Xbox 360 Review: Burnout Revenge

I will be the first to admit, I was not really looking forward to yet another current generation port to the Xbox 360. That card has been played already, repeatedly. But I am coming from a slightly different perspective -- I have not played Burnout Revenge to death. Yep, that's right, I skipped this on the Xbox. I suppose it had something to do with Forza Motorsport.

Regardless, comparisons have to be made between the Xbox and Xbox 360 versions of Burnout Revenge. Looking at them side-by-side does not show a leap in quality. The Xbox version is, after all, one of the highlights of higher production value late in a console's life. The graphics and sound are some of the best the Xbox has to offer (I have never played the PS2 version).

The major differences are small details such as chipped paint, better crash animations and higher resolution textures and models. But again, the Xbox version looked so good already, the new additions do not look very spectacular. Simply put, the "wow" effect is spoiled by the version that came out six months ago.

Small graphical updates are welcome additions to be sure, but this is not a large enough leap to get the "next-gen" moniker. What is a welcome is native 720p HD support. Burnout Revenge really shines in High Definition. I cannot wait to see the next Burnout for the Xbox 360, one built with the console in mind from the start.

Also, game play remains the same. There are small tweaks, but not enough to make a big difference. The 360 release gets a few new Crash Junctions, but the rest we have seen before on PS2 and Xbox.

While the game play did not get a boost, Xbox Live did. New to the 360 is Live Revenge, which takes the single player Revenge feature online. The game will track all the players you tangle with online. If you get a Takedown, your rival can settle the score by taking your down as well. There are even Achievement Points for this.

Live Revenge truly invigorates online play, especially if you are not new to Burnout Revenge. It is the one thing that makes Burnout Revenge worth looking into for Xbox 360 owners. Adding online rivals gives you more than just finishing first in any given race. This is a great new feature for the series, and the best thing Criterion added for Burnout's Xbox 360 debut.

Burnout Clips are another story all together. This feature has become callously known as "Burnout Spam." New to the Xbox 360 version, people can record 30 second clips after every single player race, and upload them to share with friends. There is also a system in place to recommend the best clips.

Where the spam comes into play is when I am receiving four to five "New Burnout Clips" messages a day in the Dashboard. There is even an option to send (spam) everyone in your Friends List. While this may have been a great concept on paper, in practice it is just an annoyance.

Don't get me wrong, it is great to see all the greatest high scores, crashes, and races. People are just abusing the system. This is not necessarily EA's fault, but they had to see this coming. Adding insult to injury, there are two Achievement Points requiring sharing and recommending of clips. Thought in reality you do not even have to send the clip or recommendation -- yet people still spam me with clips.

I feel sorry for the people, like me for some time, who do not have Burnout Revenge, yet still had to deal with the constant messages.

I am really trying to like the feature, but simply cannot because of the abuse.

The biggest question mark for the Xbox 360 release are the loading times. Almost all loading screens take twice as long as compared to the Xbox version. This is perplexing when it comes to the new, much more powerful, Xbox 360. It is expected that loading times would be cut down on the next-gen system.

Although, load times for Crash mode have been reduced, which is a pleasant surprise. As you will be restarting the event over and over again to achieve the most carnage possible, having shorter loading times in Crash mode more than any other mode of the game is a huge improvement.

As I said, I did not play Burnout Revenge six months ago when it shipped for current generation consoles, so my experience is a lot better. The Xbox 360 version is the best we have seen yet, and fans of the series should give it a look, even if they have played the Xbox or PS2 version to death already. "Your mileage may vary" is no truer than it is here.

Burnout Revenge has not changed much on the Xbox 360, and this is really a good thing. The crashes still look and sound spectacular, the EA Trax are still just as good as they were on the current generation title (which remain the best use of licensed music from EA to date) and it is still white knuckle burnout game play at 60 frames a second.

This game is highly recommended to people new to the series and looking for a arcade racer with superb production values and a strong pedigree. Though it should at least garner a rental for the ones who have the PS2 or Xbox versions of the game. If you have never played Burnout Revenge, you will be pleased with this Xbox 360 entry.

(**** out of *****)

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