If I use this introduction to explain the reason why I’m reviewing this title almost 12 years after it originally released I’ll be over pretty soon. Simply put, I miss Burnout.
It’s been already 9 years after the stellar Burnout Paradise and it doesn’t seem like this series will ever come back even though I fail to see why. In terms of sales and actual critical acclaim, that last game was a success. EA has published more than 10 games in the Need for Speed franchise during this hiatus but, even though some of those games have resembled a Burnout experience with a more arcadey driving style, it’s hardly the same.
The thing is, if you want to play a real Burnout game, you have to go back and play the classics. So that’s why we’re here, to see how this Burnout Legends holds up today.
If I had to describe the Burnout formula to an alien that just jumped out of its UFO I’d have to start by saying that this is a frantic arcade racer where the key to success relies more on avoiding to crash rather than keeping the perfect racing line. Also, specially since Burnout 3, considering how important is not to crash to win, making your rivals crash will always be the best strategy.
This Burnout Legends game could be considered some sort of “best of” compilation in terms of content. Gameplay-wise feels just like Burnout 3 while its contents display cars and tracks from that one but also its prequels, the original Burnout games. This copy-and-paste approach regarding its contents might have been frown upon back in the day by some but to me, this makes this title the one to go for if you need a quick dose of Burnout essence nowadays.
The game features regular Burnout races, elimination races, time trials (called burning laps) and road rages where the focus is on taking down as many rivals as possible in the time given. Burnout Legends also has a pursuit mode where you’ll be put in the shoes of a cop and you’ll have to slam against a racer until you destroy his car.
Also, Burnout fans will be happy to know that the classic Crash mode is included in this game. There you’ll have to pick a vehicle and slam it against the traffic to start a massive multiple collision that causes the biggest expenses possible. This is a mode that was absent from the latest title in the franchise Burnout Paradise and that was butchered and released as a pretty dumb downloadable game in Burnout Crash but here it’s part of this whole game and completing its challenges will grant you access to special cars.
There’s never been a story surrounding the Burnout experience in any of the games and Burnout Legends is no different. In the game’s main mode (World Tour) you’ll start driving in the slowest “compact” class. Completing the different trials will earn you medals and those will unlock more trials. After achieving a certain number of medals in the class, a GP championship, composed of different races will unlock and winning that championship will let you the way into the next vehicle class. After Compact you’ll reach Muscle, after that Coupe, then Sport, and finally Super. Each one considerably faster than the previous one. By the time you reach super you’ll feel like you learned ninja reflexes.
For PSP standards the game is pretty good but it’s certainly not the best. It does run smooth enough and the tracks nor the cars haven’t been scaled down from the PS2 counterparts in a very significant way. However, the game would have benefited from a higher resolution or some sort of anti aliasing at least. You’ll see “jaggies” pretty much everywhere and it certainly makes discerning upcoming traffic from the distance kinda hard.
On the sound department I have nothing but praise. The engine sounds are good, the noises of screeching metal during slams and crashes sound incredibly satisfying and the licensed soundtrack is great. I have to admit that listening to we are scientists so many years later filled me with nostalgic joy.
Things I liked
- Fast & responsive: This is the biggest staple in the whole Burnout franchise. Cars have to go fast so the game has to be fast and this game is hella fast. Also, you have to be in control of the cars and the physics in here, though wacky, fit the crazy arcadey racing like a glove. The experience in Burnout Legends on PSP feels authentic like the amazing Burnout games you could play on PS2.
- Chaotic: The first two burnout games was more about avoiding traffic while the third one was more about ramming rivals and making them slam against traffic. This game plays just like that and its all so fun. What a great way to relieve stress this is!
- Modes: It’s not that the game re-invents the wheel because all of the modes here you can find on other Burnout games as well. The praise here comes from the fact that they didn’t leave any major one out, specially the inclusion of the long missed Crash mode.
- Soundtrack: This is the music I used to listen back in high school so listening to these bands again was pretty nostalgic to me. If you’re new to the game or weren’t around back then though, you’ll have to agree that this rocky music is quite fitting for the carnage on screen.
Things I didn’t
- Jaggies: The images could look clearer if they added some anti aliasing artifacts but as it is, it looks quite jagged. It’s nothing game-breaking but it is important as sometimes you’ll feel that you’re hampered unable to tell if that white thing on the distance is an upcoming van or not.
- Bugs: Again, nothing game-breaking here, but I found a couple bugs during my playtime with the game. One involves cars sinking through the pavement and traversing other supposedly solid objects sometimes during crashes. The other is the game stuttering for half a second when the background music ends and the game has to load the next one. Nothing major but it’s there.
Who’d like this?
If you happen to own a PSP and you have any slight interest in arcade racing games, you have to have this. No game is perfect and an HD remake for the vita would certainly be an improvement but this is one of the best games you can play on the platform (if not the best) and you’ll be really missing out if you don’t.
Consumer beware though, for some unknown reason the downloadable game from the PSN can’t be played on a Vita.