Here in Vegas, the guys at Criterion have been letting us get hands on with the latest version of Burnout, out soon for the Xbox 360. Subtitled 'Revenge', it's theoretically a conversion of the latest version out on the Xbox and PlayStation 2. In pracitice, it's a heck of a lot more.
The game sports plenty of new tracks, and an updated graphics engine. The graphics are absolutely spectacular - seeing Revenge in high definition is an incredible sight. The graphics are vivid and emphatic, making for a great visual experience. The anti-aliasing applied also makes a huge difference to the look of the game - carnage has never looked so good.
One major change is the addition of a new set of shortuts. Whilst there have always been a couple of quick cheats routes to take in previous games, Revenge on the 360 takes this idea and drives off into the distance with it. Almost every track has multiple alternate routes, highlighted by blue markers in amongst the scenery. This can add a new dimension to races, as cars battle for the optimum route onto the optimum section of track.
An EA staffer took the time out to fill us in on some of the new multiplayer options that are going to be available - the Xbox Live experience was something he said had been the major focus of this revamp of Revenge. Races will now be recorded from beginning to end, and replays (and sections of them) can be saved and reviewed endlessly. You'll also be able to upload them to the Criterion servers and they will be running competitions, along the lines of the top ten crashes of the week.
Thanks to the enormously powerful stat-tracking of the new Xbox Live, players will also be able to track other players between gaming sessions. If you log on into a game and spot someone that you have raced against before, the system will highlight the fact that you owe him a takedown or two - or perhaps warn you that he is going to be coming after you!
The game was being presented on the Dolby stand, and the 5.1 audio was fully evident. Burnout games have always made great use of surround sound, and this one is no different, with cars whizzing past at enormous speed and volume!
We can't wait to get our hands on this bad boy. Until then, you can join us counting down the days over in the forum.