It happens during every “transitional phase” between console generations. Titles get released on the current generation machines and then shortly thereafter a “next-gen” version is announced. Gamers who own (or subsequently acquire) the next-gen machine now have to decide whether a second purchase of a favorite game is warranted; have the developers included enough new content to justify spending another $50-$60? In most cases, the answer is no. When Spike TV’s “Best Driving Game” winner of 2005, Burnout Revenge, was announced for the Xbox 360, the feeling around the industry was a little different than usual… most were hoping that this would be the “next-gen” Burnout that had occupied the daydreams of the series’ fans. Would the new 360 version deliver the goods?
For the most part, the title delivers. The graphic quality has been turned up a notch and even though it can be considered only a marginal improvement over the Xbox and PS2 versions, it’s enough for the title to sport a distinctly “next-gen” appearance. The car models are shiny and reflective, the vehicles take believable damage in the form of dents, scrapes and scratches, and the cars break apart into many pieces when you slam into a solid object at top speed. There is a considerable amount of added detail present here and it becomes even more apparent if you were to watch the Xbox version and the Xbox 360 version side-by-side.
It seems that the developers have also added a wealth of additional sound effects to the game, and tuned or tweaked what was already present in the first versions. For starters, the surround channels have been made less aggressive than the original sound mix, and the low-frequency bass effects seem to have been made less “boomy” and a little more accurate to reality. Several of the effects have simply been changed to something that is completely different from what it sounded like in the original versions, and the new effects sound right at home, as if they were meant to be there originally.
At the end of each race or crash session, players can also view a complete replay of the entire experience and record a thirty-second clip to upload to the game’s clip gallery on Xbox Live. Players’ clips are then ranked based on how many times the clip has been viewed. An interesting adjustment has been made to the game’s crash modes, as the “redline” challenge part at the very beginning (players have to smack a button when the throttle meter hits the optimum level) has been removed altogether, leaving players with a perfect high-speed start to each crash challenge. Also, the game keeps track of all the rivalries a player gets involved in online, so that if one were to knock the same opponent out of the race many times, they would appear as a rival on that players’ version of the game.
The Burnout gameplay remains the same high-octane visceral experience it always has been, regardless of console. Revenge sports several different types of race events in the single player tour mode, including standard racing, elimination races (the player in last place explodes every thirty seconds), Road Rage races that challenge the player to take out as many opposing vehicles as possible, Traffic Attack rallies that earn a player rewards by smashing into all of the traffic traveling in the same direction, and time trial races that put players in the driver’s seat of a “prototype” car with special features.
As you progress through the races you will be awarded bronze, silver or gold medals for each, and one should definitely strive for the gold as much as possible. New vehicles and races are opened when you win races and devastate opponents. Trophies are awarded for each “unique takedown” you perform, such as smashing an opponent into a particular building. It requires split second timing and catlike reflexes to win some of these races, so expect to be on the edge of your seat the whole time!
In addition to all of the races, there are also the infamous “crash levels” in Burnout Revenge that are a great deal of fun. The object is to start off with a blast and achieve your top speed as quick as possible before you fling yourself into an intersection or pile of oncoming traffic with a view toward causing the most devastation possible. Usually the challenge in these levels is to reach a certain dollar figure amount of damage by finding the sweet spot on the map that will cause all of the oncoming traffic (in either intersections or across four lanes of a bi-directional highway) to come barreling into your vehicle and, consequently, each other. If that weren’t enough, once a certain amount of damage has been done you can activate a “crashbreaker” within your car, which basically detonates an on board bomb that causes even more damage if you aim your newly exploding (and now flying) vehicle toward traffic that may have otherwise been unreachable.
With each win of a race, your bronze, silver, or gold status dictates how many stars you will receive for that race. The final tally is then subtracted from a preset number of stars, and when you win enough races to lower that number to zero, you raise your reputation status one rank. Later on in the game, if you can raise your rank high enough, you earn the ability to activate crashbreakers during the other races, which allows you to take down rivals in the most devastating and dramatic way possible! The whole package is visually and aurally stunning, plus a ton of fun as well!
Going online is where the excitement really heats up, and the service supports six players at once going head to head in many of the race styles from the single player mode. The explosions and head on collisions can be just a bit more frightening when you know that there’s another human player on the receiving end of it.
All of this great gameplay still begs the question posed from the beginning: is Burnout Revenge for the Xbox 360 worth the money if you own one of the other console versions already? In short, no. Not surprisingly, for as good as this title looks and plays on the 360, it’s still just a prettied up version of the Xbox game from six months ago. This is not the “built from the ground up” next-gen Burnout many are clamoring for, but it definitely holds its own as the best version of the game out there. If you never owned a copy of the game and are wondering what version to get, then by all means pick up this beautifully looking, sounding and playing title for your Xbox 360. If you’ve been playing the game on your original Xbox for the last seven months or so, then there really is nothing here other than a graphical facelift and new sound effects to entice you to spend a further $60.
Burnout Revenge is one of the best games out there in terms of sheer, mindless game playing joy. It also earned the accolades it has been given across the industry. Whatever console you own, Burnout Revenge will deliver the goods at breakneck speeds one way or the other.