Perhaps this game would have been better suited with the title "Smashing
Drive", but Burnout is fine. The reason I said that is because Burnout has some
of the most realistic, and fairly graphic crashes ever seen in a video game
(until the point Burnout 2: Point of Impact came out). While this is certianly
the draw or the hook of the game, the developers slightly downplay the crashing.
It's basic arcade racing with the encouragement of wreckless driving. If you can
drive dangerously successfully, you can earn a boost for even more unlawful fun.
But Criterion Studios never took full advantage of the crashes. It's just there.
It wasn't until the sequel that crashing became a little more integral.
But the crashes are one to behold. While it doesn't have as much particle
effects as the sequel, the original does plenty. Some crashes are rather lame
like a small fender bender or a scrape on the wall. But then there's the moments
when your car files and flips smacking into the oncoming traffic. And there is
some car damage and deformation, but doesn't last. Right after you crash, your
car looks new. Hmmm.
Graphically, Burnout is relatively nice looking, for a PS2 game. Not exactally
GT3, but a little better than Ridge Racer V. It's nice to see a system such as
the PS2 to pull off as many dynamic effects such as particles, considering it's
underpowered compared to the GCN or XBox. The game moves at a fairly smooth 60FPS,
and that's fine for an arcade racer. Not as clean as the GCN or XBox version, but
it holds up okay.
The audio portion is great. The music is standard techno, but the best part
is the crashing sounds. It sounds very realistic and loud (thanks to Dolby
Surround). Turn off the msuic and turn up the game loud to experience some great
The gameplay is fairly limited, especially when you compare Burnout to other
racers such as Gran Turismo 3 or the Need For Speed series. The main portion of
the game is the championship mode, which is tough to get into if you tend not to
avoid the traffic. For some reason, a game designed with special crash physics doesn't
ecourage crashing, even though it's inevitable. Strange. There's the single race mode, which is fun
anytime you want to play a quick game, and the time trial is much like the
single race, but without the competiton. One of the more challenging modes is
the Survival mode that opens up after completing the game. You have to finish
any course whithout crashing, and it's no easy task. I have yet to complete one
course in Survival mode. This increases replay value some, but there needed to
Burnout's biggest letdown is in the replay value. There's only about 6 actual
courses with variations, and not too many modes of gameplay which I mentioned
above. It's still fun to pick up, play and crash. But the PS2 is home to some
racers that has a lot more depth, such as GT3, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2,
Pro Race Driver and others. It's nice arcade fun, but currently, go for the
sequel. It has more options and modes.