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How do you follow up a game like Burnout 3: Takedown? I consider it to be one of the greatest racing games of all time. The sense of speed and satisfying destruction make it both exhilarating and addictive. Once you get hooked, it’s hard to stop. Burnout 3 had me glued to my TV for days. It was technically followed up by two games; Burnout Legends and Burnout Revenge. Both released on the same day. Legends is a blending of the first three games for portable systems and I consider Revenge to be the true successor. Developed by Criterion Games and published by EA, Burnout Revenge was released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in September, 2005 and Xbox 360 in March, 2006. The 360 version includes new content and it’s the version I played for this review.
If you’ve played Burnout 3, the mechanics will be very familiar. You can accelerate, brake, and drift. Driving dangerously fills up your boost bar and you can activate a boost at any time. Performing a takedown extends your boost bar, you can steal boost from your rivals or opponents, and crashing results in losing a segment of your bar. When you do crash, you can activate impact time to steer your wreckage around the road and in certain events, you can activate a crashbreaker where your wreckage explodes causing damage to any vehicles in the blast radius. None of this is new so Burnout 3 veterans will feel right at home and newcomers should be able to easily grasp the mechanics.
There is a lot of vehicles in the game and most of them need to be unlocked. Most vehicles allow you to change their color and they all have different stats in crashbreaker force, weight, and boost speed. You should consider these stats when choosing your vehicle because they can affect your vehicle’s performance on the road. The biggest new addition in Revenge is Traffic Checking. It adds a whole new dynamic to the experience. You can now drive into traffic vehicles, pushing them out of the way, otherwise known as checking them. However, you can only check vehicles driving in the same direction as you and you will crash if you drive into any oncoming traffic vehicles or oversized vehicles like big trucks and buses. Traffic checking also grants you boost and you can take down opponents by checking traffic vehicles into them. You can still perform takedowns in the normal ways and signature and aftertouch takedowns return. One new type worth mentioning is vertical takedowns. This is when you take an opponent down from above and it’s pretty cool when you do.
When it comes to the single player, the World Tour is it. It is a little disappointing that there are no single player modes outside of World Tour but, luckily, it should keep you occupied for a while. The World Tour consists of multiple series of events. In each event, you’re rated based on your actions and driving skills in the form of stars. After earning enough stars, your rank increases and each rank comes with it’s own set of events. You complete events for medals and trophies and will unlock new events and vehicles in the process. As you progress through the World Tour, you’ll unlock faster vehicles and the sense of the speed in this game is insane. The faster vehicles are awesome but you’ll need to learn how to control them properly at high speeds or you’ll just crash a lot. Boosting becomes more important in the later events and I found that if I wasn’t boosting constantly, there was a good chance I would lose.
Most of the events in Revenge are nothing new but some have seen some changes. You’ll participate in races, Grand Prix races, burning laps, crash events, preview events, eliminator events, and my favorite, the road rage events. The Crash events are still a highlight and are just as enjoyable as they were before and this is one of the few events to be modified. The objective is still to earn as much money as possible from crashing and causing pileups. But now you have to contend with wind so a vehicle’s weight does matter. Another change is that crash junctions no longer include pickups. But target vehicles will appear and if you cause them to crash, you’ll earn bonus cash. The eliminator and road rage events have also been modified. Eliminator still works the same way except now there’s a timer. Once the timer reaches zero, the vehicle in last place is eliminated. I like this change because you don’t have to drive laps around the track resulting in a quicker and more intense race. As for road rage, they changed how time works. You don’t start with a lot of time but you can extend the time by performing a certain amount of takedowns. It’s still my favorite event type and, like eliminator, the change just makes it more intense.
