The first thing I noticed was how great the graphics are. I had to do a double take and make sure it wasnít the Xbox version, it looked that good. The cars are more realistic than ever, and are quite shiny, showing off real-time reflections. The framerate is rock solid and lightning fast. Somehow, it feels faster than the last Burnout, which is quite an accomplishment. The game has a grittier look to it, so the colors arenít as bright, and everything seems to have been run through a filter to give the game a more natural look. Itís not a drastic change, but youíll notice it.
I did a quick race on the Tokyo track, and was instantly floored by how much tougher and relentless the AI was. There was no time to rest or line up an opponent, because letting your guard down for just a second was enough to find yourself on the wrong end of a crash. Thereís quite a bit more traffic in the game now, but since you can take out cars that are in your way, you actually find yourself looking forward to people getting in your way. You canít hit big rigs or traffic head-on, but most cars are fair game.
I also tried the new Traffic Attack on the Detroit course, where your goal is to slam into as many cars as possible while racing through town. You get money for every car you total, and you get more time added to the clock, which makes the action pretty frantic. Itís a lot like Takedown, but with more stuff to hit. The game will support online play for 6 people on the PS2, but it wasnít online on the show floor.
There are tons of new additions to the game that werenít readily apparent on the floor, so donít expect just more of the same. Like Burnout Legends on the PSP, Burnout 4 is poised to be a huge hit when it comes out.
5/19/2005 Aaron Thomas