Burnout: Revenge is the fourth offering in EA's adrenalin soaked destruction racer series. Burnout 3 (Takedown) was one of the best arcade racers money could buy â so does Takedown live up to its older brother or is it just a lazy annual update of the same game with a different coat of paint?
Yet again you are tuned to Crash FM and take part in the numerous Burnout events arranged the world over. As with previous games you have to win medals by either winning races or achieving the targets set to unlock more events, cars and locations. One major difference from previous games is that a new star ranking system has been introduced â now, not only do you have to win gold medals but you have to look good while doing it to gain the top rating. In Burnout this means that you have to take insane risks, smash as many opponents as possible and generally break every rule in the Highway Code.
By winning gold and gaining 'awesome' you are awarded the 'perfect' rating, (complicated huh?). This again unlocks further events and locations in the game. While this is a good addition to the game it can be frustrating when you have creamed the opposition and won a race but only achieved 'great' and find yourself having to redo the race for that last measly star.
A game like this doesn't really need a strong story but the Crash FM DJ is always on hand to explain the locations and events as and when needed.
WARNING!!! â This game should come with a free eye test!! If you have 20/20 vision before playing this game say a fond farewell as your eyeballs will be bleeding pretty soon. This game is FAST. The graphics are stunning, even more impressive when you consider the speed at which everything is moving â as always the cars are super slick and shiny and the race locations look drop dead gorgeous, from the neon-lit Japanese metropolis to the arches and fountains of Rome, all of the scenery is stunning, pity that most of the time you will be going too fast to see it.
As with all previous Burnout games no real cars or manufacturers are featured â they are all creations of the Criterion design team. Cars range from compacts to super cars with a few crazy hot-rods and picks ups thrown in for good measure. Not being a huge car buff I didn't miss the fact that there were no real cars in the game â many of the ones included bear a close resemblance to certain real life counterparts anyway.
In game sound consists of the roaring engines, squealing tyres and boost kicking in - all of which sound authentic and when you pile into an opponent or oncoming traffic the carnage that follows is a glorious concerto of twisted metal.
The background music is supplied by some huge bands such as The Chemical Brothers, Maximo Park and Bloc Party. There are about 30 tracks in total all of which fit the anarchic theme of the game perfectly. The music may not be to everyone's tastes but you are given the option to turn off the tracks that you are not into.
All in all the music and sound fit the game perfectly and add to the experience with the tracks seemingly acting as your car radio as you race.
Controls in the game are the same as in the previous incarnations of the series; all you need to know is X = Go, Square = Stop, R1 = Boost. Got it? You also have the analogue stick to guide your car in impact time and R2 to detonate your car in certain modes but really that is all. The simple control scheme means the game is really easy to pick up and enjoy from the first race you enter.
The car handling is more arcade than simulator making the game more accessible and fun, drifting round corners is a skill that is easy to learn but difficult to master - but a thing of beauty when pulled off correctly. Some of the later cars you unlock take a bit of getting used to, mainly due to the sheer speed at which they go. All in all the cars handle as you would expect by looking at them â the trucks turn like battleships while the F1 type cars are difficult to keep on the road â there is a lot to master with the 60+ cars on offer.
The whole ethos of the Burnout series is risk and reward â drive like a maniac to gain the big rewards, this is even more so the case in Revenge with the addition of the rating bar.
Many of the old favourite game modes are included from Burnout Takedown; Races, Road Rage, Crash Events and Grand Prix but in Revenge a whole raft of other modes are also thrown in â including Crashbreaker races and Traffic attack.
There have been a few minor changes to the modes which have helped to refresh certain parts of the game. No longer do you have to avoid traffic heading in the same direction, while in previous games shunting a car in front would have resulted in a messy crash now they can be shunted for extra boost or be used as weapons, smashing them into opponents' pinball style. Now all of the race tracks feature many alternate routes and some huge jumps allowing for the new vertical takedowns, achieved by dropping out of the sky like a H-bomb onto your opponent. While the alternate routes add the feeling of racing on an open road rather than a fixed track it will take you a while to locate the best ones as you usually only notice them just as you are speeding past.
A new introduction to the game is the 'revenge' takedown (hence the name) â when someone takes you out they become your revenge rival and by smashing them up you get a bigger boost bonus. This didn't seem like a huge addition in my opinion as you tend to take down everyone in your sights anyway to keep that boost high â a nice addition nonetheless.
The crash events still remain, for those of you new to the series this is where you are presented with a scenario and a car with a bomb on board, and have to figure out how to cause the most damage in a short time limit. Again the crash mode has been slightly modified from the previous instalment, gone are the cash multipliers and bomb icons which have been replaced by an acceleration meter to start and multiple bombs depending on the level of carnage caused. While still fun and easy to dip into, for me this is the only mode which has taken a step back from the previous version as there now seems to be less strategy and more luck involved in reaching the top scores.
In each location as well as winning the medals on offer you also have to complete the signature takedowns and numerous challenges. Signature takedown are track specific (i.e. smash an opponent into the burger stand) and challenges range from smashing a certain number of cars on traffic attack to doing a set amount of revenge takedowns. While not vital to your game progression they are a great way to add to the replayability of previously completed tracks and events.
There are 168 events to keep you busy along with the extra challenges on top â I reckon at least 30-40 hours play in the one player game alone.
On top of this you can also take on a mate in any of the game modes with any of your fleet of cars â while great fun I would recommend using a big TV as things tend to get too crowded on a smaller TV when playing split screen.
The game can also be played against up to 8 people on-line â while I don't have the ability to test this mode out from what I hear the game can be a bit choppy when played on-line but you'll have to check that out for yourself.
One of the great things about Burnout is that there are so many different types of events that you never seem to get bored â if a crash event is frustrating you give up for a while and try a burning time trial lap instead â also each game mode takes differing lengths of time to do â if you are in for the long haul grab some beers and take on a Grand Prix, if you only have ten minutes before dinner hit a traffic attack. The game allows you to dip in and out for as long as you can â however this will usually turn out to be longer as the game is so addictive. Usually the thing that will determine when you turn off the PS2 is when your eyesight starts to fade and you have RSI from gripping the pad too tightly.
The game offers a great challenge with some of the later events being pretty difficult but the ranking system offers a steady learning curve so you only progress to the next level when ready.
My only gripes with the game are that the loading times in between events and menu screens do take a long time for a console and I preferred the crash events in the previous game. That said, these are minor points and everything else in the game is better than any other pure racer you will find out there and the fact that Burnout is some much more than just a racing game.
As you can tell from the review I am a huge fan of the Burnout series and Burnout Revenge is no exception. The game takes all of the best bits of the previous games and makes them better as well as introducing some fantastic new concepts as well. The game looks, sounds, and plays awesomely and will keep event the most hardened gamers busy for months. This is an absolutely must buy game for the PS2 â Gentlemen, start your engines and get burnin'
I give this gameâ¦.
9.5 out of 10