Once the thrill of high-speed collisions lose their wow factor, will the game gather dust on your shelf?

User Rating: 7.4 | Burnout GC
From the beginning Burnout is reminiscent of the classic Need for Speed series. Players can select a Single Race or go for the Championship. Select a vehicle and then select a course, its traditional racing game stuff really. In the game you race against 3 computer opponents through suburban (mostly city) roads and highways, which are densely populated with an array of cars, trucks and buses. There are 14 courses to race through with backwards versions and weather and time variations (night and day). The race doesn’t go from point A to B, it consists of 3 laps which are broken up by checkpoints. You must get through each checkpoint and around the course within an allocated time limit or the race will finish prematurely, so it’s important not to crash too often. To successfully progress through championships you must achieve a specific target finishing position (first, second or third). Once a few championships are completed you’ll unlock 2 new modes. The first is head-to-head where you face off against another opponent to win new vehicles. The second new mode is survival, which has you soaring through the courses without computer opponents, however once you crash its game over. The game features 2 views; the first is from behind the car whilst the second is the internal view that looks like you’re strapped to the bumper bar. Initially I would have liked more to choose from but once I played through a few levels it was easy to adjust to the oncoming traffic and the views are both quite easy to use. Each car handles differently with it’s own unique reaction to collisions. Another great driving game feature included in Burnout is the drift, which has your vehicles sliding around corners majestically. All vehicles respond to joy pad commands very well which gives the player a great sense of control so it wont take you long to get the hang of driving. Whilst the game may so far sound like a myriad of other racers, Burnout does have a few hooks to get us interested. Those hooks are the sheer speed of the game and the incentive to drive dangerously. As you power through the streets weaving in and out of traffic a small meter on the bottom left of the screen grows. Driving on the wrong side of the road towards oncoming traffic, swerving dangerously close to vehicles and drifting around bends and corners all contribute to the meters growth, whilst if you crash it resets. Once the meter is full you are granted a turbo boost, which kicks off the motion blur filter and treats you to racing bliss at an incredible pace. Even without the turbo the game is fast, really fast yet not too difficult to remain controllable. Weaving between oncoming traffic as you tear down a highway on the wrong side of the road is a huge buzz, and when you use a turbo boost in this scenario your joy pad rumbles as trucks zoom by at a frightening pace. The majority of courses have a drift friendly layout. Once you get confident you will be sliding around bends with ease, and the slight fear of an awaiting bingle just adds to the excitement of the turn. When taking some corners in the country scenes you have to take a risk, as realistic dust effects reduce your line of sight almost completely. All this speed and adrenaline increasing madness does not come without a price. Should your vehicle collide with another your blistering pace is brought to a sudden halt in a rain of broken glass and buckled metal. The game has some of its most exciting moments when you’re drifting around a corner at 130mph only to be cleaned up by a fully loaded semi. Several replays of the collision are shown at different angles along with a damage bill that appears at the bottom of the screen. The collisions are quite limited, a few buckles with some realistic smoke but no bonnets flying across the tar or complete write off looking damage to the vehicle. After the Destruction Derby & Driver series I expected much more. When playing racing games I also like to evaluate the artificial intelligence of the computer opponents. Burnout didn't give me a sense of complete fairness when it came to racing experiences. The computer controlled vehicles roar around the circuit and crash just as many times as a human would, however on several occasions after using back to back turbo boosts I found my opponent right on my tail at the first instance of slight deceleration. This wasn't a huge negative for the experience as it helped keep the tension consistent throughout the race, which actually helped increase the difficulty. Burnout is fun, it incorporates some of the best driving elements with a whole bunch of new and exciting features. The only set back for gamers will be the last ability. We had unlocked almost all tracks & vehicles within the first 3 hours. The question you need to ask yourself is “Once the thrill of high-speed collisions lose their wow factor, will the game gather dust on your shelf?”.