Crash Mode comes screeching back in a downloadable title that feels utterly out of place both on a home console and in the wider Burnout series. The loud and proud attitude of Paradise is the first thing you notice has been eschewed in Crash, a game with none of the flash or bang of a mode that’s meant to be all about controlling chaos.
The rules remain the same: smash headfirst into an intersection and bounce around, detonating yourself when you’ve racked up enough vehicular takedowns and cause enough structural damage to satisfy the quota and unlock the next challenge. A major problem is that the sense of threat is entirely neutered by a new top-down perspective, detaching you from the wrecking and giving the game a look that's closer to budget portable gaming than the big budget games that spawned it.
Of greater concern, however, is a feel that's lifeless, mechanical and by-the-numbers. There’s no thrill or sense of being there – let alone speed – to your rampages. Dragging your vehicle around the landscape is laboured, bestowing you with points, but little reward. And the rudimentary pathfinding of other vehicles means the road to victory lacks challenge. To ramp up the difficulty, the game makes the unlock structure for new vehicles cruelly protracted – a poor substitute for a learning curve.
Kinect adds little to the package, reducing precision thanks to increased input lag and adding to sense of Burnout Crash! as a gimmick rather than a worthy investment of 800 Microsoft points. As an interim project, it’s good to see Criterion still interested in its most beloved IP, but it’s just a shame there’s so little of interest in the game itself.
Xbox 360 version tested.