Tuesday, July 8, 2008


It figures that, after specifically promising to post more frequently, I fail to post for 5+ days. The classic "better late than never" excuse certainly does little, if anything, to dismiss the sheer risibility of the situation. Thank God for his mercy!

Speaking of mercy, I’ve recently been playing Burnout: Revenge, a game whose title seems to prominently denote a deficit in the aforementioned quintessential Catholic value. As if that isn’t enough, the game description on the back of the game box makes matters even worse, stating that “mercy is for wimps.” Hmm. Sounds hardly Catholic, to say the least. Time to scratch this one off of the “to play” list?

Well, not quite. Burnout: Revenge is probably best described as a remedy for revenge - the modern-day equivalent of the “punch the pillow” technique recommended by mothers everywhere as a stress reliever/anger management tool for their children. While that might seem odd for a game touted as “battle racing ignited”, Burnout is a far cry from a typical racing game: it’s not enough to simply outrun other racers to the finish line; no, you need to make everyone else crash into walls, pillars, oncoming traffic…anything to take them down, really…and you’ll be rewarded with some nitro to boost your cars speed along the way. It takes multiple crashes before a car is completely and utterly totaled – and that’s where the “revenge” part comes into play. If you can take down the same vehicle that rammed your car into oblivion, you’ll be rewarded with a “revenge takedown” – providing you with even more nitro to help you outrun and takedown the competition.

You’d think a game all about crashes (and very realistic ones, at that…while the bodily carnage of crashes is not replicated in the game, the physical damage to the race cars certainly is!) would be counter productive to a racing simulator, but the game never forgoes the intense speed that makes racing games so much fun. Plus, if you’re not in the mood for racing, you can try out the “traffic attack” modes, where you’ll go bumper-to-bumper with highway traffic, tasked with causing as much monetary damage to these cars as possible within a set time limit.

If you truly want to become an insurance company’s nightmare, however, I would suggest giving the “crash” mode a shot. Here, you’re assigned with the goal of causing massive 50-car pile-ups, millions of dollars in damages, and generally causing as much havoc as possible.

Luckily, despite the focus on physical destruction, Burnout deliberately neglects to add a human face to the game. You’ll see no human carnage, blood and gore, or any kind of human violence in the game. In fact, Burnout: Revenge carries an “E10+” ESRB rating (recommended for ages 10 and up, in other words, which makes sense given the intensity of the crashes seen in the game). I would suggest parents give it a shot before letting their kids have fun with it, but despite the game’s title and rather violent take on street racing, it’s actually quite kid-friendly. It doesn’t require a heavy time investment like many role-playing and adventure games, and is, in fact, arguably nest played in short 15-20 minute sessions. The game is available on the Xbox, Playstation 2, and Xbox 360, often going for $30 or less. Give it a shot if you’re looking for something different from a racing video game.

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