Crash, Burn, and a new High Score!
For those of you familiar with the Burnout series, it’s obvious that this is not your standard racing game. Instead of trying not to crash, these adrenaline-driven racing titles encourage drivers to cause as much destruction and mayhem, without get destroyed themselves of course, to earn rewards such as filling up your boost meter. Its Crash Mode took this whole concept to the next level, giving the player scenarios in which cars are flung off a ramp, crashed into a busy intersection, then judged based on how much damage was done. I fondly remember spending hours playing Burnout Revenge on PS2 trying to cause collateral damage and earn all those gold medals.
When I first heard of Burnout Crash, I thought, “Great! Crash Mode as a standalone game!” But as I sat down for the presentation from Criterion Games I realized I was in for something new. The heart of Crash Mode is still wholly present but from a new perspective. When we started up the game, I was surprised to see a top-down view of an intersection, similar to classic Grand Theft Auto titles.
The familiar mechanics such as crashbreakers and aftertouches are still there, but this time your meter fills up much faster, about every three seconds to reach a full meter. Once the meter is full, a simple push of a button (or a jump if you prefer Kinect controls) causes your car to explode, careening under your control into whatever car or building you’d like to destroy next. This keeps the action going until you reach the level’s time limit with easily spammable explosions. At the end, your performance is rated out of five clean, beautiful stars.
Coming from the traditional Crash Mode, this new spin-off is much more arcade-y due to the new game mechanics. Everything is bright, shiny, and reminiscent of the Vegas Strip. This game is all about cheese, from the visuals to the music choices (e.g. Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” used like WWE Theme music for a bulldozer). The developers summed it up best, describing the style as a mix of "Pinball Machine meets Jukebox meets Classic Game Show".
All of the flashing lights and '80s jams can be enjoyed in 16 unique levels with 3 different single-player modes, each with a different objective. Or if you’re not a friendless shut-in, there is support for local multiplayer with optional Kinect support. If you prefer to do your socializing online, the Autolog has been brought back and updated. Proud of a high score? Challenge a friend to beat it by sending an Autolog Rivalry request. Whoever wins the shootout gets a trophy and bragging rites for all to see. If you’re feeling a little less competitive, there are also Autolog Recommendations.
Although Burnout Crash isn't exactly what might be expected, it's an interesting take on the series. They’ve taken a proven concept from Burnout and turned it into a fast-paced arcade game. And honestly, what’s more fun than destroying everything in sight and being rewarded with a high score? Add some rowdy people and a party environment with the Kinect controls, and I can picture many good times. Keep an eye out for Burnout Crash to hit XBLA and PSN in Fall 2011.