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Jess Ragan

Burnout: Revenge (of the Optimistic Reviewers)

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I have this sneaking suspicion that in another year, all the game reviewers that were singing the praises of Burnout: Revenge are going to look back and think twice about their optimism.

 

It happened with WipeOut Fusion... IGN was telling Playstation 2 owners that it was the best thing to happen to the series in years, only to recant years later when WipeOut Pure was released for the PSP. Suddenly, the game that received a 9.0 in 2002 became "mediocre" and broken, and a blight on the WipeOut name.

 

I see the same thing happening with Burnout: Revenge. Sure, journalists are enormored with the game now, but a year later, when the next generation consoles are released and a lot of that visual luster no longer shines as brightly, they're going to look back and see some serious problems with its design.

 

Problems like an overreliance on cut scenes and full-motion video. You see a lot of stylish intermissions before, after, and even during each event, but as flashy as they are, all they succeed in doing is interrupting the flow of the game.

 

The worst instance of this is during the crash mode, where you're forced to endure what I like to call "red rewind". After every crash attempt, or even if you abort one, you're forced to sit back and wait five to ten seconds as the screen takes on a scarlet hue and the camera surveys a half mile of traffic. There's no way to skip this scene. You just have to wait until the rewind takes you back to your vehicle.

 

Speaking of the crash mode, new features have been added to spice it up, but all they do is drag it down. You start your car with a curved meter similar to the one in most golf games... stop the gauge as it passes through the green marks on both sides of the meter and you get a boost. Miss the marks and you'll crawl from the starting position, temporarily lose control of your vehicle, or even blow up before the event can begin. If you mess up, guess what? You get to sit through the red rewind again, and who knows how long THAT will take?

 

The other modes are better, but they suffer from a lack of visibility. You'll be swarmed by your rivals in the races, making it damned near impossible to see what's hiding behind the next hill. The new, darker color palette doesn't help matters much... when there's a hazy yellow object sitting against a light brown horizon, it's hard to tell whether it's just part of the road or a dangerous obstacle until you've ran into it.

 

Finally, there's the issue of traffic checking. Same way traffic no longer poses a threat to you... you can just push those pesky cars away, either off the road or into your racing rivals. It sounds cool at first, but it's easily abused, and only adds to the aforementioned visibility problems. In the traffic attack mode, the screen frequently fills with the debris of your victims. This would be a problem if the traffic attack events had anything resembling challenge, but the only real risk you face is finding yourself hopelessly bored after you've plowed through over seventy completely harmless cars.

 

Burnout: Revenge isn't a terrible game. The graphics are great, even with the less vibrant color palette, and the cars handle well enough. It's just that the Burnout series is starting to suffer from its own wicked excess, the same way Tony Hawk did when Activision unwisely transformed it from an arcade action game to an extreme sports RPG, complete with demanding non-player characters and obnoxious fetch quests.

 

When is more too much? When it's Burnout: Revenge. The game reviewers who have showered the game with undeserved praise will all realize this in a year, but by then a lot of players will have spent fifty dollars on a Burnout title that's worse than its budget-priced predecessor.

 

JR

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I like it. I've never really enjoyed the crash mode though, and I still don't really. I think the red rewind thing is just instead of a 'Now loading' screen.

 

I think it's an improvement over Burnout 3, in an EA kind of way. Though you're right about all the cutscenes. Everything you do results in a cutscene, thank god you can turn off the takedown replays.

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I almost have it beat and I beat Burnout 3. Thanks god its different. Now as for looking back in a year it might not look as good but who cares. As for the starting boost bar in the crash mode I like it since many times way into the game getting to much speed makes you jump to far so it has to be started slower but not to slow.

You are correct about the backwards time thing added but remember in #3 the long load times its the same but now If you stop the camera on the way back you can look around and see what you missed.

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I think this is all a bit harsh. Sure, the 'red rewind' thing on crash mode is a trifle annoying but overall, this is the game that Burnout 3 should have been.

The crash mode is better than ever, the multi level races are truly exciting, which, alongside the more generous boost meter and ability to plough through same-side traffic, makes for some really fast races.

The annoying commentator has gone, the new car designs are excellent, crashbreaker in races is hilarious and the AI doesn't seem to cheat anything like as much as in B3. And Bloc Party on the soundtrack, yay!

 

Sure, no game is perfect. I would have liked replays but I'm sure there were good technical reasons for leaving them out. Oh, and bring back the wonderful vertical-split screen two player mode (for widescreen TV's) that was in B2. I miss that.

 

And I haven't even started on the visuals. My god. I really think that the first wave of the next gen console games are going to have a tough time looking as good as the best of this one. The reflection effects on the cars and the environments in this game are absolutely stunning!

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BO4 is better than BO3 but they utterly pale in comparison to the first two in the series...

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Oh yeah, absolutely. Burnout 2 is just my favourite and still gets loads of play. That said, B1 and 2 have so little in common with 3 and 4 that they might as well be different games altogether.

