Review: Burnout Revenge (Playstation 2)

In this review, we get our revenge in the Playstation 2 game Burnout Revenge. We find out how well this combat racing game plays.

This game was released in 2005 and is yet another instalment to this series. In fact, it is the fifth game in the series.

We are very familiar with this particular series now. First, we played the original Burnout game. That game got a very solid score. Next up is Burnout 2: Point of Impact. That game wound up with an identical score. After that, we tried Burnout 3: Takedown. That game got quite the great score here. Finally, we tried Burnout Dominator. That game got a pretty solid score. So, we continue this series to see what else it has to offer.

The game plays a lot like Burnout 3: Takedown. There are different types of races players can take on. A key difference, however, is the fact that rather than selecting your next event on a large map, you have a horizontal list of events and information on how well you did in them.

Initially, you have just a list of levels. You start from level 1 and work your way up to level 10. How many events you unlock depends on your overall ranking.

In each level is a series of events. Some events only have one or two while others contain close to a dozen races. In all, there is 169 races.

Each race has up to five stars you can collect. Each star counts towards your ranking. There is two factors that go into your stars. First is your in-race rating. You start off with OK (which is worth 1 star) and work your way up to excellent (worth 4 stars).

To get higher ratings, you need to build up your rating meter within the events. This includes time spent in the oncoming lane, traffic checking, takedowns, revenge takedowns, air time, and other ways you can drive recklessly.

The other factor that goes towards your score is what medal you earn. Fail to earn a medal and you lose all of your stars (not to mention the fact that the game then doesn’t recognize the event as complete). Bronze medals subtract a star. Silver medals means you keep your stars you earned during the race. Gold medals, however, add a star. If you get an excellent rating and win gold, you’ll earn a “Perfect” and earn all 5 available stars in the event.

There is a huge variety between events. Most events emphasize the different ways you can earn boosts in normal race events.

An exception to this is Crash. Crash simply features either a set of roads or intersections that contain cars. You play a mini-game to get yourself a decent start. From there, you drive your car into the gridlock traffic with the goal of causing as big of a car accident as possible. The more cars you crash, the higher the crash value. The higher the crash value, the better the medal.

After you crash, you can watch your boost meter gradually fill. Get to 100% and you get to tap an R button to get it back to 100%. From there, you’ll earn an explosive bonus that sends your car into the air (known as the “crashbreaker”). This can be critical to causing even more chaos. It is actually possible to earn more than one in a crash event, but that is rare.

The key is after touch. If you crash your car at any time, you can actually steer your car using after touch. In most events, this is used to crash into opponents to get an extra bar of boost. However, in crash, it is merely used as a way to get your car to cause even more accidents so you can earn an even bigger score. In most events, after touch is critical to your success.

An added bonus found in this event is the target vehicle. Take out the target vehicle and you’ll earn bonuses in the Crash event.

The most mundane event is the race event. In these events, you simply take on five other opponents in a one or two lap race. Finish in the top 3 and earn a medal.

Burning lap is a single lap time trial mode. Complete the lap in as short time as possible to earn a medal.

Road rage is a returning event. In these events, the goal is to get as many take downs as possible. You have a limited amount of time to get those takedowns, however, if you take down multiple opponents, your time will get extended. It’s really a four player race where opponents are constantly spawning near you, but the game makes it easy to take down many of these opponents. Get the target take downs to take home a medal.

Crashbreaker races are a normal race, but with the ability to use the crashbreaker feature.

The traffic check event emphasizes a unique feature in this game. Traffic checking is where you take out traffic as you race. In every other game we’ve played, you crash into a vehicle, you’re done. In this game, you get some give. If you hit a car going the game direction as you and it’s not a larger vehicle (i.e. bus or a big rig), then the car will simply fly forward and you get a small amount of boost. In this event, you get a rather narrow amount of time, but you get time bonuses for every vehicle you hit. Skill shots (where you hit one car into another) also earns you extra time. Like crash, the more damage you cause, the better the medal you’ll get.

Eliminator pits you against 5 opponents. Every 30 seconds or so, last place is eliminated. The event continues until there is only one racer left.

Preview events are a single event found in the next level. You get a fixed car and you take on the event.

Championships are a series of races (usually 3 or 4 races). The better you place in each race, the more championship points you earn. Whoever has the most championship points at the end of the race series wins.

Along the way, you can earn trophies. Each trophy is earned by completing a certain requirement. This can be wrecking a large number of cars during an event, crashing the special car, earning enough explosive revenge take down, and more.

