Monday, October 24, 2011

Game Review - Burnout: Crash

Preview Trailer:
Wiki -!

Let me start by saying this:  This is one of my favorite games ever!

Burnout: Crash is not a racer like other Burnout games.  There is very little driving in this game; instead, your car can blow up over and over and this is the basis of all the gameplay.

Here's how it works:  You drive into one of the levels, called "Intersections" in this game, and try to crash into another car... Then you try to cause a pileup by blowing yourself up and crashing into cars trying to drive through the intersection.  It's really simple, you use the analog stick and A button, that's it.

It's kind of hard to describe, but really it's a physics based game; kind of Pinball meets Pool meets PAIN (The PSN game.)  When you blow up you score points based on the destruction you cause and most goals in the game are based on scoring a certain amount of points. 

There are 3 modes of play, all based on the point system with slightly tweaked mechanics.  Rush Hour could be considered the best "party mode", because it's pure destruction with no loss condition; the other 2 modes require the player to try and block most traffic or fail. 

You progress through the game by aquiring stars, each level has 5 goals, completing a goal earns you a star.  New levels require you to have X amount of stars.  There are 270 total stars in the game, I just passed 200.  I plan on getting all 270.

The demo is a good representation of the full game, play it if you're interested and you'll know if you should buy this game.

Design 18/20 - The main design chunk of this game is setting up the physics based scoring, and they did a good job.  Also, the Intersections are layed out well, some are VERY hard in a good way.  Cars come in a scripted pattern, so if you play a level over and over, you'll know that 2 cars come from the left, then 1 from the right.  But the type of car that comes is random, so in one play the 2 cars that come from the left may be normal, if you replay the level, 1 of the cars may be a bus.  This little bit of randomization on top of a known spawn pattern is beautiful! 

The 3 different modes are interesting, although you could argue Story Mode and Pileup are a little similar.

Tech - 17/20 - The technology here works, it's slick and fast.  Loading times are decent.  This is a game where going for some of the very hard goals requires perfection, and lots of restarts.  The restarts are quick, whew!  The gameplay can get hairy, with dozens of cars being flung around, explosions can fill the screen... but the framerate never really chugs.  It never crashed on me once.

Art - 15/20 - The art for this game is pretty simple.  It's all top down cars and buildings.  The cars look good though, they remind me of the old school board game, Car Wars.  Some of the intersections have art filling the gameplay area and then just nothing around the edges.  The UI is nice and shows players what they want to see.

Production - 18/20 - This game is actually hilarious.  One of my favorite parts is when big power ups or enemies enter the screen they all have a theme song.  Like when the ambulance car that heals you shows up, its theme song is Dr. Beat by the Miami Sound Machine (  ~1:20 is the part that plays).  "Doc doc doc doc doctor beats!"  I LOL every time I see the ambulance... and sometimes you really need Dr. Beats!  When the bulldozer shows up it's Salt n Peppa, "Ahhh, push it!  Push it real good!"  LOL just thinking about it.  Also the gold car theme song is great, but I'll leave that as a surprise.  They spent a lot of money on songs, but it works!  Funny in games is hard, but this game is funny.

Value - 17/20 - No multiplayer lowers this games value in my mind.  Also, this game screams "Party Mode"; any mode where you play a quick round and then hand the controller to someone else would work perfect for this game and its kind of a sin they didn't include something like that.  If you're playing this game in a room with other people, it's funny and interesting enough to gather people's attention, but without a real party mode, it can't hold it. 

That being said, Raptr says I've played 16 hours and it costs 15 bucks.  I for sure want to play another few hours and get those last stars.  There are a few people I want to show this game to also, I know we'd have another few hours of fun with this game and some beers.

I would pay ALOT of money for DLC or a more full featured sequel.


Friday, October 21, 2011


I'm going to attempt to start updating this blog with my crazy thoughts (Probably mostly about gaming).  Additionally, I plan to add things like samples of my work so that I can show potential employers.

Anyways, I am in my 3rd week of being unemployed and I'm finding it very interesting.  It's kind of Heaven and Hell together.  Not having to wake up or be anywhere or do anything is nice for a bit, but not having a job sucks.  Hollywood is great, there's always something to do, but it mostly costs money.  Looking for a Game Design job can be more work than actually having a job:  Long interviews, essay questions, level design tests.  I don't disagree with the system generally, because it's really hard to tell if someone's a good designer just from an interview.  Although, the time constraints are kind of BS.  If you pressure someone enough, they'll cheat.  I'd rather say, "Return the test in a timely fashion" and if it takes them a long time talk about it.  Anyways...

My recent unemployment stint also happens to be another mini golden age of gaming.. so many good games out or on the way out.  I've been playing some great games: Gears, Burnout:Crash, Orcs Must Die, Space Marine...  Some OK games:  Dungeon Defenders, Dead Island.  And for $ reasons I've had to skip a few games:  Rage, Batman.   Geez.  I really should give each one of these a proper review.  I generally don't like to post in-depth reviews on FB because I don't want to shove it in people's face.  But the new groups feature is good and I rant about gaming to my "gamers" list.  But I will for sure post reviews on this blog (If I keep up with the updates)