Review: Burnout Revenge (XB360)


Burnout Revenge
Genre: Racing
Developer: Criterion
Publisher: EA
Release Date: 3/7/06

Hey look, it’s a racing game for the 360! We haven’t seen that before!

Okay, so Burnout Revenge is the fifth racing title to come out for the 360 since November. And yeah, it’s not like it hasn’t been available for practically every other console on Earth for months prior to this, but hey, it’s Burnout, and really, the 360 wasn’t complete without a game that rewards you for blowing yourself up in the middle of traffic jams, y’know? Of all the rehashed ports that have hit the 360 since launch, this is certainly not an unwelcome one, and best of all, EA and Criterion spent some time with it in the workshop so that BR:360 would actually be an improvement over the other console releases.

So, is it? Let’s take a look.


1. GAME MODES


Well, you have your now-standard “World Tour” mode, IE Career mode, which tasks you to perform various races/crash events across the world. You also have same console multi-player, which offers six different race types (Race, Traffic Check, Road Rage, Crash Party, Crash Battle, and Crash Tour, which are fundamentally similar, but have different objectives) for multiple players on the same system. And, as expected, you’re offered Live play, which offers the same multi-player options (minus Traffic Check) for you and others to screw around with online. World Tour play offers you a bunch of race types to play around with, but aside from Traffic Check and Crashbreaker races, which we’ll get into in Gameplay, there’s nothing you haven’t seen before here. Still, what is here is pretty solid, and while it’s not a dramatic change for the series, there’s a lot more to do here than in some games (COUGHRidgeRacer6HACK).

Game Modes Rating: 7/10


2. GRAPHICS


The graphics in Burnout Revenge are largely similar to those of previous versions, only in ultra high resolution. Race environments are top quality, and random traffic vehicles look quite nice as you pass them by/smack into them. The playable cars are the biggest stars here, though; when racing, paint damage is localized and looks REALLY good, in that “I can’t believe I messed my car up that bad” kind of way. The Crash events also look quite good, and all of the associated crash and explosion effects are very well rendered and look appropriate when used. The sense of speed the game imparts is also mind-numbing at times, especially with the turbo going. The frame rate is usually quite consistent, and I didn’t see any slowdown during races, though the occasional replay may show some of this. Bottom line, Burnout Revenge is one of the better looking games on the 360 at this point; while there are games that are visually superior for the title, and while BR does seem slightly underpowered in comparison, it’s still a visual treat, and looks quite good even so.

Graphics Rating: 8/10


3. SOUND

More EA Trax. I liked the Finger Eleven and Atreyu tracks on B3 better than anything here, save the BT vs. The Doors track (I really like BT, what can I say) but what’s here isn’t bad, per say. There does seem to be LESS music this time around too, but that might just be me. Oh, and of course BR is fully compatible with custom soundtracks, so if you’re not a fan of what’s on tap, play something else! I did.

Regarding the sound, well, there’s only one real voice actor… er, actress, in the game, and she’s pretty good all in all. I liked her better than the DJ in Burnout 3, so if nothing else, she didn’t annoy me. Otherwise, engine noises and crash sounds are all spot on, everything sounds as it should, and there don’t seem to be any problems or timing issues with anything here. BR sounds great, as it should, and anyone who’s a fan of the series will like what’s here just fine.

Sound Rating: 7/10


4. CONTROL/GAMEPLAY


Let us assume you have, at some point between the moment you were delivered into this world and now, played a racing game. Gas, brake, turbo, steering, all are on tap, all are as would be expected, all function perfectly fine. Kay? Kay. Burnout Revenge does what every racing game fundamentally does; it asks you to race. This works as expected, which is just fine. Car control tends to lean towards arcade physics, so fans of PGR3 will probably be a tad disappointed, but fans of RR6 or NFS:MW will slip right into the races with little effort. The only abnormal thing players might have to adjust to is how one acquires turbo. Your turbo bar starts at one bar, and to get more segments, you have to take out other racers; conversely, being taken out knocks a bar segment off. Filling these segments is done in several ways; trading paint with other racers, Traffic Checking (hitting other cars in the rear to send them flying), catching air, and driving in oncoming traffic are just some of the ways you can build up turbo, so most racers should find themselves more than ready to boost ahead at all times. Overall, nothing feels sloppy or broken, and cars respond as well as would be expected, so you should be able to just jump in and have fun, no matter who you are.

Got all that? Good. Now let’s talk about what makes Burnout different from the rest of the pack.