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I'll say it's the best burnout game so far. I love the fact that the focus across the entire game involves crashing to some degree. It's just an awesome looking, fun to play game.

 

With that said, I aggree with Jess 100% on the cutscenes and "red rewind" and those related points. I absolutly HATE and DESPISE the fact that much of that can not be aborted. It DOES get in the way of gameplay and hinders your abailty to quickly learn/correct in subsequent retries. You're left with way to much time to be distracted by forced eyecandy that kills your groove. This is the only, albeit signifigant, issue with the game AFAIC.

 

Beyond that, lovin it. 22 more points to reach rank 11. :)

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Here's a review I wrote for the Uni paper on it:

 

Burnout: Revenge

Multi (PS2 version reviewed)

 

My vision is hazy. My breath is chilli sauce, salad – no onions - and Stella. A car explodes in front of my face, forcing me to send a precision engineered hunk of plastic molding to the floor in rage. Standing up, I hunch over and leer angrily at the blue LED blinding my eyes, prodding near it with a clumsy finger. This is the world of of post-Pub gaming. A world where Burnout is king.

 

Burnout 3 was a marvelous toy; Criterion took the corpse of the arcade racing genre and humped it back to life, adding more vigor and shine to its reanimated frame then it had ever seen. Yet, with all the innovation already in the series is there anything that can be stapled on top of this, the fourth game, that will keep the offering fresh without confusing and hiding the gameplay?

 

The most tangible change in Revenge is the new rules for crashing; unlike previously you can now takedown standard traffic, sending the wreckage flying towards rivals or other traffic for more elaborate crashes. Unfortunately, however, knowing what you can take and what will take you is often difficult to fathom, leaving you wrapped around the side of a bus watching your mates cruise past, chuckling away.

 

Returning for this iteration is the standard bevy of multiplayer options, which is where the heart of the game lies. The game does suffer in split-screen on a portable, but some modes offer a controller swap system. Little is new on this front, but was never broken.

 

Graphically the game hasn't received any polish either, but as is is still pushing the limits of what this generation can handle, with blurring, reflections and particle effects challenging most mid-range PCs.

 

With the previous game, Takedown, on offer for less than fifteen notes in most stores there's very little more bang for your bucks in Revenge. The game is great, but the spondoolies are only worth forking out for fans of the series or those feeling spendy. Unfortunately the premise is starting to feel worn and dragged out, stopping this game from being truly awesome.

 

7

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I think that they dropped the ball by adding the ability to "check" traffic. It's not only utterly unrealistic, it just kills the tension of the game.

 

I also hate the red rewind, and the fact that they actually took out features, such as a replay of your crash in crash mode. Add in the bugginess (combustion engine, not spontaneously combustable cars), and I think that the game definitely has its flaws.

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I think that they dropped the ball by adding the ability to "check" traffic. It's not only utterly unrealistic, it just kills the tension of the game. 

 

I admit I haven't played Burnout Revenge, but this is the main reason why. I've seen footage of this in action and I just cannot imagine that it would do anything but absolutely ruin this game. What's the point of a street racing game if you can just plow through the traffic? Every good street racing game I've ever played (including Burnout 3) has used avoiding traffic as a major gameplay element. Burnout 3 did it probably better than any other because your opponents had to worry about it too, meaning forcing your opponents into the traffic was a viable tactic.

 

I'm not a guy that thinks an arcade racing game like Burnout needs to be utterly realistic, but I also agree that this is a little too far over the top. Even arcade racing games have to be somewhat grounded in reality. You can have exaggerated speed and handling, and fantastical courses, but you cannot alter the basic laws of driving and still make a fun game. Avoiding obstacles is one of the biggest elements that creates the excitement and danger in any racing game.

 

(The crash mode is obviously a different story, but you've only gotta crash once in that mode and then it's over. You're not running an actual race.)

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I think that they dropped the ball by adding the ability to "check" traffic. It's not only utterly unrealistic, it just kills the tension of the game. 

 

I admit I haven't played Burnout Revenge, but this is the main reason why. I've seen footage of this in action and I just cannot imagine that it would do anything but absolutely ruin this game. What's the point of a street racing game if you can just plow through the traffic? Every good street racing game I've ever played (including Burnout 3) has used avoiding traffic as a major gameplay element. Burnout 3 did it probably better than any other because your opponents had to worry about it too, meaning forcing your opponents into the traffic was a viable tactic.

 

I'm not a guy that thinks an arcade racing game like Burnout needs to be utterly realistic, but I also agree that this is a little too far over the top. Even arcade racing games have to be somewhat grounded in reality. You can have exaggerated speed and handling, and fantastical courses, but you cannot alter the basic laws of driving and still make a fun game. Avoiding obstacles is one of the biggest elements that creates the excitement and danger in any racing game.

