Burnout Revenge Hands-On
We can't drive 55, especially when checking out an updated build of EA's blistering racer for Xbox 360.
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Sixty frames per second has never looked as lethal as it does in the blistering high-speed racing game that is Burnout Revenge for the Xbox 360. We got a first look at a demo version of the game a few weeks ago at CES 2006, and came away impressed with what looks to be a very faithful next-gen reproduction of one of the best racing games to appear on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Today, EA dropped by to give us another brief look at the game, as the developers make their way toward a March finish line.
Foremost on our minds for this latest look at Revenge for the 360 was some of the online features for the game, of which we only got the briefest of glimpses at CES. First, there's the save and share option, which lets your record clips of any race, save them to your 360 hard drive, and even upload them to EA servers for sharing between friends and strangers alike. Here's how it works: After a race ends, you're taken immediately to the standard replay screen where, with just a press of a button, you can record clips up to 30 seconds long at any point in the race. You can record as many clips as you want, and rewind, pause, and fast-forward as you see fit. From your collection of recorded clips, you can then choose which clips you wish to upload to share with the rest of the world. You'll have quick access to any movies your friends upload by accessing the "friends' clip" menu option.
While any of the Burnout Revenge clips you download via Xbox Live will be played back using the in-game engine (as opposed to, say, media files such as AVI or WMV), the Revenge development team is currently building a way to have those same files digitized and uploaded to the Burnout Revenge Web site--so you'll have a way to share your best crashes and most vicious takedowns, even with friends who don't own an Xbox 360. You'll be able to rate any clip you download from the Web site via a "Hot or Not"-type interface, and producers have said they are looking into ways of rewarding players whose clips are most highly rated.
As for the other big piece of Revenge's online puzzle--Live Revenge--well, precious few new details were revealed today. We know the development shift has focused slightly, however. Whereas in our last look, Live Revenge was more about establishing one-on-one rivalries with other players in an online race, now the focus has shifted to creating multiple rivalries between players in a race. For example, at the beginning of an online race, the person with the most online takedowns might be highlighted before the green light is lit. Obviously, that's the person you'll want to go after when the wheels start spinning and the metal starts flying. The idea, as producers told us, is to eventually develop a healthy list of online rivals that you run into each time you take the game online. Call it building an "enemies" list, as opposed to the traditional Xbox Live friends list.
Along with a handful of new cars (we got to try out an especially sharp-looking Alienware-themed ride), there are also 10 brand-new crashbreaker courses, one of which we got to explode around a bit on. The layout was fairly simple: a stretch of blacktop, a ramp that overlooked a parking lot full of just-waiting-to-be-blown-up semis, and a landing area that contained plenty of oncoming traffic to ram. The idea was to cause a huge pileup on the far end of the highway, then use your crashbreakers to guide your car into the waiting pit of big rigs for the coup de grace. Fun stuff, and a great opportunity to show off those fiery explosion effects that look and sound so impressive on the 360.
The development team is still a few weeks away from reaching beta status on Burnout Revenge. The good news is that the core gameplay seems to be running at 60fps throughout, with the same scorching pace you're used to from the Burnout series--at least on the courses we played. We're curious to see if this applies to the rest of Revenge's tracks, and we hope to have preview copies on our desks in the coming weeks, when we'll bring you much more on this game, so be sure to check back.