Review: Burnout Crash! [PSN/XBLA]

When people hear about a new Burnout game, you can see fireworks going off over them. Why, you ask? Because people love to crash cars, and the Burnout franchise has turned that concept into an art throughout the years. Burnout Crash! capitalizes on this by removing racing from the game all together and giving those fans exactly what they want. While the crashes aren’t glorified by slow-motion, crinkling car parts and shattered glass, they are just as satisfying.

Burnout Crash! drops you into a car, lets you steer it into the intersection, and make that first car wreck that will be the first of many. The game offers three modes of play and features the social-system from Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, the Autolog. You unlock a few stat-varying cars throughout your tenor as an expert crasher, each with a different amount of damage power and aftertouch (more on that later).

The game modes presented are Road Trip, Rush Hour, and Pileup. Road Trip has the simple goal of causing so much damage (scored as money). Your time expires when either so many crashes happen, or you let five cars escape. Rush Hour is 90 seconds of madness, and a massive explosion at the end. Pile Up requires a little more strategy, and has far more rules than I should have to explain, but thankfully, the game has a nice little tutorial before you start each event to explain what is going on. I found Rush Hour to be the most fun, and it’s what I expected the whole game to be. It’s you, wreaking havoc on cars and buildings, doing as much damage as possible in a limited amount of time.

Each intersection represents a district, with it’s own theme. You have a small city theme, a beach theme, even a desert theme, and it keeps the visuals fresh. Going for that “arcade” feel, Criterion went with the option of having very obnoxious voicework done on the game, that really fits the atmosphere of the game. I had heard some complaints about it, but seeing as how this is something I could see playing in a real arcade, it’s fitting.  Each intersection you unlock, however, only has the Road Trip game mode unlocked from the start, and you have to earn at least one star to unlock the other two modes in that intersection. Road Trip is a lot of fun when you start watching where traffic is coming from, because the insane road layouts later on in the game make you not want to blink.

The buttons are easy to memorize. You hit “X” to make an explosion, which recharges via a Crash meter at the bottom of the screen, and while your car is in midair, you can steer it to a certain degree. The steering, referred to as aftertouch, is dependent on the vehicle you are using. Some are very controllable and can pretty much soar across the screen, while the more powerful ones can only move so far.

The environments contain varying elements of interest; buildings, props, parked cars, dumpsters, oil drums, and more prized targets like a few sports cars and a GOLDEN car. The latter are worth massive points, but usually take some work to get to. Dumpsters (and cars for that matter), can be propelled with your explosive radius to hit traffic from afar, or launched into buildings to help take them down.

And lastly, we have the Autolog. While I don’t feel as strongly about it in this title as I did Hot Pursuit, it is a great leaderboard system that more games need to mimic. What I mean by “not feeling as strongly about it” is that I never went back and tried to beat a friends score. While, in Hot Pursuit, I would do a race again to shave those few seconds off to take the top spot. I say that because with Burnout Crash!, sure there is some skill involved, but there’s also some luck in there as well. With Hot Pursuit, it was 99% skill when you took down a friends time. So while I would love the Autolog feature in every arcade-style game, it doesn’t deserve me gushing over it like I did when it was introduced in Hot Pursuit.

Good, solid arcade games are plentiful, but Burnout Crash! takes a proven franchise, changes the viewpoint, and creates one of the best arcade games I have personally played all year. I honestly couldn’t sit down and play for long periods of time, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this is a game any old-school arcade fan needs to check out.

Pros: arcade action, EXPLOSIONS!, Autolog, fully destructible environments
Cons: repetitive in long sessions

Score: 4/5

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Author: Don Parsons View all posts by
Starting out as a founding member of Gamingcore Podcast, Don ventured on to start Gameciety; which began as a podcast, and ended as a blog. Don now handles Vagary.tv's PR work, is part of the reviews staff and has various other little projects he does for the site.