954903[/snapback]

 

Who said it's a street racing game? It is what is it, represenative of what most people liked and enjoyed from the past burnout games, crashing. It's why it's called Burnout Revenge. Lets face it, only reason why burnout is still around at all is because of the crash modes and stuff. It was never particularly special as a "racer". Had the series been nothing more then re-hashes of what was in the arcade, it would have been abandonded long ago (which it was close to being). Bottom line, If you want a typical racer then you have no business getting this particular game because it's not the point of what it is. :!:

 

Second, you can NOT just haphazardly check traffic. Can't hit head-on traffic, can't hit cross-traffic, can't hit big things like buses or semi's. You can only effectively hit smaller traffic traveling in the same direct as you are, and that's actually not all that unrealistic, as it's quite possible to rear end someone in front of you while both moving causing them to go out of control and crash, while retaining control and continuing to move on yourself. Watch a few police chases.

 

Then you have regular obstacles. Background stuff. Pylons, dumpsters, gardrails, barrier walls, deadends, etc... A whole lot of crap gets in your way. More so then in the past. So if you think it's just about plowing through everything and not having to do much of anything, you're wrong. You spend just as much time manuvering and trying to avoid stuff as any other racing game. Especialy since they stratigicly place car killing obstacles in locations where you're almost certain to hit them, particularly if you're driving crazy.

 

Nutshell of what I'm saying, this issue raised here is not an issue with the game so much as people not getting it or being unhappy about the fact that it's not like (nor supposed to be) the past games in the series. To that end, I kinda sympathise, as I feel the same about Halo2. :P To each their own.

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It forces players to use XBox Live to play online. Someone had cobbled together a software LAN link that allowed players to use the System Link to compete against their friends online. They didn't have to spend a penny to use the LAN link, and this didn't sit well with Microsoft.

 

JR

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When is more too much? When it's Burnout: Revenge. The game reviewers who have showered the game with undeserved praise will all realize this in a year, but by then a lot of players will have spent fifty dollars on a Burnout title that's worse than its budget-priced predecessor.

 

Truthfully, that's the whole point.

 

I mean, even Burnout 3 didn't deserve the kind of praise it got. But both of these games had the advantage of a lot of advertising dollars spent on them, and doubtless a lot of payola to the "gaming press" to make sure they got spectacular reviews.

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I've been playing this one for the past week, after renting it from Blockbuster.

 

First of all, I don't think Burnout 3's praise was in any way unwarranted or undeserved. Any game that makes me go from "What's this?" to "I gotta have this!!" in less than a minute, and then actually follows through on the promises made in that first minute, is definitely worthy.

 

Burnout Revenge has some big shoes to fill, and frankly I don't think it succeeds. However, it isn't without merit, and I just might end up buying it anyway. I'm disappointed that Revenge didn't "wow" me like Burnout 3 did, but then the odds of any game doing that are pretty slim.

 

"Traffic checking," while a good idea, is poorly executed, making the "civilian" cars react like little more than hollow shells. The new music is boring, with nothing like the good hooks of the Ramones and the F-Ups from the previous game. The new crash junctions are needlessly complex, especially with that funky new acceleration system. The takedown slo-mos were better in Burnout 3, where the camera would zoom away from your car, and then zoom back; the new camera snaps are jarring and give little warning, often letting you see the wall a mere half second before your car plows into it. The new rank and award systems are much more than any player should have to keep track of. Finally, I have to say it: I miss Striker, the funny (if often corny) Crash FM DJ.

 

Still, this is Burnout. The new tracks are spectacular, beautiful to look at and dangerous to drive. The height factor is an excellent addition, reminiscent of the always-humorous "Death from Above" crashes in Demolition Racer: No Exit. Except for traffic checking, crashes look even more realistic than they did in Burnout 3, and so are much more cringe-inducing. The amateur hand-held camera effect is a cute touch, if a little overdone at times.

 

To anyone who hasn't played any of the Burnout series, the decision is simple: get Burnout 3 and wait for this one to hit the "Greatest Hits" bin (or the bargain bin, whichever it ends up in). To everyone else, at least give it a good play before buying it. With so many little things that have changed, you may find it just as good, slightly better, or much worse than Burnout 3. I still haven't decided.

Edited by skunkworx

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When burnout 3 was released i heard nothing but how amazing the game was, it got perfect score after perfect score. The term "arcade racer" was used all the time. I enjoy arcade racing games, i like having the focus put on your placement and not making a car.

 

So when burnout 3 hit 20$ i got it, the first thing that didn't set right with me was how annoying the games presentation was. What with the hip hop DJ and awful music bombarding you. However that all got turned off very quickly. After playing about a dozen races i realized what was wrong with the game. It lacks any feeling of reward or skill. I could drive like a drunken monkey and get all sorts of encourgement and bonuses despite the fact I'm driving badly and i know it. What really rubbed me the wrong way and this actually got worse in 4, the game brought a whole new meaning to the term rubber band AI. It didn't matter how many times i destroyed a car, it just came right back on my bumper. I just got tired of it and stopped playing. It didn't help that most of the races felt the same.

 

Shortly after i rented burnout 2, and it gave me more of what i wanted. You had to earn each spot, bad driving is rewarded with crashing. For what it's worth i felt burnout 2 was a lot more fun. But to each their own I guess.

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