Don't you just love re-reviews? Well…I don't. No, I take that back, I do, as long as there's a purpose for submitting a second review on something. I decided to approach Burnout Revenge in a casual fashion, as it seems to have the kind of promises to be a next-gen winner while not really changing anything about the formula it's presented before on the Xbox and PS2.
So, let me recap the game in a nutshell as I reviewed it on the Xbox. It was awesome, to say the least. A true sequel to Burnout 3: Takedown, Revenge featured deep, intricate level design with lots of opportunities for takedowns (crashing cars into walls, etc.) and air time, as well as a variance of online options and sharp gameplay. Granted, the EA Trax didn't have all the best picks around, as I found myself skipping around to my favorites quite often, but past that, I could find no blemish on the hood. EA had current-gen arcade racing down pat with that game.
And so that leaves the 360 version. Criterion could've easily just ported over the game in the same sense that Activision did with some of their launch titles (aside from Call of Duty 2), but instead they seemed to have optimized the game to finely suit the 360. That's not to say that they rebuilt the game from scratch, but they fine tuned it so it would be running on good performance levels for the machine. Details seem to pour out more now, especially where vehicular damage is concerned, and explosions with the Crashbreakers seem so much more dramatic. There were slight problems with hiccups in the frame rate, but, honestly, the game seemed like it ran just as well as it did before…and in high-resolution. That'll be the big seller for this version, being able to rip roar through hours of carnage in glorious 1080i.
There's more, though. Criterion's installed a replay system that kicks off automatically after the completion of each event, allowing you to move backwards and forwards throughout the race, looking for key moments where the tide turned or you just can't help but think, "Gee, I want to show off that crash and make my buddy laugh his ass off." Once you see your moment coming up, you can go ahead and record it, and save replays for later playing with others, or swap them with friends so they can see just how bad you bite it. It's not a total necessity to the formula, and I would've liked a bit more control over the cameras, but, hey, it's nice all the same.
Burnout Revenge also has a better focusing on its Crash circuit. There's ten brand new scenarios introduced with the 360 version, complete with new depths that you can drop your car into after you've already gotten a few cars gutted up in the lanes to pile up the dollar amount. Criterion's also wisely dropped the "golf meter", which was getting frustrating when you were already concentrating on the upcoming crash scenario as it is. The humility of a blown engine is long gone.
Criterion's also added a nice new mode with Live Revenge. Here, you can find yourself in a more heated race against others for points and achievements, complete with an indication system that shows who's in the lead. And if you can't get into that, then Crash, Crash Tour, Crash Battle, Road Rage, and Race are still plenty present, and the online play seems rather smooth in all events However, I couldn't help but notice that single player was once again limited to World Tour events, instead of the options that Takedown gave gamers from the get-go. Not a big deal, though, as the World Tour is loaded with a variety of events that go in all directions, so you can still indulge in Road Rage if that's your thing.
The game's not exactly smoothed over in its port. I would've liked to have seen some new additions to the EA Trax, with some racing classics or something—anything—to further diversify the ride over to next-gen. But, instead, most of the tracks are the same, so you'll probably be digging through for your favorites…or adding your own. Also, the AI continues to be quite aggressive, especially in later stages when some cars just refuse to be taken out into the wall. You have to think ahead or basically become road pizza, if there is such a thing. But to some, this continues to be a plus, especially considering that some of you could clear
50+ takedowns in Burnout 3, if you knew what you were
The only question that arises is this—"is it worth paying $60 for a game I could easily get for $30 on another platform?" Well, either that or "should I reinvest if I already have the game?". Let me answer both of those.
If you already own the game, you'll still want to give the 360 version a look for its little extras and that high-resolution new-car smell…er, look. From there, you can make judgment if you want to trade up or not.
However, if you do not own the game and are weighing your options as to which one to get, there's no question. The 360 version seems to slightly outshine its older release, even with the $30 bump in price. The fact that Criterion's even put any effort into the game to make it less of a port and more of a racing entity on its own accordance is a gift enough in itself. Bottom line, a great racing game just got a little bit greater.