Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Burnout Crash Review

Before Criterion Games tackled the hugely successful Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, they were best known for the Burnout series which took the idea of extreme racing to a whole new level. For one reason or another, it has been far too long since a true Burnout title (Burnout Revenge) has been released so I was incredibly excited to hear about Burnout Crash! coming to XBLA and PSN. This title however isn't your standard arcade racer and is merely a top down take on the most exciting part of Burnout, the crashes. The basic premise of the game is simple, cause a massive traffic build up by destroying cars, buildings and unleashing hell on the level with a various number of natural disasters to earn the most points possible. It is a fun take on the game, but despite having the Burnout brand attached to the game, the thrill of smashing into cars isn't the same when you are left with a simple crashbreaker mechanism to control your car.


The latest Burnout title is shying away from the super graphics we witnessed at the end of the Xbox's console life as a cartoon style has taken precedence in this arcade addition. The top down view of Burnout really does the graphics justice as it allows for huge explosions and general havoc created by natural disasters that lets the playing field become destroyed in ways not entirely possible with lifelike graphics. There isn't much variation in the levels so you may see buildings and cars repeated over and over again. Not much emphasis is placed on the graphics and the explosions in the game take all the glory in a game which seems to be focused towards attracting a younger type of gamer.

The audio in the game certainly emphasises the younger target in Burnout Crash. The narrator in the game gives helpful information before the game starts, but during the game goes for the NBA Jam style of one liners to try and create a lightened atmosphere. It does work somewhat, but doesn't work to the same effect as Electronic Arts other new downloadable title. Apart from this, the sound in the game presents nothing special and mainly is brought on by explosion sound effects everytime you launch the crashbreaker to wreck havoc.


Playing Burnout Crash is a super simple process that can be automatically picked up by anyone. The game uses minimal controls as you drive into traffic using the thumbstick before pressing A or X to launch the crashbreaker, which launches your car into the air and hopefully into other cars or buildings. The aim is to break as much as possible in the designated game mode and earn a gold medal on each level. There are 6 unique locations and 18 different crash junctions to explore as you progress through the many levels.

There are three game modes which can be played. They are Road Trip, Rush Hour and Pile-Up. In Road Trip, you aim to prevent cars from escaping to the other side of the screen by causing them to crash through the use of pile ups, your crashbreaker and many special features including natural disasters. In Rush Hour you have 90 seconds to cause as much damage as possible to get a high score. This mode is often hectic and having a strategy to cause stuff such as chain reactions with cars and buildings is vital. In Pile-Up you need to stop cars escaping to keep your multiplier while making sure something is regularly damaged to keep fires burning on the level for as long as possible. This is the longest mode in the game and requires good movement around the level to utilise every destroyable object possible.

The game modes are quite fun and mixing up how you play a certain level with different strategies certainly extends the length of the game. As you level up more cars are unlocked and the ability to choose a car focused on explosion power or movement certainly adds another thing to think about when choosing a certain car for a particular game mode.

Apart from the standard mode, there is no multiplayer which could've been a pretty cool mode to challenge others to. Instead there is Autolog which has come straight from the Need for Speed series to let you see and hopefully beat friends times before letting them know all about it. The game is also Kinect compatible and falls into Microsoft's one Kinect Arcade title per month plan. The game can be controlled using hand gestures which is pretty cool, but doesn't offer the same kind of accuracy as a controler. That is alright though as precision isn't a necessary aspect of Burnout Crash. I could see it being fun with multiple people around to laugh at you, but there are better Kinect titles available.


Burnout Crash isn't the long awaited return to the Burnout franchise we have all been waiting for, but for a $10 game this is an excellent way to tide us over for a little bit longer hopefully. The simple graphics and game modes presented make this a fun, entertaining game for the whole family to play yet perfection will give more determined players something to strive for. It's debateable whether 3 game modes and no real multiplayer is enough to keep you coming back for more, but those who want a top down way to create general havoc on the highway, this is the game for you.

Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Overall - 7/10