Burnout Dominator REVIEW

Burnout Dominator Review (PS2)


Have you ever been walking through a record store and come across a brand new greatest hits album from your favorite artist, only to be shocked and disappointed by the songs they chose to use? I know - half of you are saying, “What’s a record store? Heck, what’s an album!?”

When I slid Burnout Dominator, the latest release in the Burnout series from EA, into my PS2, I found myself with that very strange feeling. It was like a Police’s Greatest Hits album without “Message in a Bottle”, Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits without “The Joker”, Hootie and the Blowfish’s Greatest Hits without... OK, bad example… but you see where I’m going. Burnout Dominator is missing some of the key components that make the Burnout series one of the most consistent performers of any franchise over the last five years.

It’s hard to think of a Burnout game without things like Crash Mode and full online play, but that’s what you’re getting with Burnout Dominator. If you’re like me, you may spend 50, 60, even upwards of 90% of your time in a Burnout game playing Crash mode. I know I did. Most of the rest of my time was spent playing online with buddies in some of the most entertaining gaming sessions that I’ve had over the past few years. Take things like that away and what’s left? Well, lucky for EA and the consumer, you’re still left with a really solid game and a good experience.

Burnout Dominator is almost an expansion pack. I stop short of calling it a demo disc, because that gives the implication that it’s a small game or that there is not more to it. That’s not case; the core racing system behind the Burnout franchise is being featured in this version, possibly in an effort to remind consumers that they are more than just a crash ‘em up title. I think Burnout gets lost in the conversation of the best racing titles on the market because most people are more apt to crash than cruise. Additions over the years, like Traffic Attack, have further pushed the series away from the driving and into on-coming traffic. Burnout Dominator is putting it back into its own lane.

Burnout Dominator is about racing again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still about flying through traffic at breakneck speeds doing idiotic things that would probably kill you within the first tenth of a mile in real-life, but you’re definitely rewarded more for the near misses than the direct hits this time around.

Visually, I’ve long been of the opinion that no other racing game sells speed through the visual medium better than the Burnout games. Burnout Dominator is no exception. The look and feel of this game actually has the ability to get your adrenaline pumping and your heart speeding up a beat while your can never leaves the couch. Combined with the in-game audio, the action really has the ability to pull you into the action, even on the PS2.

While, as I mentioned, online play is not available in this release, you will still find split-screen multiplayer modes that will quench your thirst for racing with a friend. I’m not personally a big fan of split-screen racing, but it’s hard to argue against the fun factor that you’ll find racing a buddy in Burnout Dominator.

To go back to my original analogy of the greatest hits album, to borrow from the Canadian pop band, Barenaked Ladies, and their song “Box Set”, “Disc One, it’s where we begun. It’s all our greatest hits. And if you are a fan, then you know that you’ve already got ‘em.” That’s how I see Burnout Dominator. If you’re a fan of the series, you already, basically, have this game. And, unfortunately, you have it with most of the best modes included.

Burnout Dominator is a great introduction to certain aspects of the series at a very reasonable price. The modes that are there, combined with rock-solid mechanics and really nicely rendered tracks, especially by PS2 standards, make this game a great choice standing on its own. I think newbies to the franchise will dig it. Unfortunately for the Burnout vets out there, Burnout Dominator will leave you with a half-finished feel because of the omission of Crash mode and online play. It’ll wet your whistle for the next-gen releases, but leave that thirst largely unquenched.

Score: 7 of 10*

* This game would be a score 6 of 10 for Burnout vets and 8 of 10 for newbies to the series.


Burnout Dominator Score
out of 10