STAFF REVIEW of Burnout Revenge (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006.
by Tony Ingrassia

Burnout Revenge Box art One of video games more long-lasting and flat out fun franchises, Burnout, finds its way to the Xbox 360 with Burnout Revenge. The burnout series has done a fantastic job over the years in delivering a bigger, better, more exciting game with each new installment, not many franchise can claim that, let alone the sea of games that suffer from the sophomore jinx never to be heard from again. Burnout has always been full of excitement, and this time around two words come to mind every time I load up Burnout Revenge?Reckless Abandon. If you can?t enjoy Burnout Revenge check yourself into a hospital because you have no pulse. This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, no comparisons will be made.

Burnout Revenge is truly a pick up and play, fun filled, gaming experience. Its not too often you can say that about a game, but this is one of those times. BR (Burnout Revenge) is divided into a few categories ranging from racing to, what made the franchise popular I the first place, mass destruction. While it is fun to try and cause as much damage as possible I found the racing to be very entertaining and adrenaline pumping. Besides the obvious objective of a race, to win, BR takes it one step further with Rivals. Not only can you turn an opponent into a rival by slamming him into the wall, you yourself can become a rival. This same dynamic is available on Xbox Live making the competition factor escalate that much more.

More on the racing aspect, the tracks are diverse and well designed, you do run some of them in both directions, but the layouts are so balanced that it does feel like a completely new track. Every track has the ?Obvious? route and the not so obvious route. Short cuts are scattered allover each track and are almost a necessity in timed races, some of these shortcuts are just a means to cut corners, but some are pretty exhilarating sending you air born and leading you into a narrow corridor of buildings were now you find yourself dodging dumpsters, to underground gauntlets with pillars scattered in the wrong places, keeping you on the edge of your seat and wide eyed the whole way through. Your vehicles can accumulate ?Boost? by driving recklessly, causing damage, drifting, and driving head on into traffic, the easiest and most fun of the options. Boost is another one of those ?Gotta Have? things to get the most out of your run. Each event offers 3 levels of accomplishment split into 2 sections, time and damage. The faster and higher your score the higher your medal reward becomes, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Each new medal unlocks not only new challenges and tracks but vehicles. There is also a Trophy system in place for achievements such as damage total to vertical takedowns. Takedowns, the most fun ever, get big points for basically leading opponents into walls or other obstacles; this will also gain you a few rivals as you progress.

So how about all that destruction, BR offers up so much destruction you won?t know what to do first. These destruction challenges are ranked in points, and as in the races divided into 3 medal versions and point totals. The intriguing part of these lay outs is that the obvious route once again may not necessarily be the best route. There are usually an assortment of vehicles in your path and on more than a few tracks you?ll find ramps or opening in overpasses that spill into the traffic below, the goal is simple, cause as much damage as you can. Each of the damage challenges has a Target vehicle that you should try and destroy; sometimes not so simple because it doesn?t seem to show up right away, but cause a big enough chain reaction of damage and you?ll be fine. There are 2 other wrinkles in the damage challenges that make it that much more fun. One is the combination of your vehicle explosion and aftershock. When cars start crashing you accumulate damage points, once the meter fills you can cause your vehicle to explode causing other vehicles near by to so the same, exploded vehicle equal big points, the aftershock is a directional tool, once you explode you can point your vehicles path in any direction, so those cars that had smart driver, you know that stopped before piling into the wreckage, well they aren?t so safe anymore, direct your car in that direction and start a whole new chain reaction of damage. The other wrinkle is that you can record your best high-speed antics as well as those highflying explosions to save for later or share on Xbox Live. Get enough attention on XBL and you could end up on the top 20 clips.

Graphically this game holds nothing back. The locations are stunning; they vary from highway to European piazzas, shadow effects, motion blurs and car shakes just add to the visual speed and intensity of the game. This is one of those games that no amount of description could do justice to. The soundtrack is a good mix of music that just adds to the mood of the race, although some of the track will be familiar to EA gamers, they have appeared in other EA titles. Burnout Revenge is a pretty sweet package, easy to pick up and play without a lot of instruction, entertaining to most everyone with a pulse and really well thought out. All of the single player and multi-player aspects are available on Xbox Live just adding to the longevity of this games life. If you?re looking for that one game that has to be in your library that you can pretty much pop in no matter what your friends like, look no further Burnout Revenge is that game.

I do have one minor complaint, if you will, nothing that will hinder the experience too much, but the shadows are a bit dark at times. I played on an HDTV and still had problems at times seeing what was in front of me, usually an appropriately placed pillar, causing quite a bit of trial and error racing. Not that I mind having to learn a track, but it does help seeing what is in your path. Outside of that, I offer up some big Kudos to the Burnout Revenge team, the franchise has yet to disappoint, keep up the good work.

Game On!

Overall: 9.6 / 10
Gameplay: 9.6 / 10
Visuals: 10.0 / 10
Sound: 9.6 / 10


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