It's the fastest, the loudest, it's just the bestest: Burnout Revenge is an essential purchase. But chances are you already know this. The Xbox and PS2 editions of the fourth Burnout zipped into the stores over six months ago to extremely positive reviews and it's safe to assume that an extremely large chunk of GamesRadar readers have played this to destruction already.
Those slotting into this category will have only three questions: Is it prettier? Is it better? And, is it worth splashing out on again? The answers are these: Yes. Secondarily, yes. And thirdly, oooooh, no. No way. No, no, no. Not a hedgehog's chance in Metro City. Seriously, the answer is no. Although...
Burnout Revenge on Xbox 360 is lots better than Burnout Revenge on Xbox, despite being essentially the same game. The dull Eastern Bay track has been revamped, and a few crash junctions have been Sellotaped on, but if that's what passes for gameplay evolution, then it must work even slower than the kind of evolution Darwin theorised. Thing is, why it's so much better is really down to one thing: the graphics. Gasp.
The graphical overhaul ensures that you now have a good view of the road ahead. This improves the game twofold: firstly, you can drive without a guaranteed crash every two nanoseconds - the concept of a perfect lap is no longer the stuff of folklore.
The AI is far more dynamic as well - although it still has an elastic keep-up system in place, the field thins out and racers no longer resemble a gaggle of mechanical ducks fighting over a loaf of bread. Forget 'earning' a Total Payback in every third Crashbreaker race.
Of course it looks like the canine's conkers as well. In 'low def' (although we have a 50 inch Pioneer High Def TV that we mention at every possible opportunity, we still compare how they look on a dump 14" portable, because we love you) it looks alright, but has a bizarre soft-porn haze about it.
But in high def, it's an alluring, radiant minx of a racing game, with vibrant tracks that 'shame-up' the washed-out Xbox 1 track renditions real good.
The little tweaks and adjustments run a good deal deeper than mere cosmetic improvements - Burnout Revenge really is the showcase version in every sense of the word, with all the little gameplay niggles from the previous version taken out.
Take the Crash junctions, for example. If you foul up, you can instantly restart without having to go through the whole resetting rigmarole that proved so frustrating on last gen. And that stupid, stupid, stupid golf-tee like start that plagued the mode has thankfully been killed.
It's in multiplayer - specifically online - where Burnout Revenge comes into its own, though. The game hurls polygons around like somebody's set a firework off in a Geometry Wars factory, without a hint of lag or compromise.
The game remembers your relationship with every other racer in the online world, allowing you to build up vendettas and once you've earned your spurs online, it gives every race a personal twist.
And that's not even taking into consideration all the little things that make the game so much fun, like the fact that two players can now appear on the same crash junction simultaneously, jostling each other in an attempt to cause the most damage.
Burnout Revenge is addictive, exhilarating and really quite brilliant, and you won't even get a chance to point all this out in a single breath. It's that fast.
The only downside is, it's the perfect conversion of one of the weaker Burnout titles - the traffic checking dynamic (cars travelling the same way as you can be rammed into, if you didn't already know) unbalances the game, turning it from the fascinating edge-of-your-seat experience players lapped up in Burnout 2 and 3, into 'just' a very, very good racer that's violent yet forgiving in equal measures. Still, that said, until Burnout 5 makes an appearance, this'll do very nicely indeed.