Okay I admit it — I’m not the biggest racing game fan. Sure, it’s cool to customize cars, sopping them up with the hottest in engines, parts and paint jobs, but at the end of the day it all just feels redundant — race here, brake there, boost around this corner. Shouldn’t there be more?
That’s exactly why I’ve always loved the Burnout series. Built more on action than racing, the Burnout games have always rewarded players more for driving dangerously than their ability to win races.
To tide series fans over until Burnout 5, which is currently in development for next-gen platforms, EA has released Burnout Dominator, a game which holds true to the traditional smash and crash burnout gameplay enough to please diehard series fans, yet steers away from those traditions enough to create a compelling and unique gameplay experience all its own.
In past Burnouts, chaos and destruction were a top order, and while they are most definitely present in Dominator – driving skill and tricks seem to take over. Your main goal in Dominator is to fill up your boost meter by pulling off dangerous feats such as driving on the wrong side of the road or tailing and sideswiping other cars. Once your meter fills up with all blue, it’s time to supercharge – or hold down the boost button until your meter drains completely. Not only does this give you more points, but it also fills up a second meter, which determines how much extra boost you get. Chaining your burnouts together is the key to driving as fast as possible down the tracks, and gaining more points.
As I said before, this is not Burnout 5, which is very noticeable from a visual perspective. Sure, standing still, the cars and maps look decent, but once the pace picks up, it’s an entirely different story — Cars often become blocky, pixilated messes. The game’s aesthetics are especially disappointing for gamers used to playing the Xbox 360 Burnouts in high definition.
While most of the modes you would expect from a Burnout game are present, Crash Mode oddly isn’t. The mode, which appeared in previous Burnout games, let players wreck havoc by trying to create as big as big a crash as they could. Crash Mode wasn’t anything major, but it did offer a nice (yet sinister) diversion from the traditional racing and drifting modes. I also have to question the fact that Dominator features no online support. Past games have had incredibly fun multiplayer modes, why are we stuck to a single console this go around?
Make no mistake about it — Burnout Dominator is a fun and addicting arcade -racing game that fans of the series will enjoy, it’s just missing some key features that would make it a one of the series’ best, for that we’ll have to wait for the true sequel later this year.