Six months ago, EA and Criterion released the fourth game in the Burnout series, Burnout Revenge. The game made some interesting refinements to the Burnout formula and was, generally speaking, totally radical. Now, Burnout Revenge is making an appearance on the Xbox 360 with better graphics, a bevy of new sound effects, and a few minor tweaks and tunings that tighten up the whole game a little bit. If you're late to the Burnout party, this is a great time to get involved and bust up some cars. But if you've spent the last six months playing Burnout Revenge on the Xbox or the PlayStation 2, there probably isn't enough new content here to get you excited all over again.
Burnout Revenge keeps track of your online rivalries, so you know if you have history with another driver.
Before we get into a description of what Burnout Revenge is all about, let's cover the new stuff in the Xbox 360 version. This one brings back full replays of each race. You can scan through the replays using basic, VCR-like controls and even clip and save 30-second snippets of your replays. You can then share these clips over Xbox Live, and there's a whole online clip vault, complete with rankings for the most-watched clips. Unfortunately, your camera control over the action is limited to a few preset viewpoints. A free-roaming camera option probably would have made this feature a little more entertaining.
Back on the Xbox and the PS2, crash mode started out with a golf swing-like meter that required you to hit buttons while the meter was in proper zones to get the best start. It was a neat idea, but it eventually led to you restarting right away anytime you didn't get that best start. On the Xbox 360, you get the best start every time, automatically.
The most obvious overhaul in this version of the game is in its presentation. The graphics have been given a nice bump up to bring them more in line with "next-generation" standards. The car models look nice and, most importantly, blast apart into a billion tiny pieces when they crash into stuff. For cars that are constantly crashing and getting dented up, though, they look a little too shiny. That said, the game's Xbox and PS2 roots show a bit, so the game doesn't look quite as impressive as some of the games that were developed from the ground up for Microsoft's new console. Additionally, the game looks overly dark on some display setups. The sound was one of the high points in the older versions of the game, and it's been vastly overhauled, as well. You'll hear every little scrape and bump. The engine noises are loud, and when you kick in the turbo boost, it sounds like afterburners kicking in. Even stuff like the noises that are made when you earn medals or time ticking down has been completely changed. The sound was already awesome, but the changes made to the 360 version make the action sound even more satisfying and dramatic.
The final and most significant change made to this version of Burnout Revenge affects its online play. As the game puts it, the online mode has a "long memory" for rivalries between players. As you take out other players in online events, the game starts to keep a tally of how many times you've caused a player to crash. That player then sees you as red on their player list, knowing that there's a score to be settled. But it all works in streaks, so if you bust someone up 20 times, they'll still only need to get revenge on you once to settle the score. This doesn't really make a huge change to how you play the game, since your ultimate focus is still on winning the race, but the way the game calls attention to other players makes the revenge aspect of the game much more interesting.
Like all Xbox 360 games, Burnout Revenge has a series of achievements that trigger the console's gamerpoints system. This game has a lot of separate achievements to get, some of which are as simple as uploading or recommending a replay clip. One achievement asks you to settle the score with one online opponent 100 times. So if you're hoping to get the full 1,000 points out of this one, it'll probably take you some time...or at least some online accomplices willing to let you win.
So if you're already familiar with Burnout Revenge on other systems, that's all you need to know. The changes are interesting, and if you're looking to play more of the game, this is the version to play. An additional race course or two would have been nice, but as it stands, it's probably not different enough to get you hooked on the game all over again. But if you aren't already intimately familiar with Burnout Revenge, there's more you need to know.
Burnout Revenge is the fourth game in a racing series that has put its focus on extremely high speeds and gnarly, car-disintegrating wrecks. You'll spend most of your offline time crashing your way through the world tour mode, which presents the game's different events while you work your way through multiple ranks, unlocking additional events and cars along the way.
The primary split is between crash events and races. Crash levels put you in a very specific spot, with traffic laid out ahead of you. It's your job to figure out where and when the optimal crash spot occurs and then crash your car accordingly, which usually sets off an insane chain reaction, resulting in ridiculous and glorious multivehicle pileups. Your goal varies from level to level, but it's always a dollar amount, so you'll have to cause as much damage as possible to reach those dollar amounts. Helping you to cause as much destruction as possible is the crashbreaker, a cool addition that lets you blow up your car once enough havoc has been wreaked. In some levels, you'll be able to pop off two or three crashbreakers in one attempt, if you're especially good at causing mayhem. The crash mode isn't quite as white-knuckle as the races are, but it's still pretty exciting. The Xbox 360 version has much faster load times than the previous versions of the game in crash mode, which makes retrying each event again and again to cause the most destruction possible more pleasant.