Burnout Legends Review

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Developer: Criterion Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: September 26, 2005 Also On: None

Electronic Arts and Criterion have made the Burnout series the most successful and exciting racing video game series to date. Now a yearly franchise (or so it seems), Criterion dropped the bomb on the home consoles this September when they released Burnout Revenge (which our own Kyle Bell reviewed at 9.1). They also released a PlayStation Portable Burnout, titled Burnout Legends, which is one of the best PSP games to date. With all of the hard-hitting crashes and the same blazing speed of the console games, Burnout Legends holds true to its legacy and delivers in every way.

Burnout Legends takes bits and pieces of Burnout, Burnout 2, and Burnout 3: Takedown and optimizes the experience for the PSP. You’ll instantly recognize some courses, cars, and Crash Junctions if you’ve played any of these three games. This means that there hasn’t been much new stuff added to the mix, but what is crunched up into this UMD is impressive. There are eight gameplay modes, including Ad Hoc WiFi multiplayer, and the single player World Tour mode has over 170 events on its own as well as the usual 100 Crash Junctions. It would be safe to say that Burnout Legends will take players as long to complete as Burnout Revenge would on a home console.

After four or five years of high-speed crashes, I’m surprised that EA has managed to keep this franchise fresh and entertaining but somehow they surpass themselves every year with something new. In this year’s revenge, you have the ability to ram pedestrian cars around and potentially cause crashes this way. Unfortunately, Burnout Revenge’s newest feature is exempt from Legends. This means that Legends plays in almost every way like Burnout 3: Takedown, which isn’t a bad thing at all, it just means that Takedown veterans won’t find anything new to try.

Still, all of those events never get old. Crash Junctions are as fast, explosive, and hectic as ever. I could never tire of making 30-car pile-ups. There are rewards for players who rack up damage dollars and collect gold medals, of course, so getting all of the gold medals in this game is as addictive as before. As a side note, though, I was disappointed as I noticed it was slightly easier to get gold medals in most of the challenges.

Visually Burnout Legends ranks among the best-looking PSP games so far. The exaggerated sparks from Burnout 3 return and the explosions, filled with smoke and debris, look right at home on the PSP. The crashing not only looks great, but it sounds great as well. The sound of metal buckling and explosions going off is as sweet as candy. As far as music goes, the soundtrack is similar to most of EA’s other games this year. It contains pop rock and punk rock, so take it or leave it.

I noticed a few small glitches while playing Burnout Legends, but nothing really distracts from the experience. Sometimes when I was taken down or I’d crash, my car would fly into a tree and get stuck or slide along a wall until the crashing sequence ended itself. I’ve always thought this, but some Crash Junctions are more luck than skill. No two attempts at the same Crash Junction will end exactly the same, so some Junctions may take one or two tries while others could take an hour or so to finally beat. I know there was one Junction that I tried about thirty times and still never managed to earn gold until I tried it one last time and blew the score away. It’s inconsistent, but it’s always fun.

In conclusion, Burnout Legends is one of the premium PSP games. It ranks among Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee, Metal Gear Acid, and Wipeout Pure as one of my favorite games on the console. With so much to do and so much excitement while doing it, Burnout Legends is an explosive rush quite unlike anything else on the PSP. The console is loaded with racing games (and there’s still more on the way) but you’d be hard-pressed to find something better than this.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.7
Written by Cliff Review Guide

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