£50 for a six month old PS2/Xbox game is a bit of a joke to be fair, but I never bought Burnout Revenge on an older console and I traded in that Perfect Dark shite for it, so it was a bit more bearable. While it’s debatable whether or not it’s worth getting otherwise for the moderate graphical update (that’s not so much anything against the 360 version as a big endorsement of the graphical prowess of the Xbox one), what you have here is a rollicking game that’s huge fun in online multiplayer.
The graphics first of all, since I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t played a Burnout. The update is a lot less cynical than, for example, the 360 port of NFS Most Wanted, and actually puts the hardware to pretty good use. On an HDTV the game looks absolutely fantastic – 60fps (almost) all the way, blindingly fast, sparks flying everywhere, and it all means that the spectacular crashes that the series is known for can look painfully real. The sound is just as impressive, giving great positional audio through a 5.1 system as well as tons of bass that helps out during boosting and crashing. The weak link is probably the music which is mostly pop-punk-rock crap, but admittedly it suits the fast but fairly brainless action well.
World Tour mode provides a decent amount of gameplay and enough variety to make it worthwhile, but in my opinion it’s over Xbox Live that this comes into its own. PGR3 was great with friends, but this is an absolute riot where, best of all, you won’t be accused of cheating if you “accidentally” happen to nudge someone into a tunnel wall. It’s encouraged, and with rivalries saved persistently so that the game will warn you if you end up racing against someone you took out months ago it becomes delightfully competitive against people you play regularly.
Just to take the sheen off it, there seems to be an annoying bug with joining online games that can be frustrating. More than once with different hosts I’ve tried to play with a group of friends and at least one of us has been constantly kicked without explanation several times before managing to connect for any length of time. Once they’re in it’s usually fine, but it’s still a major annoyance and I remember similar issues with Burnout 3 on Xbox Live when I bought that.
Bugs aside, this makes me want to see how the inevitable Burnout built from the ground up on the next-gen machines is going to look, because for what is supposed to be a relatively simple port this almost looks like a whole new game. Criterion’s mastery of Renderware apparently translates very well. Whether or not it’s worth the money depends on whether or not you played it last September, but it’s still as great a game as ever.