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ups: great graphics, retouched sound, cosmetic improvements
downs: basically the same game as the Xbox version

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Criterion Takes Revenge on the 360
gone gold
game: Burnout: Revenge
four star
posted by: Tristan Mayshark
publisher: EA Games
developer: Criterion
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date posted: 02:02 PM Sun Mar 26th, 2006
last revision: 08:53 AM Mon Mar 27th, 2006

Click to read.Several months ago I had the chance to review Burnout: Revenge for the XBox, and I quite liked it. In some ways I felt it was a step backwards from Burnout 3, especially in areas of interface / navigation, but I gave the game 3 stars and a solid recommendation.

Burnout: Revenge for the XBox 360 is essentially the same game that was sold for the XBox under the same name. Sure, the graphics have been retouched, as well as several other things that I will discuss in the next few paragraphs, but this is, in all honesty, the same game as its XBox incarnation. This didn\'t stop me from dropping the $60 for the 360 version on release day, which stands as a testament to how much I enjoyed playing through Revenge on the XBox: not only am I willing to play through this game twice, I\'m willing to pay to do so!

For those unfamiliar with the Burnout series, each successive game (Burnout, Burnout 2, Burnout 3: Takedown and Burnout: Revenge) has evolved the formula for automotive destruction. In the first two games, the emphasis was mostly on pure racing, with an implicit understanding that doing reckless things like driving in the wrong lane and narrowly avoiding accidents would give you \"boost\" (\'turbo\' or \'n2o\' in any other racing game). Burnout 3: Takedown added to the mix a crash mode where the express goal of each level is to do as much damage as possible, and Burnout: Revenge upped the amount of destruction even further by allowing you to ram non-oncoming traffic without causing accidents.

So, as on the XBox, the essence of Revenge is destruction. Cars can be knocked out of your way and completely obliterate whole lines of opponents\' vehicles. The crash levels are larger, and even more expansive (and expensive!) than in Burnout 3: Takedown. In addition to the basic race and crash modes, there is a \"traffic attack\" mode where you must ram traffic to prevent your timer from running out, and a mode where you must take out your opponents as many times as possible.

All of this has survived the translation from the XBox to the 360 perfectly, though a few changes have been made to elate second-purchaser-players like myself. Burnout: Revenge on the XBox introduced to the crash mode a boost meter that was very similar to a \"tee off\" meter from a golf game. If you did not time it perfectly, you would not get a fast start into the level. Since the crash levels are mostly timing based puzzles that involve being in the right place when the right amount of traffic is there, this usually meant that if a player did not get the \'perfect start\', they would immediately restart the level. Criterion apparently listened to fans in this regard, because the boost meter is gone, giving you the \'perfect start\' every time.

Another area that\'s been cleaned up is getting \'takedowns\' (causing your enemies to crash). In the XBox version of Revenge, getting a takedown was usually as simple as bashing into the back of your opponent\'s car once or twice, which seemed more than a little silly (especially when you consider that when they would ram YOUR bumper, they would still get taken down 75% of the time). Takedowns seem to be consistantly harder to get in the XBox 360 version of Revenge, a change I welcome.

\'Aftertouch takedowns\', or steering your wrecked car in slow motion into opponent\'s cars, also seems to have been tightened up, in that you do not have as much control over what direction your car moves in after a crash. It\'s still quite possible to get aftertouch takedowns, but you have to think about them a bit differently and take them for granted much less.

Another complaint some people had with Burnout: Revenge on the XBox was that traffic disappeared virtually as soon as you drove past it. This has been improved to some degree, but looking in your rear-view after a large crash will still reveal that the game is cleaning up a lot of things after you blaze past them. I\'m sure this is a case of sacrificing stuff in the rear-view so that stuff in the front of the car can be rendered properly, but it\'s a little distracting.

Overall, the game looks much better than it did on the Xbox, and quite similar to the way NFS: Most Wanted looks on the 360 (although Revenge seems to deliver an overall more consistent 60 FPS than NFS: Most Wanted did). Played in HD mode, the crashes look shiny and realistic enough to cause some degree of anxiety for players (like me) who have spent significant amounts of their lives crashing cars in the real world. Also adding to the realism is a completely rebuilt audio system that really makes the cars sound like cars, and the crashes sound like crashes. As with Revenge on the Xbox, though, I sorely miss the \"slow motion sound of metal scraping\" that Burnout 3 gave you during slow motion crashes.

All of the modes that are available in single player are available in multiplayer, either through local games, XBox live, or system link connections. Revenge is not compatible on Live with the Xbox version, which makes sense because it has entirely new stat tracking which includes keeping track of who you have \"rivalries\' with (basically people that you have caused to crash in a race, or vice versa). While the new stats are fun to look at, I can\'t help but wonder why this was something that\'s exclusive to the Xbox 360, as it doesn\'t require much console horsepower to keep track of a list.

Finally, the load screens look less \'dead\' than in the XBox version. This was a personal issue I had, I just do not care for the look and feel of the Burnout: Revenge GUI on the Xbox. It\'s been changed on the 360, and I find it less grating to look at. The basic system of sets of levels that unlock other sets of levels (for a total of 10 sets) is the same as on the XBox, and this still feels like a step backwards from the excellent \"Crash Nav\" world map that Burnout 3 had. This is a pretty minor complaint, though, since locating unbeaten levels and basic navigation is simple anyway.

All in all, I am completely satisfied with Burnout: Revenge on the 360. They took what was already a great game, and polished up the edges. Gamers who have never had the chance to experience this series should absolutely play this game, and even other people who already own Burnout: Revenge for the XBox may find this to be a worthwhile purchase -- I know I did.

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