In BR you have a lot more race types than your simple “Race” option, though that’s here too for those that desire it. In World Tour, you’ll be tasked to take on various types of alternate races, including Takedown races (knock out other racers for points), Crashbreaker races (same as regular race types, only you’re armed with explosives and can detonate yourself when you crash), Circuit races (race on multiple tracks, earning points for each completed race based on position, with the goal being to take first place over the entire Circuit), and Eliminator races (a timer counts down, and when it hits zero, last place is eliminated). There are all sorts of other play modes available outside of racing, as well. Burning Laps task you to race without competition to get the best time possible, usually in uber-fast or oddball vehicles you wouldn’t normally race in. Traffic Check events require you to paste traffic for points, and the more cars you paste, the more time you have to paste other cars. And, of course, there are Crash events, which ask that you send your car sailing into various roadways with the objective being mass destruction. Some of these events are new, most are not, but all of them are pretty fun.


And it’s a good thing they’re fun, because BR can be pretty rough at times. Takedowns are no longer as simple as they used to be, and CPU cars are now much nastier about how they race. The beginnings of most races involve everyone around you crashing into one another trying to take each other out to achieve superiority. Instead of simply smacking into someone or trying to force a fishtail, you have to race smart and try to push other racers into traffic or walls, which is both positive (more challenging) and negative (for B3 fans). Also, in each race, you’re now tasked to perform to a certain degree (marked by star rankings) to achieve the maximum rankings (five stars, or “Perfect”), which can be more than a little taxing in some races, as you’ll have to do insane amounts of damage in addition to running a good race. Crashes also tend to be more oblique; instead of simply knowing where to go by where the various modifiers are located, you’ll most likely end up doing the same Crash multiple times to find the sweet spot. This is partially because modifiers have been removed entirely (again, to the annoyance of B3 fans), and partially because the Target car tends to make or break your run, and you might miss it entirely on your first go-round. On the positive side, the silly Mario Golf-esque mini game you had to play to get a good start in other BR releases has been removed from this version; I doubt most will miss it. There are also a buttload of Achievements to unlock here, some simple, most not, so if you’re hardcore into that sort of thing, this will appeal to you.

Multi-player holds up as well as single-player, though there are fewer things available for players to screw around with. Besides your standard race options, you have multiplayer Traffic Check (again, on one console, not online), which works about as well as you’d expect, Road Rage, which is basically two teams rotating between trying to cross the finish line and trying to stop the other team from doing so, and the aforementioned various Crash modifications (which, for some reason, don’t show you the track layout, which is pretty lame). All of these work perfectly fine as multiplayer games, but as everything basically amounts to a bunch of Crash games and two kinds of races, one wonders if perhaps a little more could have been done with this. Y’know, maybe a Capture the Flag sort of game where one car is “it” and everyone has to take them out, something like that. Regardless, online play is a hell of a lot of fun, especially in races when the competition gets really heated and intense. I didn’t see any noticeable lag at any point in my online play (this seems to be a trend these days), though you’ll probably spend a fair amount of time waiting for players to wrap up whatever they’re doing (especially if you tend to screw up as often as I do… er… nevermind), which is kind of boring. You can, of course, participate in ranked or unranked play, and BR is good about matching you up with equally skilled players once you’ve established your skill level online. You can also build your own games, and since people are constantly jumping into matches, it’s pretty easy to fill up a match and get down to business. The most interesting aspect of online play on the 360 is the “Revenge Rival” dynamic that has been added. Basically, any time you take someone out, or someone takes you out, the game remembers this, and when you’re online, it points this out to both you and your rivals. It’s mildly interesting to have rivalries with people you don’t know, and the game encourages competition in this way by encouraging you to take out or avoid being taken out by rivals. It could probably stand a little more fleshing out, but as it is it’s an interesting dynamic.

You can also save clips of your own races and crashes and upload them for others to watch, as well as download the clips of others to view. I assume this appeals to someone, and in theory if someone were to pull off a magnificent and badass crash it’d be fun to watch, but the only appeal I got from this was showing off to strangers. Overall, though, it works fairly well; downloads go quick (though the game then has to load the game world, which takes longer than the actual download does), and you can change the various angles as you can normal replays, so I have no complaints. I don’t personally find such a thing amusing, but it works, and that’s good enough for me.

Overall, BR is among the best racers the 360 has to offer. It lacks the weapon combat of Full Auto, the storyline of Need For Speed: Most Wanted, the pure simulation racing of Project Gotham Racing 3, and… uh… the goofy Japanese music of Ridge Racer 6, but pound for pound, it’s equally as fun and entertaining an experience as these games. It’s also the most accessible to casual players, something none of the above games (well, maybe Full Auto) can claim. Anyone can sit down and enjoy something that BR has to offer, and the game plays well enough that just about anyone can jump into it and do just fine.

