The extreme racing series makes its PSP debut...
Sony's PSP does not lack quality racing titles. Ridge Racer and Wipeout Pure are amazing, and then you have other offerings like Rockstar Games' remarkable but load-heavy Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition or EA's decent Need For Speed Underground Rivals. But there's always room for one more, especially when that one more is Burnout Legends, yet another EA series debut on the popular handheld. Thankfully, this is the company's finest game yet, thanks to the superior development power of Criterion.
The development team knows their stuff. Over the years, they've turned their Burnout brand into a true contender, blending lightning fast speed with the efficiency of ramming cars into walls and other objects and thus creating something visceral that simply cannot be denied. Burnout Legends is a title that kind of leans back into the past, thrusting elements from the first three Burnout games together into a title that's quite satisfying.
The goal is similar to that of last year's Takedown. You're given a World Tour to follow, in which numerous races and tasks must be completed in order to move ahead. However, if you're up for some full-on destruction, you can simply jump into something like Road Rage, where you can destroy cars on the go while maintaining a high velocity, or Crash, where you have to rack up a certain dollar amount by damaging parked as well as moving vehicles. It's nice to see such variety make the cut in this handheld product.
There's also the addition of Pursuit Mode, which was made popular back in Burnout 2: Point of Impact. This is where you're put in control of a police car that's going after a certain target car, having to deliver a certain amount of damage before they reach a particular goal. However, the mode feels a little watered down now, especially in comparison to Road Rage. Still, fans will enjoy it.
Burnout Legends has plenty of unique touches that make it stand out from its console brethren. The Wi-Fi play is in full effect, allowing you to race against other players through an Ad Hoc connection and acquire new cars as a result. You start out with five exclusive cars in your library (randomly selected on each disc sold) and then earn twenty others through this play. It's not a huge selection, but there are a few cherry rides here that are worth obtaining for your garage.
Oh, one more nice touch is the ability to GameShare with a fellow PSP owner, so they can download a level without having the game and challenge you to a race. It may actually prompt them to buy the whole thing so they can take you on full-time. I love this feature, and oddly enough, so do everyone who's downloaded it from me. It's like a happy plague.
There's also the presentation, which has its ups and downs. The frame rate and detail on each track is staggering, moving at a consistent 30 frames per second and only slowing down occasionally during a car wreck. The tracks themselves are loaded with variety and tons of things to interact with, creating vast opportunities to plow opponents. Burnout fans may even recognize a few tracks from the past, which are a delight to see again. The sound is pretty good, with engine noises and good cracking-up bangs and slams, but the EA Trax selections once again lack a personal touch. It sounds like they were just put there for marketing purposes and nothing more. The inability to play your own saved songs hurts the game's score.
But Burnout Legends shouldn't be denied if you're a hardcore racing fan. The kinetic energy that the series is known for is perfectly intact, and the game looks and plays just as wonderfully as it ever has. The fact that it has classic goodies and exclusive cars significantly boosts its value. You may not want to own every PSP racing game out there, but make sure you add Legends to your list. You won't be sorry.
What's Hot: It's Burnout on a portable system!
What's Not: Not a lot of cars, and the EA Trax stuff is seriously lacking.