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Burnout Legends (PSP) artwork

Burnout Legends (PSP) review


"Burnout Legends' status as a "best of" collection then, should be obvious to anyone with an eye for the vernacular. Combining the best elements of the franchise's previous outings, it presents players with one of the most complete, racing experiences around. We've got every track, every car, every damn game mode the series has ever produced (short of Revenge), and if that wasn't enough to pique your interest, I'll mention the near-perfect controls as well."



If you find yourself playing Burnout Legends while on the bus, stuck in traffic, or sitting in the passenger seat, you'd be well advised to take a quick, hard look at the driver's face. For should his eyes be glazed over or bloodshot, the fool's perhaps only minutes away from a crashbreaker, takedown, or some other equally as suicidal endeavor. And if for argument's sake he hasn't been touched by Criterion's portable racer, there's also the chance he's hooked on crack and chasing the tail end of a week long bender. Either way, seat belts will only get you so far...

David Cronenberg would have been proud

In the four years since its debut, the Burnout series has made quite a name for itself. Starting life on the Playstation 2 as an above average arcade racer, Criterion's baby has grown over time, evolving into one of the most exciting franchises the genre has ever seen. Burnout 2 gave rise to the crash mode, its follow up then cemented a fledgling risk equals reward concept with the takedown. One had players throwing their vehicles into busy intersections, the other happily redefined street racing with an unusual blend of high impact violence and automotive pornography. It was evolution as clear as day, and potent breeding ground for the PSP's latest, premiere racer...

Burnout Legends' status as a "best of" collection then, should be obvious to anyone with an eye for the vernacular. Combining the best elements of the franchise's previous outings, it presents players with one of the most complete, racing experiences around. We've got every track, every car, every damn game mode the series has ever produced (short of Revenge), and if that wasn't enough to pique your interest, I'll mention the near-perfect controls as well. Playable from either the D pad or the analogue stick, Criterion have gone to great lengths to ensure that all tastes have been met. Power-sliding feels as natural with one as it does the other, the only difference being a generous, freedom of choice.

Still, no matter what you decide, you're going to find yourself well prepared for Legends' almost incredible sense of speed. From the moment you first step out into a lowly coupe, the well graded difficulty curve gently ups the pace, allowing players the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the action. Cars are slammed into barricades, thrown skywards, and if luck's still riding shotgun, into each other for multiple, simultaneous takedowns. Your score shoots through the roof as more vehicles are unlocked, and the chase begins again.

Of course with action this frantic, you'll be wanting the opportunity to revel in the moment, and Burnout Legends doesn't disappoint. Takedowns reward players with a glorious, slow motion sequence, detailing your opponent's final few moments behind the wheel. As his car disintegrates under impact, an incredibly robust physics engine takes over, dislodging side panels, cracking windscreens, and scattering debris. His vehicle then spins through the air, colliding with a bus shelter in excess of 150 miles per hour. BANG! And it's goodnight Irene. Meanwhile, you're feeling pretty good about yourself, once more weaving through traffic in search of another target.

That Burnout's particular brand of violence translates so well to the PSP was always a given, what surprises the most however, is the way disc access has been kept to an absolute minimum. Forget the minute plus waits of Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition, Burnout Legends is ready to go in a speedy 10-15 seconds flat. A commendable effort considering the size and complexity of each course. Business sectors fly by in a blur, replaced by the tranquil beauty of a country road, or the hustling environs of a water front boulevard. And while the occasional visual glitch serves to distract, such issues are thankfully few and far between.

Ultimately however, Burnout Legends holds true to its namesake, creating for itself a legacy that most PSP racers can only dream of. With upwards of 170 events for players to work through, and a staggering number of unlockable extras, variety has been served to great effect. You'll be tearing up the streets in Pursuit mode one minute, running a single, hot lap the next. Toss in some six way, multiplayer action and Criterion's portable racer looks every bit a AAA classic. It's everything you hoped it to be, and a danger to motorists everywhere.

Now, get off that bus and check it out!


Pros
----

* Burnout Legends incorporates elements of Burnouts 1, 2, and 3
* D pad or analogue stick, the controls are always tight
* There's an intense sensation of speed to be had
* A gentle learning curve welcomes all comers
* The takedown replays look as good as ever
* Classic smash'em up gameplay has plenty of scope for technique
* Burnout Legends features some incredible vareity in game modes
* The visuals neatly mimic those of the home console originals
* EA Trax has actually put together a good soundtrack
* Fast load times keep the action rolling
* As expected, you'll be unlocking cars well into next month


Cons
----

* Occasional visual glitches get in the way of Burnout Legends' all persuasive beauty
* The gameplay mechanics of Burnout Revenge have not been included

Rating: 9/10

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Staff review by Michael Scott (October 05, 2005)

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