Burnout Legends PSP Review

At the mercy of the game's physics engine, Burnout's now trademark crash mode succeeds on a rare level. It's almost entirely out of the player's hands once contact is made, and the jaw-dropping wrecks are enough to sell the game. That's on a home console though, and watered down on the PSP (with familiar territory for fans of the series), it's not the classic it could be. It's just another one in a line of unforgettable and brutal racing games, and it barely falls short of the previous entries.

Nothing here changes the simple idea of Burnout, focusing on ridiculous, dangerous, and in other words fun racing. For those who missed those first few games, there is Burnout Legends. This is an amalgamation of courses, tracks, and locales from the first three games in the series, all using the engine from Burnout 3: Takedown.

That's important, especially since the third title will end up as a classic. There are two obvious problems with this approach. The most is that players who have poured hours of their lives into the home versions have nothing new to see here. Everything is copied from preceeding game in the series, new power-ups or not. A translation of the new Burnout Revenge would have been suitable for these fans.

Second is the mix doesn't always work. Course design radically matured as the game grew into something else entirely, and a few of these courses don't fit the mold. A track from the first Burnout is disastrous, with sharp 90-degree turns that are impossible to navigate with the mechanics of Burnout 3. It may have worked then and it could work now. It simply doesn't work here.

Other than that, fans will love to see the pursuit mode resurrected, borrowing gameplay from Taito's classic Chase H.Q. The crash mode, even with toned down damage modeling and overall graphical detail, is a blast. It's almost useless to say it's not worth playing through these a second time. After taking out the first tanker truck in a massive combo string, you'll be sucked right in, regardless of how much time it took previously.

The good news is that for newcomers, this is an all-new experience. It allows them to barrel through (literally) the games they've missed, and on a platform that does an admirable job of handling it all. There are some rough spots that were not present elsewhere, including jittery textures, collision glitches, and rare game stopping moments that send cars off into nowhere.

These brief glitches hardly detract from what is (still) the best and deepest racing series available. The acceptable load times only seem to reiterate what this series is about: speed. That and of course completely over-the-top crashes that likely send hundreds of people to a bloody death. That's what the public pays for, and in the end, repetition or not, Burnout Legends is spectacular.

Comments (2)

Since I had never played the first few games in the series, I am very pleased with this game.

I am also happy with the, as you say acceptable, load times. This is a nice improvement over EA's other racer, Need for Speed Underground Rivals, which had some long, some short, loading screens.

LKM:

I haven't really played a Burnout since the original version, and what astonished me the most is how aggressive the AI has become. It's awesome: They try to crash you off the street constantly. I don't think they did this in the first or second version.

Other than that, the game is a bit glitchy. It tends to exhibit serious graphics problems if the PSP is set to sleep during a race (seems it can't load the graphics and you suddenly drive through nowhere), I've been able to race through polygons once or twice, getting stuck outside of the level, and it has crashed on me a few times.

Still a great game for fans of the Burnout series.

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