Signature take downs make a return in this game. If you take down an opponent on a specific part of the track, you can earn a photograph.

As you make it further into the game, you’ll earn more cars. Cars have three notable statistics: crash force, weight, and top speed boost. Crash force details how big of an impact a crash breaker has when used. The higher the rating, the bigger the explosive impact. Weight determines steering capability. The heavier the car, the harder it is to steer. However, heavier cars can have a bigger impact on collisions whether it is with traffic checking or hitting opponents. High speed boost indicates how fast the car can travel while boosting.

There is a total of 10 ranks you can earn. You start off with harmless. To unlock every level, you need to unlock level 9. The highest ranking you can earn is 10 (or Elite). Fill your ranking up to 10 and you’ll earn a bonus car. The star requirements may seem high, but it is more than possible to make it there with a large number of silvers and a handful of gold medals. If you are on a quest to complete every race, chances are, you’ll get to 10 long before you complete every event unless you are getting nothing but bronze.

In the race events, there are many ways of earning boost. Most of this is already covered, but you can get it through take downs, after touch take downs, driving in the on-coming lane, traffic checking, explosive take downs, instance revenge, revenge take downs, near misses, and air time to name a majority of the ways. Any kind of take down will increase your multiplier for a maximum of 4x. In addition to this, a take down will also completely fill your meter.

One thing I like is the fact that what made the previous Burnout game great is largely intact in this game. Fans of Crash are happy that this event made it into this game. Road Rage and several other events make a return here.

Another thing I like is the traffic checking feature. It takes a lot of the random luck of racing out of the game and pushes success more into the category of skill. As the game gets more tough, the game does gradually fall back into the realm of more luck than skill for success, but at least it felt like the game revolved around skill for the most part early on.

A pitfall here is the elastic band effect. Eventually, opponents do catch up even if you are doing nothing but boosting all the way through without a single mistake. So, you’ll have to rely on taking down opponents to retain your lead for an added period of time.

Additionally, the races don’t really give you much of a chance to get used to the tracks. A lot of them are largely one lap wonders with the ability to race the track in reverse. You do get used to the tracks, but by that time, you’re probably most of the way through the game. It’s unfortunate because you have numerous obstacles to navigate around. Some obstacles have textures similar to the ground. So you sometimes don’t even see them coming until it’s too late. There is even the occasional invisible obstacle where you just crash without knowing what you hit. Rare, but present.

On a rare occasion, you fall through the road and just keep falling until you pop back up on the track again. This generally revolves around ledges where you just barely slip off but don’t trigger the crash event.

Towards the end of the game, the last few levels will spawn opponents ahead of you. By this, I mean that if you do an after touch or revenge take down, you’ll spawn back on the track behind the opponents you’ve taken down. This can be annoying in an eliminator event because you could pull off a triple take down, respawn in last and get eliminated anyway because the timer ran out.

Generally speaking, this game offers a lot to keep players entertained. There is a number of different events that keeps things interesting for the most part. The traffic checking does remove some of the luck required for success in the earlier parts of the game. Also, there is plenty of features to keep things interesting. There is still luck required later on as well as some smaller bugs and the elastic effect. So, by no means is this a flawless game, but it is still worthy of a play through in my view.

The graphics overall are great. The reflection effects on the cars look great. I think the cars are nicely modelled. The tracks themselves have a lot of variety and look very nice. Even the special effects and daylight look quite nice. I really don’t have anything to complain about, so it is great all around.

The audio is a bit of a mixed bag. For me, the sound effects work quite well. The engines sound good and the tire screeches sound nice. I thought the tunnels sound nice and the explosions work quite well. Even the warped after touch sounds are great. Meanwhile, the music is a bit more miss than hit. Fall Out Boy – Dance Dance is probably the highlight of this game with Junkie XL – Today and MxPx – Heard that Sound being pretty good tracks to listen to as well. The rest are, well, less than memorable. They can offer good atmosphere, but nothing much beyond that.

Overall, I think this is a solid game. It has a lot of the features that makes the previous game such an enjoyable game. The traffic checking is a welcome new feature to this game to remove some of the luck aspect early on. The end of the game does depend a fair bit on luck, there’s the elastic banding effect, and it’s hard to get used to the tracks until late in the game. I think the graphics look great in this game, though the audio is a bit more of a mixed bag. So, definitely a game worth playing


Furthest point in game: completed 143/169 races.

General gameplay: 19/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 74%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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