There are some new event types, although most of them are just Crashbreaker variants of existing ones. For example, Crashbreaker race, crashbreaker grand prix, crashbreaker road rage, etc. The difference between these events and their standard counterparts is that when you crash, you can activate a crashbreaker and if you time it right, you can cause any opponents driving near your wreckage to crash. Despite these events not really feeling very new, going for a properly timed crashbreaker becomes addictive. Causing multiple opponents to crash at once is immensely satisfying. Revenge does introduce a brand new event not seen in any of it’s predecessors called Traffic Attack. The objective is to earn as much money as possible by checking traffic vehicles. You are timed and checking vehicles extends your time and for every lap you complete, the cash multiplier increases. It’s fun, ridiculous, and addictive. I love it.
As expected, there is rubberbanding and I found the AI to be more aggressive in Revenge than in the previous entries. Opponents are always up your ass and if one takes you down, they are marked for revenge. They will slam into you and try to make you crash and I found taking them down to not be as easy as it was in 3. However, in my experience it does get easier with the faster vehicles. AI opponents do put up a good fight and in some of the later events, one crash can be all it takes to drop you from first place to last place. You always need to be aware of your surroundings. No matter how well you drive, opponents are never too far behind you and can easily catch up if you slow down or make a mistake. They will take shortcuts and can check traffic vehicles into you so you need to be careful. Being neck and neck with an opponent and seeing traffic vehicles come flying passed you from behind is common.
The tracks in Revenge are spread across the US, Europe, and Asia. You’ll drive on highways, bridges, dirt roads, through urban areas, and more rural locations. There are shortcuts peppered throughout every track and they do make it easier to get ahead. You should take as many as you can in the burning lap events if you want the gold medals. Traffic vehicles populate the roads and there are all kinds of little objects placed on the tracks that will scatter when you drive into them.
I did play Revenge on an Xbox One and the game is presented with a border around it. I don’t think I’ve ever played any other 360 game that does this and if I did, I don’t remember. I fired up another 360 game on the Xbox One, just to confirm, and no border, so it is the game. Burnout Revenge for 360 is more detailed than its counterparts on the PS2 and Xbox. However, it released during the era of terrible bloom lighting. Any kind of light is way too bright and things often look like they’re glowing. Plus, some tracks look like they’re covered with a piss filter and there’s a lot of brown. On the plus side, the vehicles models are detailed, several vehicles are branded with logos, and vehicle models will show visible scratches after crashing or grinding. Any kind of destruction looks great. Crashes and explosions result in vehicle models appearing deformed and sparks and vehicle parts will fly through the air. Burnout Revenge is a game with an EA Trax soundtrack so it’s full of licensed songs. A lot of alternative rock. The sound effects are phenomenal. You can hear traffic vehicles zip passed you, explosions are loud, and crashes result in the sounds of metal crunching and glass breaking. On the technical side, the game ran smooth and other than some vehicles clipping through parts of the environment during crashes here and there, I encountered no major issues.
Burnout Revenge is a phenomenal racing game. I was just as addicted to this as I was to Burnout 3. I notice players will either say 3 or Revenge is the best. I still say 3 is the best. And that’s because most of what’s in Revenge isn’t new. However, what is new is certainly welcome. The Crashbreaker events, traffic checking, and new takedown types only add to the enjoyment. I did prefer the tracks in the previous game as well as the color palette. The tracks here are great and I love the addition of shortcuts but I felt the variety was better in 3. The traffic checking is easily the best new addition. You’ll have to avoid the oversized vehicles but it’s nice being able to easily drive at blistering speeds when on the correct side of the road and most traffic vehicles can basically be used as weapons. It’s crazy fun. The online servers were shut down some time ago so I did not get to try the online multiplayer. I was disappointed at the lack of single player game modes but the World Tour offers more than enough enjoyment to keep you occupied for days.
I would absolutely recommend Burnout Revenge to anyone. It’s just as fun and addictive as 3. Burnout Revenge gives you more of what you love and then some. You get to drive weaponized vehicles at blistering speeds like a maniac in a world where traffic vehicles can be punted around the roads because that’s awesome. If you like the idea of intense action-packed racing, definitely checkout Burnout Revenge.