Burnout Revenge Review

You may all remember that little racing game from last year, Burnout 3: Takedown (my review). I would consider that game to be the best driving game of last year.

EA and Criterion recently released the next game in the series, Burnout Revenge. Many people feel this may be too quick of a turnaround for a new game to come out, but I guess many people don’t know that Insomniac Games has been chugging out Ratchet and Clank games for what will be 4 years running now. We could also clump Naughty Dog in there as they will be releasing their 3rd Jak game in the same number of years.

Sure, it’s easy to say this may be too quick, but I say this game actually turns out to be the best Burnout game yet that misses just a step or two when compared to the game of last year. Let’s get to the scores.

The graphics in Burnout Revenge are better than the ones in Burnout 3. The cars just look that much more stylish and the game runs a lot faster than the last one. There is not even a drop of framerate that I could find in the game. Takedowns, explosions and everything else just look fantastic.

The biggest change in graphics are the levels themselves. The levels presented in Burnout Revenge have shortcuts, jumps on the track and sometimes multi-height roads in them. This makes the maps pretty large, although there will be missions where you will find that the level is a little too constricting in parts near the end to where one false step could mean the end of your chances.

The coolest graphical feature is the jump. You jump and you will see a windsock in the lower right corner telling you which way the wind is blowing and how fast so you can aim your landing for maximum damage. You’ll see this mostly in the Crash missions, but there are also some straight events where aiming a jump is important to land a special kind of takedown.  Depending on the weight of your car you will have more or less control over where the car goes as well.

Overall the graphical package is top notch and a step above Burnout 3 in my opinion.

This is another area where Criterion upped the ante so to speak. Let’s start with the overall sound of the game. Criterion seems to have boosted the bass and added a lot of ancillary sounds such as the whish of buildings as you drive by at high speeds or the sounds of the general environment. This game has better use of the surround speakers in a Dolby Digital 5.1 environment. You will hear the computer AI behind you so you can act appropriately. This worked somewhat in the last game, but in this game you can tell from which side they are trying to pass.

The sound of crashes are bone crunching. You’ll hear a “BOOM!” when you crash into something and it is quite cool. Same goes for the Crashbreakers. When you unleash one the bass will be used very well and when you eventually get the opportunity to use a crashbreaker in races the sound becomes that much better.

There is a wide range of music available on Burnout Revenge and I’m happy once again to say that it is rap-less which always makes me happy. There are some catchy songs on this game, although I must say I concentrate more on the sounds of the game than the music itself. Much like Burnout 3 you can also put your own music in the game.

Control is the same old thing from Burnout 3. Why fix what isn’t broken? With the increase in game speed it will take you a little bit to get used to how much faster this game is. Any experience you have with Burnout 3 will help quite a bit with this game as I saw myself going through the ranks pretty quickly.

The boost button will be your friend a lot in this game simply because hitting cars going the same way as you will result in your boost going up almost to the point you may be boosting all the way through the level.

This one is a tough one to call. Burnout Revenge has a lot of new and cool things that make it rise above Burnout 3, but it also has some key missteps that push it below Burnout 3 in the gameplay section. Let’s start with the good.

The key addition to the gameplay of Burnout Revenge is the “traffic checking” ability. With any vehicle you can ram into any car going the same way you are on the road. This will take just a few minutes to get used to because any Burnout 3 player or racing game player is going to want to steer clear of cars, but in this case you want to ram into them. Ramming into cars helps you in two ways. The first one is that it increases your boost and the second one is that if you aim the vehicle correctly you can take out the computer AI and score a Traffic Check Takedown.

The traffic checking along with the changes in levels to a more Burnout 2 level make this game that much better than Burnout 3, but there are some missteps along the way.

The first one has to do with the World Tour. Any Burnout 3 player is pretty used to the World Tour in that game, but this is far different. In Burnout Revenge you have a World Tour mode, but you are put on a linear ranking path from levels 1 to 10 (with appropriate “extreme” names). You have to reach a certain number of stars before you get to the next level by going through all the missions in the ranks open to you.

This is all well and good, but I kind of miss the actual World look of things. Here you just pick areas kind of like Rallisport Challenge 2 and then pick the event you want to go for that are not locked at the moment. Burnout Revenge also uses a new scoring system which makes the game that much more interesting. You have two things to worry about while driving. You must increase your “coolness” bar (for lack of a better word) in the lower right corner from OK to Good to Great and to Awesome. When you end the event you score a number of stars from 1 to 4. Getting an Awesome is the goal. Along with this you are also going after the Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. If you get a Bronze medal it will subtract 1 from the number of stars on your “coolness” factor. If you get a Silver medal you keep the stars and if you get a Gold medal you get one extra star, making a possible of 5 total stars on the event. In Burnout 3 all you had to worry about was the medals, here it is a bit more complicated. So, if you just like to miss everything on the level you won’t get an Awesome rating. You need to do cool things with the boost meter, you need to ram into traffic going the same way you are and you need to Takedown the computer AI where appropriate.

The other misstep is in the Crash section of the game. Many people will not find this section more fun than Burnout 3, but those that played Burnout 2: Point of Impact (my review) may feel a little déjà vu as the same concept makes a return. The key problem in my mind for those that played only Burnout 3 is that the camera doesn’t follow the other cars crashing into the mess, it generally stays on your car. The Crash events have a couple new elements to them as well. Gone are the speed icons and the multipliers/broken heart. In place of them are a speed bar at the beginning, a “target” car that is worth extra money (and usually comes up the rear of the event) and the necessity to wait for the boost bar to hit 100% so you can tap on the B button and unleash a gamebreaker for more damage (this can possibly happen once or twice an event).

The weirdest thing is the bar at the beginning. Much like you would kick a field goal in Madden you click on the A button and try to hit the top sweet spot and then hit the bottom sweet spot with another push of the A button. This gives you a boost if you hit it right. The interesting this is that you do not need to use the accelerator button at all on these as the car accelerates itself. You just need to concentrate on doing maximum damage. Unfortunately they do not have replays in either Crash or Race modes like they did in Burnout 3, so you can’t see another angle of all the destruction.

Online play is once again in this game and is set up somewhat like Halo 2 with party-based racing. I’ve spent most of my time on the single player section of the game, but I have played some online stuff and enjoyed it. Burnout 3 was fun for a bit online, but I ended up spending most of my time in single-player. Same thing will probably happen here.

Much like Burnout 3, Burnout Revenge is extremely addicting. It is most addicting when you only get a silver medal and absolutely want that extra star that the gold medal will give you. The time trials are the worst part of the game simply because you’re trying to do a perfect race and get to the end of the race in time to win the gold.

Going up the rank ladder is just addicting and this game makes it hard to put the controller down. This is a sign of a great racing game and I never thought another racing game could overcome the greatness of Forza Motorsport, but this game does a good job in challenging it even if it comes from a different angle. This game is slightly bigger than Burnout 3, but you won’t realize that until you get into the later ranking races.

I can’t make it any simpler for people reading this: go out and buy the game if you liked any of the other Burnout games. This game is a refined and better game than Burnout 3 even if there are a couple missteps along the way. The graphics, sound and overall sense of speed are greatly improved and the game is as addicting as ever. I simply can’t recommend this game enough if you’re just looking for a fun and addicting racing game.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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