Control/Gameplay Rating: 8/10


5. REPLAYABILITY

There are a multitude of unlockable vehicles, events, and tracks in Burnout Revenge, so there will absolutely be a reason to come back to this if you desire to unlock every last thing in the game. Even if you’re NOT into unlocking every little thing the game has to offer, online play is still a definite draw; even if you’re not a fan of online gaming, BR is still a hell of a lot of fun online. Plus, with the online Revenge Rivals, there’s an added incentive to come back to the game and take out those that have done you wrong in prior games, which is an added draw beyond simple online racing and crashing. All told, unless you’ve totally burned yourself out on Burnout (ugh, that was lame), you’ll find this will be spending a lot of time in your 360.

Replayability Rating: 9/10


6. BALANCE


Burnout Revenge has been dramatically re-tuned and re-balanced when compared to its predecessors, which will either excite players or infuriate them. Races will be knock-down drag-out fights to the finish, whether against the computer or other people, which will keep even the most jaded Burnout fan’s attention in each race. It’s not as easy to perform Takedowns as it was in B3, as was noted, so this contributes to the challenge immensely, though fans of smiting opponents mercilessly probably won’t be thrilled about this. The World Tour difficulty progresses appropriately as you advance, both because of track design and the capability of opposing cars, and both ramp up appropriately as you progress. Ditto for Crashes, though some of them seem designed to force you to replay them multiple times (based on where the Target car spawns), so boo to trial and error, though there’s no loading time between attempts, so it’s not so bad. Indeed, the re-tuning of certain game mechanics is most beneficial to online play, and after playing a few rounds of that you can easily understand why certain mechanics were changed; they’d make online play unbalanced. Overall, everything seems mostly reasonable, and progresses logically, but fans of B3 will see a lot of changes made in the name of balance that will probably put them off.

Balance Rating: 7/10


7. ORIGINALITY

Here’s a mathematical equation to explain the originality value in Burnout Revenge: Fourth game in the Burnout series + released to other consoles half a year ago + port for the X-Box 360 = Duh.

Okay, the online Revenge Rivals are pretty interesting, but otherwise, it’s the exact same game as its older siblings. Prettier does not equal newer. You’re not going to find anything shockingly different here.

Originality Rating: 2/10


8. ADDICTIVENESS

BR’s definitely addictive, largely due to the insane amount of destruction you can cause. Blowing stuff up never really gets old, no matter how often you do it. Whether you’re driving through traffic knocking the crap out of other cars, smacking opponents into walls, or flinging yourself off of ramps into gas trucks, it’s all a knock-down drag-out blast to play. BR tends to reward nearly every one of your accomplishments with new tracks, races, and cars, so there’s plenty of reason to keep on playing just a little more to get that Perfect Rank. Whether you’re playing online or off, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to play just one more race before you go to bed or whatever, if nothing else just to see what you can destroy next.

Addictiveness Rating: 8/10


9. APPEAL FACTOR

Well, it’s YET ANOTHER racing game for the 360, so that diminishes the value somewhat. It’s also a port of a half-a-year old game, so knock against that. On the other hand, it’s Burnout, on a brand new console, with updated visuals, so that might convince a lot of people to check it out. And on the off chance you missed BR on other consoles, this is far and away the best version of the game available, so if you avoided it for some reason, this is definitely the version for you. If, on the other hand, you’ve played and beaten it before, you’re going to find nothing here to draw you back in.

Appeal Rating: 6/10


10. MISCELLANEOUS

Well, after playing Project Gotham Racing 3, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Ridge Racer 6 and Full Auto, I’m pretty much burned out on 360 racing games, so one more, no matter how good it is, is still a bit much. I also fall into the camp of people who liked B3 over BR, largely due to the fact that it felt more arcade-oriented and less race-oriented. That said, BR definitely has a place in my collection, if only because it’s a HD-ready version of a game that involves crashing into traffic and blowing everything the hell up. Really, it’s hard to not like something that does what BR does in High Definition. It’s good to see that EA put the time and effort into developing a game that was at least something more than a direct port of BR to the 360, and if future 360 efforts show this much dedication, so much the better. All in all, it’s ultimately the same game, fine-tuned for the 360, but considering it’s a first-gen title, that’s not so bad. It’s by no means enough of a reason to drop $60 on a game you already own, but it’s definitely worth picking up if you haven’t yet.

Miscellaneous Rating: 6/10

The Scores:
Game Modes: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Control/Gameplay: 8/10
Replayability: 9/10
Balance: 7/10
Originality: 2/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Appeal: 6/10
Miscellaneous: 6/10

Overall Score: 6.8/10
Final Score: 7.0 (GOOD).

Short Attention Span Summary
If you’ve played Burnout Revenge in the past six months, there’s little reason to buy another version. That said, this is easily the best version on the market, and if you’re a hardcore Burnout fan, you might find enough here to justify jumping into it again. For players who’ve yet to play Burnout Revenge at all, of course, this is a solid investment you’ll spend plenty of time with. Definitely worth a rental, in either case.