- Title: Burnout: Revenge
- Developer: Criterion Games
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- System: Xbox (PS2, 360)
- Reviewer: Zonk
- Score: 9/10
Boost is used in a different way in Crash mode, which has seen some significant overhauls. The purpose is still the same: throw yourself into a well-trafficked area with the purpose of destroying as many cars as possible. Upon starting a Crash event the changes are immediately obvious. There is now an acceleration bar that allows you to gain a fast start. A gauge on the bar rises and falls, waiting for you to hit a button. There are two green zones on the bar, and the idea is to hit the button in the middle of the top green zone and again as the gauge falls through the lower of the green zones. If you time it right you'll get a huge burst of speed, and consequently will be able to do that much more damage. While it takes a few tries to get the hang of it, the bar adds some thought to the mindless destruction. Another improvement is the removal of the iconography from Crash mode. While there were once (x3) and ($) symbols hanging in the air, there is now nothing between you and the cars. Scoring big in Crash mode now requires that you use your Crashbreaker on as many cars as possible. The Crashbreaker is an explosive device that goes off after you've passed a set amount of destruction. After a crash your score accrues while your Boost bar fills. Once you've maxed out your Boost bar, a quick tapping mini-game ensues until your Boost overflows. Then the shockwave hits. While before you received multipliers from the icons you hit during the crash, now you gain multipliers for each car affected by the blast. This can result in ludicrously high scores if you detonate in the middle of a large car pile. All these changes add up to a smarter, more entertaining Crash mode.
Track design in Burnout 3 tended towards atmosphere over innovation. Revenge tracks have all the atmosphere of previous title, but with more thought put into their layout. Tracks now have shortcuts laid running through them, allowing you the chance to cut off some curves and turns by diving between the convenient blue lights marking their entrances. These shave a lot of time off of your laps, and usually go through some interesting places you wouldn't otherwise be able to see from the main track. Courses have verticality to them now as well, with jumps and ramps being a part of the Burnout experience. There's even a new Vertical Takedown reward for managing to slam into someone from above.
Gameplay on the tracks has some new twists as well. Traffic checking is an entertaining activity that allows you to slam into NPC cars from behind and send them flying. Besides getting barriers out of the way, a checked car that flies into an opponent might net you a Takedown. Takedowns lead to the reason behind the word Revenge in the title of the game, as well. In a heated match if an opponent manages to take you out he earns the rival designation, and his marker indicator turns red. Taking out your new rival nets you more Boost than a normal Takedown otherwise would, and after a few Revenge Takedowns you'll start getting more recognition. The additional elements added to the basic gameplay make for a simple element of strategy, as you try to hit your opponents with checked vehicles and specifically target Takedowns at your rival NPCs. Which is more difficult than it used to be, because NPCs have gotten a mental facelift in the past year. They're smarter, and extremely aggressive. At the same time, they've also been given lessons in fairness. One of the frustrations of Burnout 3 was the occasional dead race, where you'd find yourself behind for the entire event because of one mistake early in the first lap. In a title like Burnout, which emphasizes collisions and entertainment over simulation, that was extremely frustrating. The opponents in Revenge are aggressive racers, but you'll never find yourself completely out of the pack. Races are always hard won, with the other racers making you earn every event you conquer.
All of these event modes come together in the World Tour, which is a trimmed down version of the three-map interface in Burnout 3. All events are gathered together under a certain rank designator. Your rank starts at 1, and as you complete events with varying medals you accrue stars towards higher ranks. Collect enough stars, and you move up to the next rank. Within each rank is a group of locations, and at each location is a series of events. Events can be run backwards or forwards, so you may find yourself running on a particular track several times over the course of a rank, each time doing a different event or going a different direction. As events are successfully completed, you earn higher ranks and unlock content within the game. New events are unlocked through your success, as are new vehicles, trophies, and mementoes of spectacular moves you've made. The feeling of movement and accomplishment on the track is transferred to the game's framework, as you move up in ranks and add notches in your belt.
Revenge is also pleasant to listen to. The game's sound effects backup the sense of speed that the visuals portray, with revving engines, squealing tires, and grinding metal placing you squarely in the moment. The soundtrack has shared elements with Burnout 3, the popular music of today headlining with a slightly more metal edge than the pop-flavoured tunes of the previous game. To be honest, after an hour or two listening to the game's default soundtrack I started using the custom soundtrack feature. E.S. Posthumus's "Unearthed" is surprisingly appropriate for epic racing and car crashes. Thankfully, the most annoying aspect of Burnout 3's soundscape has been removed. There is no DJ radio announcer in the game. A woman's voice welcoming you to the game and giving you instructions during tutorials is the only voice-over work you'll have to deal with.