When Criterion Studios announced they were releasing a new game in the Burnout series, fans were understandably excited. The Burnout series has always been well received and the absence of a new entry for the past few years has left fans wanting more. It's no surprise then that when it was announced that Burnout Crash was going to be a top down game focused around blowing cars up, more than a few eyebrows were raised. With that being said, let this serve as your warning. Burnout Crash is a fun and exciting experience, but it is definitely not a racing game.
What Burnout Crash does offer to fans is a new take on the "Showtime" mode that was featured in previous games, and creates a more arcade feel for the gameplay. What this translates into for players is driving into an intersection and attempting to cause the most mayhem and carnage as possible. At the beginning of each level you will steer into an intersection, choose an innocent, unsuspecting motorist and begin the explosive gameplay that is Burnout Crash.
After this initial collision you keep the chaos going by using your 'crashbreaker' wherein you essentially explode, causing damage to a predetermined radius. This explosion causes other vehicles to ricochet across the map gaining you points and damaging buildings. After exploding using your crashbreaker, you then steer your vehicle midair to a new position on the map. This is done with the 'aftertouch' which determines how far you can move after an explosion. This aftertouch is the only form of movement in the main game, so those of you looking to get behind the wheel are out of luck.
As you progress through the game new vehicles can be unlocked, giving you a selection to choose from with different levels of power and aftertouch. If you're going for raw power, you will likely choose a larger vehicle with more of an explosion. Alternatively if you want mobility, you'll go after a vehicle with a higher level of aftertouch. Your vehicle selections will vary by intersection as some will require you to cover more turns and roadways, whereas others are simply four way stops requiring little movement.
Burnout Crash keeps you entertained by introducing three different variations on this explosive madness with Road Trip, Rush Hour, and Pile Up. Road Trip limits how many cars can leave the intersection before you lose and incorporates three waves of vehicles. Each wave passed introduces an event such as a gas tanker which can be destroyed or meteors raining down which you must avoid. The third wave is triggered after you've destroyed all traffic and enables the finishing event which means you've beaten the intersection. Rush Hour, alternatively, has no limit on how many cars can survive, but rather gives you 90 seconds to cause as much destruction as possible. When the time is up you have one final explosion where, if you've amassed enough destroyed cars, you can cause a lot of damage earning you more money. Similarly in Pile Up, you don't fail if vehicles escape, but rather you lose combination multipliers on your way to the final event where you keep time going by lighting vehicles and buildings on fire.
At the end of each level you are awarded stars for completing specific goals such as earning $30,000,000 in damage or reaching the final event without allowing a single car to escape the intersection unharmed. These stars are used to unlock subsequent intersections and vehicles as well as progressing the game along. You are also assessed at the end of each level on how much damage you have done in a dollar figure. This is based on factors such as the number of crashes you cause, and how many explosions occur. These destructive financial figures not only go towards specific goals but also play into the Autolog.
This Autolog is Crash's limited multiplayer feature that allows you to challenge friends to beat your score on any specific intersection and gameplay mode. Autolog also allows you to challenge a friend head to head online, taking turns besting each other's scores. This feature allows for some challenges amongst friends where the victor earns bragging rights, but can't be seen as a true multiplayer. With that being said the best way to play Crash may be to do it with friends huddle around one TV. Burnout Crash seems to gives off a game show vibe, and having friends pass the controller around seems like it would make for a great party game.
Crash's graphics are colorful and vibrant, and almost seem to invoke the idea that this game is targeted at a younger generation who will enjoy all the cars, explosions, and chaos. Further to this, the sounds and commentary are lively and help reinforce the game show atmosphere. The presentation culminates in the fun filled experience that is Burnout Crash.
As Burnout Crash has essentially no racing at all, it may leave fans of the series rather disappointed. The action is fast paced and frantic, but as you are playing and a car slip outside your reach, the game almost mocks you, reinforcing the fact you can't just hit the gas and give chase. Crash can be forgiven for this though as the gameplay is enjoyable, but its lack of depth hinders it from being a superb game. This drawback is at least balanced by the fact it is a downloadable title at a rather low price point of 800 MS points ($9.99).
Burnout Crash is an entertaining and exciting game, and if you're in the mood for some explosive fun, you will likely enjoy what Crash has to offer. Its large explosions and arcade like feel make it an accessible game to everyone. As warned though, don't let the Burnout title fool you, there isn't any racing in this game to be had. If you can get passed that one downside, Burnout Crash is an entertaining title that is enjoyable and accessible for gamers of any age.