Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Burnout 3 (Xbox) and Burnout Revenge (PlayStation 2) Double-Feature Review

Let's face it, real life driving sucks.  As a kid, you imagined the day when you would have your own car and things it was capable of.  You dreamt of experiencing thrilling adventures and having near-death experiences, maybe your dream car was super-fast or could jump really high, but then it came crashing down once you grew up, got a driver's license, and got your own car.  Instead of dangerous driving, we have to abide by rules, or else it's a ticket, court, or worse. Besides nothing says fun like waiting through miles and miles of traffic or dealing with idiotic drivers.  Thank God for video games, and more importantly, thank God for Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge.

There's little-to-no plot in either Burnout 3 or Burnout Revenge.  As a racer in the Burnout league, your goal is to gain recognition and fame by participating in racing events set up around the world.  The more races and challenges the player completes, the more their notoriety increases.  At the end of the day, the Burnout games are about going fast, creating chaos, and having a fun time.

Both Burnout titles feature single-player and multiplayer, both split-screen and online.  Single-player is the meat of the game.  In it, gamers will participate in a multitude of racing and crash events set on continents like North America, Europe, and Asia.  Completing these unlocks more challenges, as well as cars of various shapes and sizes.  A key element of any racing game is control.  If the vehicles handle sloppily, then the racing is not fun; fortunately, Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge have tight controls, allowing for cool, fast, high-octane racing and crashing.

Single-player events are split between races and crash events.  In races, the goal is to race against AI opponents to see who finishes first, second, or third.  Variations of races include elimination, takedown, time trial and tournament.  Burnout Revenge introduces traffic attack, where players must keep the clock running by smashing into as many cars as possible.  Wrecking more cars means an extended clock and a higher sum of money when the time runs out.  What sets the Burnout series apart from other racing titles is its emphasis on wrecking other vehicles.  It's not just about winning, but also how many rivals you wreck.

For example, to gain more boost for your car, you need to takedown opponents.  This can be don by slamming them into walls or into traffic.  Takedown, one of the variations of racing, involves eliminating as many opposing racers as possible before the timer ends, but if you wreck your own car too much, then the event ends early.  Then, there's crash mode, the greatest idea ever conceived for a video game.  The goal is simple: take a ca, add in a busy lane of traffic, and let the chaos ensue.  It's "Insurance Fraud" from Saints Row, but with cars instead of people.

Crash mode is hysterical, to put it lightly, there's nothing quite rewarding as driving a sports car into oncoming traffic, watching the cars pile up, and then activating a special power called Crash-breaker that explodes the flaming wreckage that is your car, creating more anarchy.  Although it's simple enough, there is a bit of thought that goes into deciding where and how you should crash your car to achieve the highest value of money.  In Burnout 3, there are tokens scattered across each Crash event which include cash bonuses, score multipliers, or a power-up that causes an instant crash-breaker, but watch out for the broken hearts that cut your final score in half.


Burnout Revenge removes the power-ups, but before a Crash event, players can choose what car to smash.  Vehicles have different weight, which plays an important role in stages with ramps or wind present.  Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge are both quality racers.  With numerous options for both single-player and multiplayer, as well as fun racing and an emphasis on being reckless while driving, there's a lot to enjoy.  Does it get repetitive?  Yes.  After a few hours of playing, the art of crashing and winning first place can grow boring, but it never morphs into full-on monotony.

While the games are over ten years old, the graphics have held up exceptionally well.  The cars look great, the framerate is smooth, and there's a lot of detail put into the crashes you're bound to witness dozens of times playing either title.  There are no glitches, per say, but I did encounter a bug in Burnout 3 where a car I was using in Crash mode got launched into the sky by a fuel tanker before falling through the environment and getting stuck in limbo.  Surprisingly, I still got silver on this particular stage.


Sound is also excellent.  The cars are loud, and the whooshing of the vehicles as they bob and weave through traffic and through alleyways and tunnels really sells the fast, intense nature of the races.  The music is energetic and sports a varied soundtrack of high-octane tunes that keep the blood pumping, although Burnout 3 could use some more songs from The Ramones.

Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge are good games.  It does what a title from the racing genre should do, and that is offer intense thrills from racing against other opponents, but what gives the games a leg up against similar titles is the emphasis on causing mayhem with said cars.  As fun as the racing is, Crash mode is where the games truly shine.  Taking a rare sports car and sending it flying into traffic never gets old.  Although it can get a bit tiresome, both Burnout games are still worth your time.  Just remember don't try any of the insane driving in real life.


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