It’s Burnout Revenge on the 360. Looks a bit prettier, has replays. That’s about it. I saw it on a massive HD telly. That’s the Hi-def part of the review over.
Obviously, it’s really really good. It’s Burnout Revenge and it fixes most of the hideous wrongs that crept into Burnout Takedown. The content appears to be exactly the same as the current-gen version, aside the inclusion of the forementioned replays.
Thing is, the replay system is a spectacular disappointment.
It’s a crushing tragedy that racing games these days have a stock group of cameras for any replays. There’s the in-game views, maybe a track view, maybe a change car option. These are often just enough to leave you slightly unsatisfied. You can review the race, maybe see a choice bit of action with almost ideal framing, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a replay suite that genuinely lets me satiate my freakish urge to review any highlights from as many angles as possible.
My fetishisation of the replay stems from the mindfuckingly-good replay mode in Indy 500, that pioneering polygon racer back on the Amiga-era home machines. In that, I would calculate the best time to initate a massive crash, timed accurately so that the calamity plays out across the field of vision for a static trackside camera.
There’s something brilliant about an optimal static camera and an easy rewind that lets you squeeze every ounce of entertainment and glee from unfolding virtual carnage. You can focus on the interactions between specific vehicles, tracing their path and then compare it instantly to the eventual fate of another. If that’s a bit too much concentration work, you can watch the chaos explode in a global fashion, picking and choosing which parts of the mess to focus on, like some glorious buffet of polygonal disaster.
That’s pretty much the opposite for Burnout Revenge on the 360. The cameras available are awful and do a really, really bad job of capturing the monumental amounts of action.
How difficult is it to place a camera at every deliberate kink-trap and brick wall on the tracks? Why can’t I manually pan the action camera when I crash? RUBBISH.
The crash mode camera is even more annoying. In a mode you’d assume was an ideal fit for the most user-configurable camera system possible, you get fuck all. There’s a couple of car views until you crash and then you get the same action camera you had in the gameplay. BASTARDS. It’s really fucking awful. You pretty much end up hearing most of the interesting stuff rather than seeing it, the camera remaining immobile at all times.
As an aside, the fact that the physics drop from 1000 to -1000 once the crash gets properly going is a bit of a let-down. Set off a big explosion and it looks like the physics are being calculated on an Atari ST. You’d think the TRI-CORE MAJESTY of the 360 would be up to keeping the physics keyframes a bit nearer to matching the rendering frame rate.
Getting back to the crash mode replays, including a single static camera to give an overview would have been an obvious choice, right? It’s not too hard to figure out where the likely hotspots are on the levels. Just one free-floating, placeable camera would have been fantastic. I’d even settle for a single overhead view of the likely crash spots. At least then I could get properly into it and examine the happy accident jsut like I did in Indy 500, some 15 years ago.
Instead I have to watch a burning wreck in amongst loads of others and review the continuing action via the sense of sound, apart from the occassional arrivals that the action cam deems suitable for my viewing.
JUST GIVE ME A FUCKING PAN FUNCTION.
Graphics: 300 out of 1000.
“Not quite graphics x1000. In fact, quite far off. This should really look better, right?”
Sound: -20,000 out of 1000.
Addictabillity: 800 out of 1000.
“THAT BRUNOUT ACTION IS GREAT!”
Longness: 800 out of 1000
“It’s quite long”
Replay camera funtions: -1,000,000 out of 1000
Overall: Some massive negative figure.