Racing games have arrived on the Xbox thick and fast with such titles as the mighty Project Gotham Racing, RalliSport Challenge and F1 2002 to name but a few. With even more on the horizon the competition will hit the market making it harder for different styles of this genre to break through the crowd, but maybe this game has something the others don’t have.
Burnout has exciting thrills that only the sight of oncoming vehicles can provide when accelerating round corners at ridiculous speeds. Yes you have read right. Racing around the coursers you find yourself hurtling towards oncoming traffic, trying to overtake traffic and even junctions where traffic go from left to right across your path. Many such crucial decisions such as do I accelerate even though there is a chance that I could crash into this massive lorry that is changing lanes are all part of this fast paced game.
If the speed isn’t fast enough to get you hooked you can get a speed boost by having near misses from the traffic and driving on the side where you face oncoming traffic to build up a boost bar. When full you can speed so fast that motion blur comes into the game. Mad you say? Very possibly, but there are ways to manage this, but the amount of concentration on the later levels can be so intense, you may just find your tongue sticking out and people staring at your varying facial expressions.
If the thought of crashing into traffic isn’t enough to test you, you also have to deal with the time limit which of course is worked out by checkpoints, and even 3 opponents in each race to add yet more problems to your progress. These bad boy opponents have no regard for you or the rest of the law-abiding citizens of this game. They will cut you up, drive all over the place, smash into traffic right in front of you and even on the odd occasion nudge you into danger. One annoyance is where you will be quite far ahead of your opponents, you have used your boost on a straight and amazingly one small crash can mean 2nd or even 3rd place. Yet when the computer controlled opponents are in front of you they are far more prone to crashing causing yet more problems for you to avoid.
So lets try and put this into some perspective of what challenges you have:
- Racing at extreme speeds
- Avoiding traffic from all directions
- Racing against the clock
- Racing against 3 opponents
- Controlling the car through the complicated course
- Now imagine all this being calculated by you all at once with
- Split second decisions at every turn. Frantic to say the least.
This game is certainly not easy, but nor is it boring. It has been very hard for me to put the game down. The pace and thrills of the game are quite incredible, although this has been done before in games as old as Outrun. Burnout has it much more refined with even more challenges to confront. As with most racing games you have a championship style way to progress through the game to acquire extra courses and vehicles. This game is no different.
You start off pretty simply. You are just required to complete the course and come in 3rd place or greater. This honeymoon type period soon disappears and it is not much later that you will be hurtling round traffic frantically just to beat the clock, and you are then required to get 1st place on every course. Each Championship can have around 3 courses requiring you to complete all 3 before you unlock the next Championship. A loss means a loss of a credit and you just reply the course again until you run out of credits.
Graphically speaking this game is one of the very few ports from other consoles to actually really take the Xbox power and features and make good use of them. Road effects, gorgeous reflections and the lovely details make this one of the better ports available on the Xbox.
A really great aspect to the graphics is the sheer distance in which you can see ahead of you. On one course I remember me thinking wow what an amazing bridge that is in the distance. Not to long around the course and a sharp right turn later I find myself going over that very same bridge. Just stunning. Not to mention the lovely crash replays after each crash which as short yet show enough of the crash to create that, wow did I really do that.
Multiplayer head to head is a big downside to the game. The clock counting down is slap bang in the middle of your screen and makes it extremely hard to get a good view of what is coming ahead. Add this to if you use one of the larger vehicles available on the game and you can see nothing in front of you. Slow down of the game speed is also very apparent. I prefer to play time attack on this game with a friend rather then race at the same time with these annoying little problems.
One of the most heart pumping racing games around and will provide hours of spectacular crashing and spinning of your car. A fantastic port of an amazingly fast paced game that makes Xbox purr like a kitten.