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Critical Reception: Criterion/Electronic Arts' Burnout Revenge

This week's Critical Reception, a regular column that looks at how the gaming press has received a particularly notable recently released game, features the latest iterat...
This week's Critical Reception, a regular column that looks at how the gaming press has received a particularly notable recently released game, features the latest iteration of the Criterion-developed and Electronic Arts-published Xbox/PlayStation Burnout arcade racing arcade series, Burnout Revenge. Analyzing the latest title in the long-running series, which was initially published by Acclaim when Criterion was an independent developer, the now EA-owned Criterion scored very favorably with the gaming media, with a 90% for both the Xbox version and the PlayStation 2 version of the title, according to review aggregation site GameTab. The series returns sporting iterative improvement, building upon the success of last year's Burnout 3: Takedown, and the most notable change according to 1UP's Andrew Pfister, is that "same-way traffic no longer poses a threat -- this is perhaps the most significant change to the Burnout fundamentals in the series' young history. What used to be mobile and highly-stressful roadblocks are now mobile and highly-destructive weapons. Purists may take a while to get over the switch from skill to thrill, but there's plenty of oncoming traffic, immovable buses and unfortunately-placed cement pillars to avoid." Reviewing the game very positively, Pfister considers it "really what Burnout 3 should have been", and rated it accordingly with a 90% equivalent mark. The other major change, according to Gamespot's Jeff Gerstmann, who rated it at 91% equivalent, is that: "Each of the game's tracks is now packed full of alternate routes, some of which serve as shortcuts. Some of them really just serve as ramps, letting you set up for tough but supremely satisfying vertical takedowns. Crashing down from above onto an opponent is one of the more thrilling moments the game has to offer." With no real negative things to say about Burnout Revenge, he dubs it a "must-own game" - that is, "unless you don't have the reflexes to handle it." Rating the game the lowest of major review sites, but still giving it an impressive 89%, IGN's Chris Roper had a few smaller issues regarding the game, such as the new Traffic Attack mode being, in his opinion, "basically a throwaway" and remarking that: "Checked traffic is there for your benefit and your benefit alone. Computer-driven opponents seem incapable of taking you out with a vehicle they send astray, meaning that you now have access to a weapon they in effect don't, giving you a definite edge." However, he still considers that "while not perfect, Burnout Revenge is an excellent addition to the franchise." With the reviews in, Burnout Revenge looks to be another qualified success in the series, albeit a short-development-time iterative improvement, blending the hard-to-convey rush of speed with the sudden crunch of metal on metal - it's on course for good sales this holiday season, although the impact of a new Need For Speed game, also from EA, may affect sell-through numbers somewhat in the longer term.

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