Revenge is a dish best served cold, but did a slightly reheated 360 version of Burnout Revenge satisfy?
Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox
Revenge is a dish best served cold, so goes the saying, and Burnout Revenge is definitely going cold, having already been released for current generation consoles late last year. Criterion and EA have reheated the game for another serving on Xbox 360 - seeing as the machine isn't backwards compatible with the original Xbox version - and thrown in some hi-def visuals to boot. But will that be enough for those that already own a current gen version to get in line for another serving? Well, the short answer is no, but for anyone yet to sample the delights of Burnout Revenge, the 360 version is now the definitive one.
The game is structured exactly as its older generation counterparts. There are 10 ranks to be unlocked, with each of these ranks comprising a series of ever more difficult and speedier events. For the most part, the events in Revenge are your typical Burnout fare - Races, Crash Junctions, Burning Laps, Eliminations and Road Rage - but there's one more addition to the mix in the form of Traffic Attack events. These come into play thanks to the new 'checking' ability, which allows you to crash through any vehicle travelling in the same direction as you, that isn't bigger than your car (e.g. not buses or lorries).
But the value of this new checking isn't limited to this particular event, as it's also just another way of building up your boost bar, along with the more established methods of drifting, takedowns and driving into oncoming traffic. It does however add immensely to an overall feeling of aggressiveness in the way you have to play the game to get on, as well as adding another method of taking down your opponents. This aggressive approach plays through into each event, with them being graded - as OK, Good, Great or Awesome - with 1-4 stars awarded. Add in the Burnout medal system and, with a gold medal, you can earn an extra 5th star (and a perfect score for that event). Accumulating enough of these stars will unlock the next rank.
The more destructive nature of Revenge is an obvious extension of the theme of Takedown, particular in the form of rivals. Any of the other racers who manages to take your car out becomes a Revenge Rival (marked in red), and getting back at them comes with greater rewards (and a smug satisfaction). This addition is also an extrapolation of the online modes from last year's game, and they're still in Revenge, and as fun as ever. Though as improved as it is, there are still occasional problems with EA's own online infrastructure - why they didn't just let their games be taken care of on Microsoft's infrastructure is abundantly clear, and it's sometimes hard not to feel the decision was more to do with profit margins than player satisfaction. Still, it is improving, and Burnout is definitely worth taking online.
Those who don't bother with online elements though, or any who simply want to get in some practice, have a whole chunk of change to get through in the singleplayer World Tour mode first, and the challenge is generally greater than that of Takedown and more noticeable earlier on. It's particularly noticeable on those Burning Laps, some of which will take many, many attempts at which to nab a gold medal in, the target time not allowing a single crash and requiring near constant boosting. But it's here when holes can start to be picked in the otherwise exemplary execution, loading times being the main offender.
With the current generation versions of Revenge, loading times were quite bearable, but in the 360 version, restarting a fluffed race leads to a 30 second reload (though thankfully, Crash Junctions reset immediately). They took about 10 seconds in the Xbox version. It might not seem too bad, but the cumulative effect gets wearing, and our rule of thumb is if any loading time makes you want to put down your pad whilst waiting, it's too long. It may have been released after Revenge, but the much preferable branching restart/quit race method from Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast would equally suit the rolling starts of this game. Not only that, but unlike the current generation versions of Revenge, the post-race breakdown isn't skip-able, and navigating through menus is a bit laggy.
All in though, these are really only minor blemishes on what is still a brilliant addition to a much-loved series. If you've already played in on another console, the only slightly prettier visuals (due to Criterion's sterling efforts with the older versions, not a lacking in this version) are not reason enough for another go; but if not, and if you can put up with those new niggles, then there's no reason not to get some Revenge in on your lovely Xbox 360.
Not worth buying again if you've already played it on Xbox or PS2, but anyone who hasn't should enjoy this souped-up 360 version. Just take note of the slower loading times and laggy menus, which can be more frustrating than you might think (for those with little patience, at least). It's a looker, Takedown's annoying DJ is gone (though EA Trax isn't), Crash Junctions play better still and 'checking' is ridiculously destructive fun.
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Official Trailer 1 (640x480, 1.7Mbps)