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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA UK Studio

 

ESRB

E+10 (Everyone)

 

Released

March 6, 2007

 

 

- Not as high-octane exciting as Burnout Revenge, but still has the scorching racing action that is the franchise is renowned for

- Some newer event types add a fresh fuel-injected boost to the gameplay, especially the drift challenge

- Crash modes gone, but you can still get that slamming sensation with the Signature Shortcut takedown

 

 

- Disappointingly, the hot-as-hell Crash mode that became a fan favorite has been eliminated

- Aftertouch takedown isn’t easy to use effectively for its intended purpose

- There’s multiplayer, but surprisingly not online

 

 

Review: Burnout Revenge (PS2)

Review: Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2)

Review: Burnout Revenge (360)

 

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Burnout: Dominator

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

It has hit full-force the point of impact, delivered searing takedown after takedown, and exacted blistering revenge. Now, the Burnout franchise is trying to dominate the racing genre once again with Burnout Dominator.

 

Much of what has made Burnout such a sizzling racing franchise remains, from the super-fast racing to the unique crashing-is-good gameplay. But the elimination of the franchise-defining Cash mode and the puzzlingly missing online multiplayer component have left this Burnout still blazing but not quite dominating.

 

burnout dominator          burnout dominator

 

Once again as with all games in the franchise, Burnout Dominator is no ordinary pedal-to-the-metal racing game. There’s more of a devious nature to the gameplay of a Burnout game. Your intentions are devilish on the roadways: not only are you racing to win, your looking to win by smashing, crashing and mashing every vehicle in your path. It’s a great concept: instead of just racing, there’s destruction to unleash. And that’s what has made each and every Burnout so popular.

 

A majority of the returning modes and gameplay styles are present in Burnout Dominator. The dominating mode is the World Tour, where you’ll race around the globe with plenty of racing challenges filled with different variables throughout. One race may be a straight-up fastest-to-the-finish-line-wins (Grand Prix), but 

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others require inflicting motoring mayhem (Road Rage, where you’ll be raging against the machines that dare to cross your path) or even new ones that will test your driving skills (there’s a new drift challenge, no doubt inspired by another EA racing franchise, Need for Speed, and its latest title, Carbon).

 

Disappointingly one of the franchise’s most popular modes, Crash, is gone. The Crash mode was a defining Burnout mode, where 

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you had to basically devise a big enough crash at traffic points and intersections to earn a medal. It was a brilliant mode to instill into a racing game and provided an adrenaline-laced thrill that just couldn’t be had in a typical racing game.

 

But it’s shockingly nowhere to be found in Burnout Dominator, and that’s something sure to dishearten Burnout aficionados. Another missing mode is online, although there is an off-line multiplayer, with Road Rage and Party Play choices that aren’t as good as online play, but better than absolutely no multiplayer at all.

 

There are a few new gameplay wrinkles along for the joyride. There are now Signature Shortcuts, hidden areas on each level that make for an easier path to the finish. If you slam a rival into a Signature Shortcut, you’ll get a bonus takedown. Speaking of rivals, there’s now a Rivals Challenge, with its own goals, but all have the end result of eliminating a particular rival. Burnout Dominator attempts to take the gameplay to a new extreme focusing on rival fighting on the roads with its “battle racing ignited” mentality. This leads up to a Series’ Dominator Challenge, which is the “boss” battle for each series, and where the “Dominator” in Burnout Dominator originates. Beat the Dominator, and you’ll get the keys to that “boss” car.

 

burnout dominator          burnout dominator

 

Aftertouch, which isn’t new, isn’t one of those useful gameplay nuances, however. You’re supposed to be able to enter into a Matrix-like state after you crash, and “drive” your now twisting-and-turning wreck into another driver, exacting a sort-of revenge for sending you into a crash. But it’s not that easy to manipulate your crashing car in the intended manner, causing a lack of effectiveness in attempting an Aftertouch Takedown. You’re better off trying to stick solely to initiating a Crashbreaker, that, if done at the right moment, explodes your wrecked ride just as other opponents are near, bringing them down also.

 

Visually, Burnout Dominator doesn’t slip off the gas pedal from its previous console incarnations. The many generic vehicles you’ll race with and eventually unlock through winning events still sport very good-looking graphics, as do the environments of the roads you’ll shred and burn up. The soundtrack is again good, as are the sound effects including the revving engines along with the twisting of impacted metal after your vehicle of violence annihilates another car.

 

Despite the disappointing exclusion of Burnout’s Crash mode, which in my opinion really was one of the franchise’s significant features, and a somewhat surprising lack of online multiplayer, you’ll still find your burning desire for hot racing satiated by Burnout Dominator, although it’s certainly not as dominating on the hot virtual asphalt as its predecessor, Burnout Revenge.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(May 21, 2007)

 

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