|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Criterion Games|
|Release: September 20, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Burnout fans know exactly what to expect from the series: amazing tracks, insane challenges, and slo-mo crashes. But after 2008's Burnout Paradise, the series took a bit of a break. Now it's back with Burnout CRASH!, but this isn't exactly Burnout as you remember it. While you probably won't find something with the depth and replay value of the old Burnout games, CRASH! is an interesting experiment nonetheless, and the results aren't all bad.
Burnout CRASH! takes longtime series mainstay Crash Mode and expands it into a full game. However, instead of head-on slo-mo collisions, the game delivers a top-down world populated with cars, buildings, and objects to destroy with your car. In the game's main mode, your job is to create a four-way pileup in such a manner that no cars are able to get through. You start your approach form a side street, and you'll have to crash strategically into a single area, blowing yourself up every few seconds to continue to cause as much mayhem as possible.
The game's main mode is actually quite challenging, and I was surprised at how quickly things can go wrong. See, the twist here is that if you let more than five cars escape from the intersection, the game is over. And since you need to earn a certain amount of stars by reaching some lofty score thresholds, this mode can be quite frustrating. However, if you can time that first crash just right and cut off as much traffic as possible, you can earn some stars and unlock new modes.
Each course has three modes associated with it, offering a total of fifteen earnable stars. And while you would think that the initial mode would be the most fun, I actually found it to be quite tedious, with the secondary modes taking up most of my gameplay time.
The first of these is a sort of free-play mode that gives you 90 seconds to cause as much destruction as possible. There are no limits as to traffic blocking, and you can completely ignore passing cars and go after buildings and landmarks as you see fit. This mode actually allows you to be strategic rather than forcing you to worry about cars slipping through your blockades, letting you plan how to conquer a map and maximize your score. This mode definitely should have been the game's main mode, as the traffic-blocking initial mode feels more like a "challenge" mode, almost superfluous in comparison.
In addition, there is a third mode that challenges you to destroy as much as you can within a time limit and keep the resulting fires burning for as long as possible afterward. It's not as fun as the timed free-for-all mode, but it's still pretty entertaining—it's a better way to spend your time then fretting about cars that slip through traffic, after all.
Despite my misgivings about the initial mode, Burnout CRASH! as a whole has a sort of addictive charm that compelled me to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to get just one more star. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was sucked into its light-hearted arcade format.