Developer: EA London / Publisher: EA Games || Overall: 9.3/10
The PSP’s first Burnout game isn’t an entirely new title in the Burnout series; rather, it is more like a compilation of all of the best parts of Burnout 1, Burnout 2, and Burnout 3, using the physics and gameplay engine of Burnout 3. Burnout Legends is a perfect arcade racer for the PSP, capturing the feel of its console counterparts amazingly well. Burnout Legends works perfectly for a portable without skimping on what makes the Burnout series great in the first place.
To put it bluntly, Burnout Legends is a great game. Just like every other game in the series, it revolves around high speed racing action full of dodging traffic and crashing into your competitors as you try to place in an event. The basic formula for Burnout is amplified by the sheer amount of modes and things you can do in the game; you’ll never be bored. For PSP owners that haven’t gotten around to buying any of the Burnout games prior to Burnout Revenge, Burnout Legends is a must-have. Even for people that have all the Burnout games, Burnout Legends’ value will come with its portability and its truthfulness to its console roots.
As for the modes and events you’ll see in the game, they should be familiar to any Burnout fan. There are the World Tour, Single Event, and Multiplayer modes with the events of Race, Time Attack, Road Rage, Pursuit, Crash, Eliminator, Grand Prix, Face-Off, and Burning Lap – it’s all here. In World Tour mode there’s also the different car classes of Compact, Muscle, Coupe, Sport, and Super. Each World Tour class has its own set of challenges that includes a mixture of the previously mentioned events, with each class getting more difficult and speeds reaching higher levels.
As for the events: In Race, you’ll go up against three other opponents and try to get in first place. Time Attack is a Single Event mode-specific event in which you just try to get the fastest time you can for a particular track. In Road Rage you’ll attempt to get a certain amount of takedowns before your car is destroyed. In Pursuit, you’ll drive a cop car and attempt to chase and bring down another car within a time limit. For Crash, there are exactly 100 levels in which you try to rack up as much damage as you can, by crashing. In Eliminator, it’s like a regular race except that the racer that places last in each lap is eliminated. Grand-Prix offers a run-of-the-mill tournament mode in which you’ll race through a certain amount of tracks and earn points based on what you placed in each race. Face-Off is a one on one race, and Burning Lap is basically like Time Attack except you’re in a supercharged car with the nitro gauge filled up the whole way. Needless to say, there’s plenty to do in the game.
The PSP’s analog nub isn’t plagued by sensitivity issues, and feels just about perfect control-wise. The only thing that might make a difference, though, is your thumb could start to hurt after a long hour or so of playing. Because of the absence of a second analog stick on the PSP, you’ll have to resort to pressing a button for your gas.
The graphics in Burnout Legends are really some of the best you’ll be seeing at this stage of the PSP’s life. It’s nothing short of eye candy (for a handheld) and looks very similar in terms of graphical quality compared to Burnout 3. The sound also compliments the game very well, on the sound effects and music side. Though there are 21 songs in the soundtrack, it isn’t very diverse after long amounts of playing and you’ll start wanting to hear stuff that is a little bit different than the punk/rock repertoire included. Sound effects overall are very nice as well, but during Crash mode, the sound can get a little bit irritating when you sit there waiting for the end of a Crash event. It is just the long monotonous noises of car horns that can get on your nerves, especially since the volume isn’t decreased in-game while the monetary damage is calculated.
There are a couple of nifty points to the game, such as the amount of cars and game sharing. As a total, there are 89 cars to unlock and if you can find a friend you can challenge them a “Collector Challenge” in which you can win a car they have that you want in your quest to collect all the cars in the game. Game sharing allows you to play with a friend in a one-on-one race or let them play a single-player demo of the game. So, anyone with a PSP (no UMD required) can play a game of Burnout Legends against you.
As for what’s bad about the game, there really aren’t many things to pick out. The game can be buggy at times, the most apparent bug being shaking floor texture panels. Once during a Crash event, I hit a car so hard that I opened up a portal to a void in which my car just kept falling. Even after Crashbreaker (if I had even thought in the first place it would do anything), I wasn’t able to get out of the void until the end of the event. It may have just been a fluke to discover the void, but the floor textures shaking around should have been fixed. What could be seen as a discerning point about the game is that there is no Infrastructure mode present that would allow you to play the game over the Internet.
Burnout Legends is a recommendable game to any PSP owner who likes arcade racers. For what is included in the game and its myriad of challenges, modes, events, and amazing value of gameplay, it really is worth the price. It can’t be stressed any more that Burnout Legends is one of the greatest PSP games on the market right now.