Burnout Review (PS2)
Racing titles these days seem to come out in droves. From hardcore simulation to fantasy multiplayer racing titles, being on top in this genre means you need to have an inspiring game. Burnout is not one of those games. While a fun and frantic racing game it doesn't scream out innovative and fresh.
The gameplay is simple, you work your way through a series of races on different tracks. In championship mode, you race against three other cars in an effort to finish first. Finish and you unlock a new level. Don't and you have to try again. A survival mode which you try not to wreck and finish in an allotted time. And a level where you race against your ghost car's best time.
On the track, the racing seems to be confused. Does it want to be a game where it emphasizes crashing, one about finishing first or a game where the point is to be conservatively reckless? The whole point of racing is to drive head on it traffic, zoom through open space between two cars or high tail as close as you can without hitting another vehicle. Accomplish reckless driving and your burnout meter fills up, when full you can drive extraordinarily fast. But if you do hit another vehicle you are shown a slow motion crash sequence.
The game seems to have put a lot of importance on crashing yet if you crash too many times you won't finish first or even finish in the allotted time between check points. And that's what I don't understand about this game. If they wanted to stress crashing why isn't this a game where the more spectacular your crashes the more boost or more points you receive? What happens is that your burnout meter gets depleted a bit and your competitors drive past you. The crashes are spectacular and great to look at but seem to be one of those features not very well integrated into the game.
The AI is also a little suspect, not so much your competitors AI but the general traffic. You'll find on the various courses the AI controlled cars move out of the way if you drive close enough to almost hit them. It's not that big of issue and probably one that makes it a bit easier for you got fill up your burnout meter.
The other problem with the game is it's rather lifeless. Sure crashing is fun, but other than that this game is like every other racer. The formula always is go fast + finish first = new tracks. In a cluttered world of video game racers the gameplay in Burnout is the tried and true formula that if you've played once you have played them all.
The tracks are all fictional but a very well detailed. They seem to be a conglomeration of American cities. The tracks range from coastal tracks to New York type cities. Most of the tracks feel as if they wanted to combine certain elements into one package. So you'll get city driving, a tunnel here and there, rural driving and maybe few bridges for good measure.
Sound wise the game is average. It receives high marks for it's driving sounds and crash sounds. But its soundtrack seems to be a bad regurgitation of MIDI 80's music. It has the basic songs to start out with but as your checkpoint time winds down it plays hyper MIDI music.