Burnout Crash Xbox 360 Review

 

Good news everybody, Burnout is back. But before you get too excited this isn’t a fully fledged installment to the franchise. As the name suggests, this is a standalone version of Crash Mode that was very popular until Burnout went all “open world”. It’s still good news though, right?

The answer to that is yes and no, as there have been quite a few changes made. Biggest amongst these, and quite possibly most important, is the change in visuals. Sadly the brilliant 3D plane that made Crash Mode such a wonderful spectacle has been replaced with a top-down perspective. This works, and is arguably more in tune with the tweaked gameplay, but I just can’t help but be somewhat disappointed by it.

Once you start playing the initial disappointment wears off a bit as you get to grips with the tweaks in gameplay. The game is split in to 18 ‘Crash Junctions’, each with three different events, with the game starting you off in a simple junction/event pairing. This is ‘Road Trip’, which I find to be strange choice for starters, as it is probably the weakest of the three event types. Here you will drive on to the junction and steer yourself into another vehicle to start things off, then you’ve got two gauges to keep track of. First is your Crashbreaker Gauge, this fills up on its own slowly, but increases much faster if crashes occur. Once full, you can hit the ‘A’ button and your car explodes, damaging everything nearby.

Then we have the Special Feature gauge, every vehicle crashed adds to this, as does destroyed scenery, and when it is full you get one of the game’s new special features. There’s quite a few different ones to keep you amused, some good and some bad. Sometimes you get a change in traffic speed, other times the cops will come along either to bust you, or to create a road block to help you out. There’s all sorts of different buffs and unlockables such as weather effects, bonus vehicles like an ice cream truck that freezes everything, an armoured bank truck that drops money when destroyed, and loads of others. These special features are a lot of fun, and definitely add to the fun factor of the game’s mechanics. Trigger three of these, with the third being a signature special dependant on which road you are on, and that’s it, game over (on ‘Road Trip’ mode, anyway).

All sounds good, and it is, but there’s one thing added that detracts from the playing experience. You get lives, with every vehicle that escapes unscathed being a life lost. At times this can be not so good. Explode off in the wrong direction and it’s all too easy to miss traffic. You do get indicators that tell you when and where traffic is coming from, which offers some solace, and the occasional ambulance will drive by to give you an extra life if you don’t crash it, but still the five life limit will still bring your game to an end before you reach the final special feature far too often. If you do manage to make it to the third and final special feature, any lives left act as a score multiplier. If you only just scrape through you aren’t going to end with that big a score.

Yeah, so ‘Road Trip’ isn’t that great, but get through it and you will unlock two extra events on the same junction, ‘Rush Hour’ and ‘Pile Up’. These are more fun, with ‘Rush Hour’ doing away with the lives limit in ‘Road Trip’ and replacing it with a 90 second timer. This mode offers much less pressure without having to worry about escaping traffic, and the special features are triggered at random by destroying passing pizza vans. Should you be lucky enough to destroy one, you’re presented with the ‘Pizza of Fortune’ to spin, whatever it lands on is your special feature. The randomness of the special features in this mode is good, and unlike ‘Road Trip’ with the same special features on the same junctions it adds some unpredictability to the proceedings.

Finally there’s ‘Pile Up’. Here you get a set limit on the traffic that will pass through the junction that you must destroy. Missing traffic penalizes you on your end multiplier like ‘Road Trip’, but never ends the game. That happens when you run out of traffic, then it’s up to the player to keep things going by setting as much debris on fire as possible with your explosions. If the fires go out, you are given a few seconds to start another one by exploding next to something heavily damaged. If all the fires go out and a new one can’t be started then it’s game over.

Each event can earn you up to five stars: Three based on score and two on objectives, and collected stars open up new roads on which to cause vehicular mayhem and a slew of unlockable cars.

Burnout Crash! is quite stripped down compared to major games in the series, but considering the low price I consider it a fair trade off. This isn’t exactly what I would have wanted from a new Burnout game, and I’m unlikely to be alone in that, as it does have some noticeable design flaws. But once you get over them you will find that this is a fun title, worthy of the Burnout name, and well worth the 800 MS Points asking price.

 

7/10

 

by

Version tested: Xbox 360

Also available on: Playstation 3

Developer: Criterion Games

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Genre: Action Puzzle