• Lets face it. We all have a soft spot in our hearts for the tried and true genre that is the racing game. Fine tuning your car’s specs to perfection. Buying up all of the hottest body mods to separate your beast from the crowd. And, of course, the precise accuracy in the way your ride handles when comparing it to it’s real-world counterpart. Well, throw all that out the window because entering the ring is the newest addition to the ever popular sport of racing: Electronic Arts’ Burnout Revenge!

    For the record, to refer to this title as a racing game is like saying that Bob Dylan has a lovely singing voice. True, Burnout Revenge includes races in it’s package, but the true heart of this game is destruction. Pure, unadulterated mayhem. You could almost put Revenge in the category of an FPS because the only real difference is that your shotgun has been replaced with whatever automobile you happen to be sitting in. The entire series has pretty much set the bar for destruction-style driving and this latest addition only serves to raise that bar higher.

    By far, one of the best additions in Revenge is the ability to “check traffic”. This puts into play any vehicles traveling in the same direction as you are. Whiplash? Who cares!! I need to get somewhere NOW and this dweeb in the minivan is just taking up valuable space out here!! Of course, the visual stimulation that one gets while watching the vehicles you tag pinball off in every direction really gets the adrenaline pumping. The physics in the game are outstanding as well. Cars don’t just go spinning off in random fashion. Point of impact and speed both determine the path the unfortunate one takes when hit. Make contact on the right rear corner and the vehicle shoots out to the left. Hit them at full speed and they might even take flight. It’s quite the rush knocking someone high into the sky ahead of you, then racing ahead and passing them before they even hit the ground. I have to admit though, when I ran my first few events, the old instincts of dodging and weaving around traffic kicked in until I finally retrained myself and took full advantage of the new found freedom. Not only is it a great deal of fun to smack around the Sunday drivers, each hit adds to your boost meter so the small drop in MPH you suffer on contact is offset buy the turbo speed you gain. Other targets like construction signs, traffic barrels and quaint café-style layouts all sit just waiting to be obliterated.Â

    Burnout: Revenge

    Another great addition to the title are the many shortcuts placed throughout the tracks. These are indicated by blue lights atop posts on either side of the shortcuts entrance. Memorizing their locations can effectively shave precious time off of your laps but there are a few risks. Entrances are a bit narrow which makes precision a key. Also, a number of them contain obstacles such as dumpsters and pillars just waiting to take you off the pace. There is an art to mastering their usage that I have yet to attain. But when I do, look out!

    The graphics in Revenge are terrific and further add to the proof that EA has figured out how to get the most from the 360’s processing powerhouse. All of the generic vehicles in the game (no you won’t find an Enzo Ferrari in this one) look great. Sparks fly as metal contacts metal. Visuals like road surfaces and painted lines look fantastic as well. You’ll also find a number of peripheral items like the overhead highway signs and streetlights that help to create the illusion of reality, albeit a very far fetched reality. A noticeable blur effect adds to the sensation of pure speed that the Burnout series is so famous for and the frame-rate is just stellar. If you find yourself uttering maniacal little giggles as you rip through all that gets in your way, don’t be ashamed. It’s to be expected.

    Experiencing this game in 5.1 surround sound is definitely the way to go. The sound of shattering glass and twisting metal are second only to the earth rumbling explosions you get when you detonate your car after attaining crash breaker status. Tanker trucks can be a bit of fun as well as these have a tendency to blow when contacted at high speeds. Rear speaker sounds give a true reflection of events taking place on either side of you. Passing cars on your right sounds like passing cars on your right. The soundtrack is impressive as well, with a large collection of mostly alternative rock songs from such artists as Yellowcard, The All-American Rejects and The Chemical Brothers. My personal favorite is the funky remix of the classic Doors tune Break on Through (To the Other Side). Fast licks couple up nicely with the fast action.

    Single player modes have changed slightly from the ones in Burnout 3 as well as some of the game’s terminology. Time Attack, Road Rage, Race and the infamous Crash events are all present. In addition to those, a new mode entitled Traffic Attack has been added. This mode puts you up against the clock with the goal of checking as much traffic as you can before time runs out. Contacting your fellow drivers adds time to the counter so the key is to hit everything in site. The scoring system rates you with stars awarded at the end of each event based on your driving ability, what level you finished the event at (Gold, Silver or Bronze) and of course, overall destruction. Once you have accumulated enough stars, you increase your rank and open up new and harder sets of events. Ranking up in the early stages moves along fairly quick as I managed to level up twice in just under an hour, but it’s the events themselves that contain the fun here. Another great change is the ability to trigger more than one crash breaker explosion, provided that the destruction you cause can fill the meter a second time. A “target car” has also been added to the Crash events and getting it involved boosts your overall numbers.

    Multiplayer offers up five different modes of play. Straight up races, Road Rage where players are divided up into alternating Red and Blue teams. Red team members work to eliminate the Blue team before one of them can complete the race. There are also three Crash modes, which for me were the most enjoyable of all. Players compete to see who can rack up the highest dollar value of damage by using their vehicle as a battering ram through congested areas and then detonating it once the crash breaker meter is full. Even with all of the graphic eye-candy going on in most of these events, I am happy to report that I never came across an instance of lag problems. Another interesting feature is the new Live Revenge which keeps track of the players that have “done you wrong” online. Settle the score by taking out a rival and your revenge is sweet.

    The title is certainly the best in the series in every way. With 36 achievements and a ton of single player events, it should keep gamers busy for a while. Still, once the magic wears off, this is a game that could very well see a lot of shelf time, being occasionally picked up between completions of other in depth games. It’s possible that the strength of it’s online play might keep it popular for a while, but there is a lot of competition out there already and more to come. It offers up the best in carnage style racing without a doubt, I just question how long it can hold players attention span.

    As a side note to all of the Bob Dylan fans I managed to annoy with my earlier comments, you must admit that yes he is a singer (and a phenomenal songwriter) but a lovely voice? C’mon!

    About The Author