If there’s one thing Criterion know about, it’s cars. Having had massive success with their Burnout franchise, they have got the art of making driving games down to a tee. However, Burnout CRASH! isn’t really a driving game.
The premise of the game comes from the crash mode in the retail entries in the Burnout series; where you must try and cause as much mayhem and destruction as you can, using your ever exploding car. Working your way through a series of intersections, a level at a time, you must rack up as many points as you can by destroying cars and scenery.
There are three modes to each intersection, with each mode having 5 objectives to complete. Completing them will earn you stars, which in turn level you up to unlock more cars and intersections. Road Trip is the main mode of the game, and the mode you need to play and complete in order to unlock the other two modes for every intersection. Road Trip sees you drive into the intersection (the only actual driving you do in the game) and hit the first car you see. From there, you need to charge up your crashmeter in order to explode your car and move it around the map. Your crashmeter slowly fills all the time, but will be given a boost as cars hit each other or if parts of the scenery are destroyed.
The aim of the game is to destroy a set number of cars without letting more than five get away. You will be aided along the way by perks that will give you an advantage. These range from ’Good Cops’, which will block off one of the exits; to ’Magnet’, which makes your car attract other cars for a short period of time, allowing you to crate massive explosions. At the end of the level, a massive event will take place, such as a Tsunami, that totals everything in sight for bonus points, and the number of cars you let through determines the score multiplier for the event.
It all sounds like fun, but in truth, the mode gets boring rather quickly. The intersections do become more difficult as you progress, but nothing that makes you really want to plough on through. The really fun mode, Rush Hour, gets unlocked once you complete Road Trip.
Rush Hour has the same premise, but you don’t have to worry about letting cars through. You have 90 seconds to cause as much destruction as you can; simple as that. There are still five stars to unlock and there are perks to be collected, but without the worry of having to keep an eye on what every car is doing, it becomes much more fun. It’s such a shame that you have to unlock it first.
The final mode is Pile Up, another mode that really isn’t all that much fun. You have a set number of cars that will make their way onto the map. The idea is to stop them, but not destroy them, so that when you explode at the end of the level, it will give you a better score. It’s a bit dull and still requires you to make sure no cars get through the intersection.
You may have heard that this game resembles a pinball machine more than a driving game; and I can see where people are coming from. Firstly, the scoring system is all about pulling off tricks and skillshots. As you explode, any cars in your area will be blown back from the blast. By blowing cars into other cars, or into parts of the scenery you will receive bonus points, as will knocking cars (or your own) into sinkholes and destroying the parked sports cars on each level. There won’t be a second that goes by in the game where you don’t see some sort of score pop up on screen.
The game also sounds like a pinball machine; close your eyes and you won’t be able to tell the difference. From the sound effects, to the way a music clip plays when certain things happen (Doctor Beat plays as an ambulance comes on screen), this game reeks of pinball.
As you can imagine, being an EA/Criterion game, Burnout CRASH! also supports some Autolog features, although nowhere near as advanced as it is in Hot Pursuit. Autolog does do a grand job of tracking your friends scores through each intersection; as well as making it easy to challenge them. It gives the game that competitive edge, and makes it easy for you to try and beat their scores.
One thing you may not know about this game, is that it supports Kinect; but don’t bother with it. The key to this game is how you control the aftertouch of your car, and the only real way to perfect that is through a controller; not by moving your body. Once again Microsoft’s ’Better with Kinect’ tagline falls short.
Burnout CRASH! suffers from a developer who has take a very simple premise and tried to beef it up make it worth the 800msp asking price.. The only fun mode is Rush Hour and that really isn’t worth getting the whole game for.
Review copy provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.