The Burnout series has always felt 'out of place' among the other racers on the PS2. There is no customisation of the car's exterior look other than a new colour, there is no penalties for ramming opponents into poles, and the tracks are actual streets, not fancy professional circuits or rally tracks. Surprisingly, the PS2 game it is most like is Destruction Derby: Arena and that game was terrible. But, the Burnout series has been successful despite, or perhaps because of this uniqueness. So much in fact that it is no longer seen as a bad alternative to the legendary (I know I use that word a lot in my reviews, but I really do mean it.) Gran Turismo and Need For Speed series, but as an equal to them, or superior to them, depending on who you ask. I would say that, despite a few bugs and errors in the original (Note: a slight fender bender does not entitle a three time replay, both during and after the race.), the Burnout series is far better than the Gran Turismo and Need For Speed series.
With the new Burnout: Revenge, this already spectacular series reaches all-new heights. Literally.
Burnout: Revenge kicks off with a rather long intro movie that explains the basics to new Burners, the term Criterion invented for Burnout players, which I am particularly proud to call myself. For experienced players, it is still worth a watch as it explains the new features of this title. You should particularly pay attention to the best feature: Checking.
Checking is similar to what they do in hockey. You can now ram traffic into your rivals in order to make them crash. This not only gives you boost as 'traffic checking' is counted as a driving skill, like getting air or drifting, but it also counts as a Takedown! Being Criterion, a new game mode has been introduced in order to show off this: Traffic Attack. In Traffic Attack, you race against the clock. The only way to gain time is to check traffic. Each car hit adds some money to your total stage damage cost. Medals are given for getting over a certain level of cost. Of course, bigger cars add more time and cost to your total than smaller ones, but the smaller ones are easier to hit into oncoming traffic.
Checking traffic has it's limits though. Large vehicles, such as buses and semis can not be checked. Everything smaller can be checked, as long as they are moving in the relatively same direction as you. If you can see the headlights, it cannot be checked, unless it's parked.
Checking is not the only new feature. The tracks are all new and contain a few surprises. Now there are alternate routes and shortcuts to be used. There are a lot more jumps in this one, which is perfect as there is a new style of Takedown to match: Vertical. This is achieved by landing on rivals. This is actually harder than it sounds, as the view does not change.
They did change the view of the Aftertouch camera. Now, when you go into Aftertouch mode, the camera shifts so you can see who was following you so you can hit them easier.
You don't have to reach them though! The Crashbreaker, a nifty tool of Crash mode in Burnout 3 has been integrated into all game modes. ALL GAME MODES. That INCLUDES races. The size of the explosion depends on how much boost you had when you crashed. An empty bar will only hit those who are travelling just out of your reach, while a full 4x bar will hit pretty much everything within 2 or 3 lanes width on either side. The more opponents you make eat your explosion filled revenge, the more boost you get. Every hit on an opponent has similar effects as an Aftertouch Takedown. The name of the explosion depends on how many you hit. 'Explosive Payback' is for when you hit one opponent, and while that does sound impressive on it's own, a 'Total Payback' really sounds sweet, as that occurs when 5 opponents feel your flaming wrath.
That's not the only thing that sounds sweet. The entire game has brilliant sound effects laced throughout it's entire core structure. From the subtle grinding between you, an opponent and the wall to the foot-in-nads-and-leave-you-for-dead boost sound, everything is top-notch.
Here is where I would explain the downsides of this game, so here goes: Quite a few times I've found myself below the ground falling as I've been rammed through a wall. This gets annoying when it causes you to become last. That and the loading times. That's it.
But not even these puny flaws can stop this game from receiving the top marks. Fans of the series would be insane to miss out on this spectacular installment. Casual gamers would be missing out on a great spectacle if they ever passed on this one.
PLAY IT NOW!!!