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Burnout Legends

Reviewed October 2005 by Marc Morgan

Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Criterion Games
Release Date: September, 2005
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone 10+
Genre: Battle Racing
Price: $49.99

The Burnout series of games is known for its extreme gameplay, which is combining intensive racing with a destruction derby. There are two general objectives in each race: to go as fast as you can, and slam any opponents who get in your way. With Burnout Legends, EA brings the Burnout series to the Sony PSP.

Gameplay

In Burnout Legends, there are two general modes: World Tour or Single Event. There are several different types of events contained within each mode, most of which are in both modes. World Tour contains Race, Road Rage, Face-Off, Eliminator, Pursuit, Burning Lap, Crash, Grand Prix, and Legend Grand Prix. Single Event mode contains Race, Time Attack, Road Rage, Pursuit, and Crash. In World Tour mode, there are five classes of cars: Compact, Muscle, Coupe, Sport, and Super. Each class of cars is faster than the one before it. One of the main features of World Tour mode is the map. Events are scattered across several locations on the map, and winning certain events will give you new levels, cars, awards, etc. World Tour mode is where you can unlock cars and tracks for use in Single Event mode.

Like most other racing games, the goal in Race mode is to get to the finish line before your opponents do. In some games, mainly street racing games, you get nitrous boost. In Burnout Legends you can use boost to make your car go faster. How do you get boost? You can easily get boost by doing things like drifting, driving in the oncoming lane, and barely missing civilian cars, among other things. If you manage to take out an opponent, the boost bar will get filled to max, and will also grow, so it takes longer for it to empty. However, if you crash, not only do you get slowed down for a bit, your boost bar will shrink if it has gotten larger than it was originally. In the end, all that really matters in Race mode is that you get to the finish line first to grab the gold medal. If you get there second, you get silver, and if you get there third, you get bronze.

Road Rage mode is where Burnout really starts to differ from other racing games. The objective is to get as many takedowns as possible in a set time limit (World Tour mode only) or before you crash too many times (both modes). The boost works the same way as it does in Race mode. In world tour mode, you have to get a certain amount of takedowns to get a gold medal. The idea is simple, but very fun.

Face-Off mode is only available in World Tour mode. In this mode, only you and one opponent race together. If you win the race, you win your opponent's car. Every other aspect of Face-Off mode is the same as Race mode.

Eliminator mode is just like race mode, except that after every lap, the car in last place is eliminated. This continues until there is only one car left. If you win, you get a gold medal. It's as simple as that. Also, Eliminator is only available in World Tour mode.

In pursuit mode, you drive a cop car, and have to catch a target car. To do this, you have to slam it until it runs out of health. The boost works the same way it does in modes like Race and Road Rage, except that you start out with a large bar. In World Tour mode, there is a time limit, and there are certain times you have to achieve to earn gold, silver, or bronze medals.

In Burning Lap mode, you are given a fast car, and have to complete one lap around a track in a given time. You are awarded medals based on how long it took you to get around the track. The boost in Burning Lap mode works the same way that is does in Race mode except you start with a large bar of boost instead of a small bar of boost.

Crash mode is where you try to wreak as much havoc as possible. The idea is to make as many vehicles crash as possible. You get Crash dollars every time there is a crash and the larger the vehicle, the more money you make. After a certain amount of crashes, you can use Crashbreaker. Crashbreaker basically makes your car explode so you can do even more damage. There are also items to pick up while you are in Crash mode. The boost icon will give you a speed boost, and there are cash icons which give you extra cash. Bronze gives you $5000, Silver gives you $10000, and Gold gives you $20000. In World Tour mode, you get different medals depending on how much money you make.

In Time Attack mode, it's just you vs. the clock. You get to pick any track you have unlocked, and any car you have unlocked, and race it around the track as many times as you want. The main objective in this mode is just to break your own records, and to practice. Think of it as Burning Lap in Single Event mode, without the medals or a time limit.

Grand Prix mode is where you unlock the next class of cars in World Tour mode. Everything is the same as Race mode, except that there are three races, one right after the other. After each of the three races, you get a certain amount of GP points depending on what place you came in. After all three races, the GP points are totaled up, and the driver with the most points wins. Legend GP is the almost the exact same as Grand Prix, except that you have to drive a Legend car that has been unlocked.

Graphics

The graphics in Burnout Legends are very impressive for a PSP game. Not only are the cars well detailed, but there are also reflection and shadow effects on the cars. All of the cars have their own distinct look and the car geeks should immediately recognize your favorite makers and models. The tracks are also very well done, and there are plenty of different items depending on what location you are in. Some of the camera effects make the game extremely fun to watch. When you crash your car, you can view it in slow motion by pressing the R button. Also, when you take another car down, the camera does a slow motion view of them crashing. This can actually get a little annoying, as your car is still moving, so you can crash while watching the crash. However, there is an option to turn the camera showing the opponent crash off. The camera angle can also get a little annoying in crash mode, as after you crash, you may want to navigate your car to a pickup, but the camera may be focused on cars crashing rather than your car. Aside from the camera problems, the graphics in the game are very well done!

Sound

Burnout Legends features both soundtracks as well as plenty of sound effects. The soundtrack of 21 songs is composed mainly of Punk Rock and Metal genre music, and features artists such as Billy Talent and OK Go. Burnout Legends has a variety of in-game sound effects; most of them are realistic. All of the cars have different engine sounds, and the crashes, tires sound extremely satisfying.

 

Screen Shots:

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Conclusion

Burnout Legends (like all the games in the Burnout series) is not just another racer. It's not just about getting around the track as fast as you can, but how many opponents you can take out along the way. There are plenty of unique gameplay modes, as well as the usual modes you would see in other racing games. Many of the game modes are very addictive. The graphics are superb, especially for a handheld game, and all of the tracks and cars are designed well. Many games lose out on gameplay when the graphics get better or vice-versa, but Burnout Legends is not one of them. Although the game is a bit lacking in different genres of music, there are plenty of well done sound effects to accompany the racing. Burnout Legends is definitely one of those games you don't want to miss!

Playing Hints and Tips

- After you crash, use aftertouch to steer your crash. This can be done in Crash mode by simply moving the D-Pad or analog stick in the direction you want, and in all other modes by holding R and steering the car. If you use it properly, you may be able to get an aftertouch takedown by crashing your car into an opponent.
- Use the traffic to your advantage! If you want to take out an opponent, push them into an oncoming car.
- In Pursuit mode, if you want to quickly take down the target, try to crash in front of them and get an aftertouch takedown. This should almost finish their health off if it is the first time you strike them.

 

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

The graphics in Burnout Legends are excellent for a handheld game. The reflection and shadow effects make the cars look very realistic. The tracks are also designed very well. The camera angles can pose slight problems in certain gameplay.

Sound

Burnout Legends contains both music and sound effects, but there isn't much of a variety of music genres in the game, although it falls into the usual racing heavy metal category. The sound effects are where the game shines: there is large variety of FX and they sound very realistic.

Fun Meter

The large variety of modes, cars, and tracks makes Burnout Legends a must-have game. There are plenty of modes, and they aren't all the same either. All the modes are fun to play, and they are easy to learn how to play as well.

Addictivity

Lots of racing games get boring as soon as they get repetitive, or as soon as they become too challenging and frustrating. This is not true of Burnout Legends. All of the different modes can be very addictive, especially Crash and Road Rage mode. Burnout Legends does get challenging, and can be a little frustrating at times, but it is still very addictive!

Total Score= 4.5 Dragons, 90%



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