Last year EA absolutely blew us away with the phenomenal Burnout 3, a game that really showed just how much clout EA has in terms of gaming budget these days. Burnout 3 took the game exactly where Criterion wanted it to be, where fans wanted it to be, and to the heights of gaming success in 2004. So where exactly do they go from being so close to perfection? We recently got a crack with the latest build of Burnout 4 Revenge and while we were skeptical that even Criterion could top 3, they have and in spades. Burnout 4 is the new Burnout 3, and should be an ever bigger smash (pun intended) hit later this year.
On the surface Burnout 4 looks like Burnout 3 and plays like Burnout 3, it's the small things Criterion have done to make it a game that just does what BO3 did better. Criterion have been moving away from a pure focus on racing and this continues with Burnout 4. That's not to say the high speed, high adrenaline racing is gone because it's not, but they've added yet another fun mode, and options to make the game even easier to pick up and play and much more enjoyable. The new changes once again show that Criterion is not happy with just making a new game, they want more fun in the game.
The two modes in the current build are racing and traffic attack. The race is fairly self explanatory and remains much like Burnout 3 with a few exceptions. However the other game mode is where the action is this time around. Traffic attack is brilliant. You start with seventy seconds to create as much destruction as possible and as you hit traffic and cause damage the time goes up so the aim is to last as long as possible. We managed about two minutes and $300k worth of damage. Very cool mode that is going to be fantastically brilliant online.
This also leads into the major change for the race mode. The physics of some of the cars have been altered to allow you to push them around. So the cars on your side of the road can be slammed around as long as they aren't big cars and buses etc. This creates some truly crazy takedowns but what is even more insane is that crashbreaker now features in races. Have a crash? Then blow the car up and take out other traffic and cars. It makes takedowns a lot easier to get and just makes the crash sequences a lot easier to stomach in terms of length etc.
The two cities we got to see are Detroit and Tokyo but the EA representative did mention that these city names may change for the final version. Detroit felt a lot like the track from the Burnout 3 demo; tight winding urban areas, huge jumps and lots of traffic where as Tokyo was a bit more open with tight spaces and generally a lot like the Asian tracks from Burnout 3. Both looked extremely well done and if, as rumored, this is heading to Xbox 360 then Microsoft already has its first AAA graphics game. Personally, it's hard to see Criterion resisting next generation technology for 4, it just may not come out at the same time.
We are expecting modes such as Takedown and Crash mode to return but this build purely focused on what's new and we are impressed. The graphics have had yet another overhaul and look even better than Burnout 3 (we played the Xbox build of 4). The sense of speed is even faster and it feels about 1/3 faster than Burnout 3 was. We would have been happy to see BO3 speeds but even faster is just icing on the cake for this AAA racer. The music we heard which admittedly was one song seemed to suit the two cities we played very well.
Burnout 4 is well on the way to becoming the top of the pile of this year's racers again - put that into perspective of what we've had already this year, GT4 and Forza. It's a bit silly to compare those but in terms of pure speed and racing Burnout 4 has them licked in terms of pure adrenaline. Burnout 4 Revenge should be on store shelves this September.