Review by Linkxx3
A very good arcade racer
Burnout isn't your usual racing game. You see, Burnout is a very arcadey street racer in which you not only have to reach first place and beat your opponents to win, but you also have to do in style, meaning that you get rewarded for 'risky behavior' such as driving on the wrong side of the road and into oncoming traffic, drifting and performing other reckless behavior. One unique aspect of Burnout and something that has been heavily advertised are the crashes featured in the game. Burnout has the most detailed and awe-inspiring car crashes ever seen in a videogame...at the time, of course. The crashes still look great today, but the sequels naturally have better crash effects.
Sounds like a fun game, doesn't it? Trust me, it is very fun. The games controls are easy to get used to and maneuvering is extremely smooth. You can perform everything from drifts to power-slides with ease which, if performed successfully can fill up a bar in the lower-left corner of your screen. This is what the developers call the 'Burnout Bar' and is basically a bar that gives you extra boost. Replenishing this bar isn't that much of a challenge since it fills up so quickly, so long as you drive recklessly, but fail to crash. If you get the hang of the controls, then you can even get continuous boost throughout the entire levels. It's that easy to pull off.
Don't crash, though. You're rewarded for not only reaching first place and driving like a mad man, but you're also rewarded for not crashing. You get more points if you complete a race without ever once crashing. Yes, the crashes themselves look fantastic to the point where you might intentionally want to crash just to see the awesome effects, but it's not recommended if you want a good high score.
One problem I have with the gameplay is that the AI of your opponents isn't that good at all. Not in the sense that they crash all the time, but I've found that they don't pull off any risks such as driving on the wrong lane and whatnot, and they're always in a fixed position throughout the tracks, which kind of makes races boring after a while, and is the reason why I didn't give this game a higher score.
The amount of cars you can choose in Burnout are pretty limited (around 10 or so, in total), and there is no customization whatsoever, save for simple color swaps. Still, the cars are very detailed and even the ones on the road are just as detailed too. Tracks are somewhat varied. There are a couple of locales based on the US and Europe (not in real areas and cities, though) and they all look great. Particularly the European tracks which look gorgeous. The US tracks are more fun and fast-paced, though with a lot of cars and traffic. There are also reverse versions of existing tracks which I don't particularly care for, but they're nice to have, I guess.
Visually, Burnout looks impressive in all areas. The lighting is great, the tracks are unique and varied, the car physics and crash effects are phenomenal. There are some minor aesthetic problems with the crashes, though. Minor stuff such as the wheels never detaching and flying off. Thankfully, they were improved in the sequel. Everything in the game just looks great. Oh, and the motion blur as you're boosting is a pretty awesome effect.
The game sounds great as well. Everything from the sound of the roaring engine, the boost, the crashes and the drifts and power-slides all sound very real. The in-game soundtrack is pretty good, too. There are some memorable tracks from the first two Burnout games, and while Burnout 2 has the better soundtrack, I still enjoy the tracks featured in the first game. They might not get you pumped up, but they're still cool.
All in all, this is an extremely fun and enjoyable arcade racer. It's unique, fresh and has a couple of great features such as the risk/reward, boost and crash systems. The only real problems with the game are the AI and the lack of car models. It is still a great game worth your time, though and it's better than the past few Burnout games that were released.
+Some pretty kick-ass crash effects
+Sounds excellent and has a good soundtrack
+Graphically impressive in all areas
+Tracks are well-designed and fun to play through
+Risk/Reward system is implemented well
+Very smooth controls
-Lack of car models
-Very basic AI
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Burnout (US, 04/29/02)
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