Burnout Revenge PS2 Review

Not a lot needs to be said about Burnout 3, only that it was a huge departure from the two games that came before it and that it was an absolute dream to play. Criterion certainly had their work cutout in creating a follow up to silence Burnout 3’s heated engine, but Revenge shockingly manages to do this and almost makes Burnout 3 seem like a 7/10 in comparison. Yes, it’s that’s good!

The huge World Tour mode makes a welcome return, boasting various events and a host of cars and tracks to unlock. The “Revenge” moniker fits the game perfectly, with a new emphasis on the settling of scores. When a rival forcefully pushes you toward a nasty and unforgiving object, it results in a beautiful crash (Takedown!), and particularly since the third game, this is something that Burnout has always done so well. In a similar situation, you would have no doubt sworn revenge on an opponent during races on the third game, although gaining yourself some payback on an opponent here will earn you some points that go towards your revenge ranking, eventually resulting in the unlocking of new tracks and events.

The World Tour mode isn’t the only thing to have had some serious rethinking behind it, as Burnout Revenge is full of new ideas for the brash series. Crashing was previously a concern, whichever way you looked at it, but with Revenge it’s often easy to avoid a spectacular collision with the innocent traffic. This is due to the introduction of traffic checking, which allows you to decimate most of the vehicles that are heading in the same direction of your own speeding motor. Crashing is still possible of course, as the bigger vehicles such as busses and trucks simply don’t have any give in them, nor do the traffic travelling towards you (which still grants you a most valuable helping of boost if you are driving that way) or horizontally. Not forgetting your racing rivals, who are always on the track to assure that “not crashing” simply isn’t the case.

Traffic checking isn’t only there to make it through traffic unscathed, as if you are good enough then you are able to knock those poor innocent vehicles out of the way like bowling pins and straight into an unfortunate opponent, thus resulting in scoring yourself a takedown. It’s tough though, and is obviously easiest to achieve when you are travelling along narrow roads with little space for your opponent/s to manoeuvre in.

The tracks have always been a strong point of the Burnout series, and Revenge continues this trend, the results are some of the most enjoyable and intense tracks we have ever raced on in such an arcade-style racing title. The tracks are now rife with jumps, shortcuts and increased Takedown opportunities, which collectively alter the balance of races, and makes the linear racing seen in the previous games seem rather sterile in comparison. There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as slipping into a nippy shortcut and making headway in your race position, or hitting a high jump and landing straight on top of one of your always-hostile opponents.

New events include Crashbreaker races, a variant of the normal racing, which allows you to explode your car after crashing (a feature which was previously only available in the crash mode) and hopefully take an opponent down with you. The radius of the explosion ties in with the amount of speed boost currently in your bar, and also earns you some if you give your opponents a wakeup call by blowing them sky high. Then there’s Traffic Attack, which sees you racing against the clock and earning time by smashing up rush hour traffic and stringing combos together, it’s a fun mode, which is definitely good for stress relief. Finally, the Eliminator races have been immensely improved, and now the unfortunate racer in last position is removed from the race every 30 seconds, which is sure to quicken the pace of any heartbeat and hopefully your wheels!

The much loved crash mode also has plenty of “token” improvements. Gone are the score multipliers, and in comes even more catastrophic destruction. It’s now possible to blow your engine at the start of a crash attempt, which results in much laughter from your invisible audience. Suitable cheers meanwhile accompany crashes, and you can now pump up the crashbreaker to expand the radius of destruction caused by the explosion.

The much-maligned online mode of Burnout 3 is put to rest, and in place is a much improved interface. This time you possess a race and crash rating, which rises through time and unlocks cars and tracks in the process. The brilliant online mode is only marred by some occasional nasty cases of lag, which amusingly makes the game go even faster, thus making races barely playable to say the least.

Burnout Revenge is the embodiment of chaos and speed, and this is further intensified by some wonderful tracks, which are comprised of cool shortcuts and wild jumps. We would have been content if this sequel had been more of the same, but Criterion have done wonders, and the results are an immense improvement over the previous games.