Burnout Legends E3 2005 Hands-On

We finally get our grubby hands on Criterion's astonishing PSP racer.

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Not far from our home booth on the E3 show floor we explored the PSP kiosks in the Sony booth and discovered several Burnout Legends stations. As reported before, Burnout Legends combines your favorite content like cars and tracks from all previous Burnout racing games into one tight little handheld game. After a good deal of hands-on time, we're happy to report that Burnout Legends plays, for all intents and purposes, just like Burnout 3, with very few apparent compromises. The build on the E3 show floor is only 70 percent complete, but we're already extremely impressed with the sense of speed from the game and the graphical richness of the cars and environments. The physics on crashes is also as over the top as you remember from Burnout 3, with cars flying up many feet into the air, coming apart in dozens of pieces, and exploding spectacularly in impressive-looking pileups. The lighting and detail of the cars is fantastic, and the tracks are also very close in appearance to their counterparts in the older console versions of Burnout.

There were numerous modes playable in the game, including race, time attack, road rage, pursuit, and crash. Only a couple of tracks were available for play (Silver Lakes and Rivieran), but there was quite a good selection of cars available in the game for different classes. We used something in the coupe class for road rage, while a large SUV served us well in the crash mode, helping us explode a couple of tankers while stopping up four full lanes of traffic on a seaside road. We also tried a good bit of the road rage mode, which seems slightly easier than it was in Burnout 3. Ad-hoc wireless mode was also playable on the floor, but only in race mode. It worked flawlessly in our testing, going head-to-head with one other E3 show attendee on the Silver Lakes track. Up to four players can be supported in ad-hoc mode, but we haven't yet had a chance to try that many players on the E3 show floor.

There are a few rough spots that will need to be worked out before the game is released. The most notable of these is that there's considerable slowness in crash mode as more and more cars pile up into one another. Some textures in the environments, like signage, are also fairly blurry, but that's probably just a limitation of the PSP hardware and a minor problem at worst. Despite these nitpicks, we're extremely excited about how Burnout Legends is shaping up. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage on the game.

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