided as opponents can also send cars flying in your direction - although it doesn't occur nearly as often as you'd expect for some reason. There are some rules here. Firstly the traffic you hit must be driving in the same direction as you. If they coming head on or you T-Bone them then you'll crash into a crumple. Secondly it's not possible to hit large trucks or busses and survive.
So the bulk of Burnout Revenge takes place in the World Tour which is split up into 10 different world rankings and takes place across Detroit, Rome and Tokyo. As you progress through the world rankings you will need to enter a series of events and earn enough ranking points to unlock the next level. This game doesn't restrict itself to simple races as there are in fact seven different events to enter. These include Race (where you can take down rivals to be the first across the line), Burning Lap (where you have to race against the clock), Road Rage (where you have to take down as many opponents as possible within a set time limit, although you can earn extra time by taking out the opposition), Eliminator (where the car in last place is eliminated every 30 seconds), Preview (where you get to race some of the fastest cars in timed races), Grand Prix (where you enter a series of races and earn points for the ranking table) and finally the Traffic Attack (where you have to destroy as much traffic as possible).
|It's the landing that hurts!|
One of our favourite events, and indeed most gamers, is the Crash Events. These have undergone a bit of a change this year. Gone are the icons such as score multiplier and turbo boost and instead much bigger and more open locations have been introduced. At the start of Crash event you now have a meter, not unlike the older golf game swings, which determines the power you launch your car with. Too much and your car engine will be blown, to some comical laughter to add some insult, or too late in launching at the bottom of the meter and you'll stall. It's a good system that adds even more skill. As well as this game developers have included a Crashbreaker explosion. Your nitro meter fills up as more cars are damaged and when it is full you can hit R2 repeatedly to create an explosion, and even more damage. Following this you can even press R1 and the left analogue stick to perform after touch and "steer" your car into even more traffic, and start filling your nitro meter yet again!
|Sliding around the corner...|
In terms of multi-player Burnout Revenge supports up to 6-players on a single console with a party play turn-based setup. For many it's the online gameplay that is most important and has returned once again with support for up to 6-players. As expected the developers have included all the race and crash modes and while lag can be an issue for us down here in Australia, as long as you find a good connection you'll be playing for hours.
No matter which mode you're playing the game in one thing remains constant. The track design is simply brilliant. Not only the courses littered with hidden paths and shortcuts, which are conveniently illuminated with blue lights, but also well designed with many pillars and obstacles where you can ram the opponent into for a quick Takedown. The game moves at an incredible speed, with some lovely motion blur especially when you hit the nitros.
|More sparks, smoke and particles.|
Picking faults with Burnout Revenge is like trying to pick faults with the Crown Jewels, or the Mona Lisa. It's art of the highest caliber and Criterion and EA need to be commended for not just rehashing last year’s title. The new Traffic Attack modes is tremendous fun, flying around the tracks trying to crash your way through as many cars as possible is tremendous fun, but isn't actually as exciting as the Crash mode, or even taking out opponents in other modes. While there are plenty of cars available I would also like to see, in future games, an option to either upgrade your car, or build up one from scratch with prize money (assuming they add that as well).
It's fair to say that I never, not in my wildest anticipation, ever expected the Playstation 2 to produce graphics of such high quality. While previous Burnout games were fast, and this one is only slightly quicker, it's the way in which cars end up flipping and breaking up through the air with sparks flying and smoke bellowing that really sets this game alight. There's nothing close to the exhilaration of sliding around a corner to only just scrape underneath a car airborne from a collision only a few moments before. The amount of detail in the tracks and backgrounds also seems to have been increased somewhat, but with the speed you're flying along at it may be hard to notice!
In fact, the presentation throughout this entire game, from the intro movies to the menus and the awards, is simply stunning. Electronic Arts are well ahead of other game developers in this department. The frame rate is rocks solid as well, and Burnout Revenge includes both 50Hz and 60Hz in this game - fortunately unlike most other EA titles it seems Criterion haven't been forced to 50Hz only - yet. The only very minor complaint which I may level at the game is that that I would love to see a little more "prettiness" in some of the locations - Namco's Ridge Racer titles are a perfect example, with gorgeous waterfalls, beachsides and mountains to admire as you zoom on past.
As with every other aspect of the title audio quality is exceptional. While there is no speech in the game there are plenty of effects which heighten the action occurring on screen. The collisions sound brutal however it's the whooshing as you scream past objects and other cars that gives this game such a level of excitement. The music is generally rock based, and while you'll have a hard time recognising many, if any, of the bands it's actually all quite good in quality and much better then many other EA titles in recent years.
Even if you own last years stunning Burnout Takedown, Burnout Revenge is still an essential purchase. The gameplay, and in particular the ability to use other cars as weapons adds another new dimension to the gameplay while the crash modes are bigger then ever. Take it from us Burnout Revenge is a must have title. Sensational.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Technically simply stunning, artistically could be better.||90%|
|SOUND||Good rock music but the effects really make this game stand out.||90%|
|GAMEPLAY||Gameplay is still absolutely top notch. There's nothing better.||95%|
|VALUE||Packed full of levels to complete, tonnes to unlock, online racing.||93%|
|OVERALL||Burnout: Revenge is an essential purchase and quite different to the previous game in the series. Another sensational game in the series that should be in every single PS2 owner's collection.||93%|