Watch me ollie!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Game of the Year #8: Burnout Revenge (Xbox)

Last year I enjoyed Burnout 3: Takedown a lot. This year, I enjoyed the only-very-slightly-different Burnout Revenge a lot, too... just not as much. You'll note it's lower on the list, and the overall quality of the games is also lower this year, but that's not to say that it's a worse game. Perhaps I've just grown a bit too used to the format now.

Although, truth be told, it actually IS worse in some ways. It's gritty and urban, rather than sunshine and bright colours, like its predecessor. This is always the wrong answer. The front-end is a bit worse than it used to be, and still much worse than it needs to be. Plus, you can hit same-way traffic now, which I don't really like. Skilfully weaving your way through traffic, knowing that one knock would do you in was the sort of nail-biting stuff for which I play these games. Barging invincibly through helpless traffic racking up "combos" and "trick shots" feels a bit goofy and brain-dead by comparison. Specifically, it feels like pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Okay, so it's a bit churlish to complain about that sort of thing, when the game is a bit of a guilty pleasure to begin with. It's based on crashing cars, for goodness sake - it's fundamentally really, really stupid. But that's fine, so long as it's fast and fun. Which it still is. Also of note is the fact that no game pats you on the back more than this one. Frustration is not a factor - every little thing you do unlocks trophies and cars and little movie sequences in which the game showers you with praise. If it's cheap, cheerful, easy thrills you're after, this isn't a bad choice at all, even if it's not quite so fresh as last year's effort.

Oh, but the soundtrack is still one of the worst in gaming. Yecch. You've been warned.


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