They have a point, but then chaos and carnage, not precision racing, is the order of the day for Revenge. The crash junctions – those kinetic combinations of action game and puzzle, where you try and cause the utmost destruction from a single crash point – have grown both in number and complexity to the point where they seem even less of a side-game than ever before. New takedown and traffic attack modes similarly push your ability to wreak havoc over your ability to win races, and the trophies and collectable freeze-frames of successful takedowns and pile-ups make this a game for the four-wheeled vandal to treasure. What other game lets you explode your crashed car and try to take your opponents down with the wreck?
The sheer variety of this gameplay now necessitates a similar huge assortment of vehicles. They’re still copies of popular models, not licensed model themselves – no manufacturer in their right mind would endorse a game like Burnout – but building a selection to cover every event is an important part of Revenge. You’ll win trucks and suped-up stock cars to handle crash junctions and offensive missions, and sleek, speedy racers for the more straight-forward racers. Whatever the vehicle, the handling is distinct to the type but always classic Burnout: hardly realistic, but responsive and satisfying. Ridge Racer aside, no arcade racer does it better.
The same goes double for the tracks. With multiple routes and plenty of obstructions to sweep past or steer the opposition into, they’re perfectly suited to the varying styles of play and – need I labour the point – absolutely beautiful to look at. Thanks to the world tour motif, each has its own personality. The packed streets of a pseudo-Rome are sun-drenched and steeped in history (not that you’ll have time to admire the Colloseum). The alpine tracks give you plenty of height variation and some fiendish hairpins. Far Eastern tracks give you tight turns and tighter streets. Whether you’re making dramatic leaps from elevated side lane or dodging support columns in a crowded shopping district, the experience is impossibly thrilling.
The one major downside is that Revenge tries slightly too hard to give everyone a good time. It might be different for newcomers, but Burnout veterans will cruise through much of the early game without needing to repeat more than a few events. Still, there is an awful lot here to get through and it will take long hours of play before you perfect your scores and near the elusive 100% mark. And that’s without the thrill of racing online. This might be a dumbed-down Burnout, but it’s still the sharpest, most exciting arcade racer in the pack. As long as games of this quality emerge, this console generation won’t die easy.
Despite a few changes that might alienate long-term fans, Revenge is the best arcade racer in town. The ultimate festival of autobahn anarchy.