Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
Heed the warnings...Burnout has lost it's mojo
on 5 November 2008
First and foremost, it is opinion of nearly all that the Burnout series peaked on PS2 with 'Burnout: Takedown'. If you do not already have 'Burnout: Takedown' and are trying to decide between that and Dominator - your decision is easy - buy Takedown - it is superior in every way.
If, like myself, you have already worn out most of the Burnout franchaise and want more - the question is will Dominator satisfy?
With Dominator it's very much back to basics. The crash mode has gone entirely and the focus is very much on the world tour. As usual you progress by completing events for medals, your ultimate goal being the Dominator series. Winning medals unlocks new events and cars. The staple events are still present - race, road rage, eliminator etc. New events include Drift, in which you drive around the track power-sliding to achieve a target total skid distance; Maniac, requiring you drive like a, well...maniac I guess and Near Miss, where you earn a target score by driving close to traffic. These new events come at the expense of Traffic Attack from Burnout: Revenge.
So, is it any good? Well, the removal of the crash mode seems to have panicked Criterion into thinking there wouldn't be enough crash action - as a counter measure the streets are literally packed with traffic. As a result, all event action is severely restricted. Every corner you turn blindly into and every hill you crest will certainly reveal some form of traffic to collide with making success more down to chance than skill, unlike other games in the series. The rival racers themselves are quicker and more devious, making it necessary to boost continually just to keep up. Adding to the mayhem is Chain Boosting, where you can earn boost while boosting. This is a good concept in theory but its introduction just means it is now necessary to boost continually in order to build and maintain a boost chain. However, this is yet another distraction from the racing. A pity too that a nice new feature like the ability to explode your car during aftertouch is tempered by draining your boost bar which immediately negates any advantage the action may have given you. No boost = no chance.
It is all the more disappointing because the cars still handle extremely well and the sensation of speed is still there - the elements are all there for a truly great nose-to-tail racing experience. But this,I fear, is not the experience Criterion wanted to you to have with Dominator. They are selling a knife-edge, seat-of-the-pants continual boost through a torrent of oncoming traffic. Exciting, perhaps from the inside of a shop window. But in practice this is fun for about five seconds. You will crash and crash frequently and it soon becomes extremely frustrating and tedious.
The graphics are strangely something of a backward step from Takedown and Revenge, too. The cars you can win do not excite - they are retro and chunky are are selectable seemingly only in different shades of brown.
So, despite its flaws, is Dominator still good enough? This is Burnout, after all. They are always a safe bet, aren't they?
No, not really. I suspect the cream of Criterion's development team were preoccupied with Burnout: Paradise on the PS3; as a result Dominator ends up being the runt of the litter. I really can't recommend Dominator; As I stated before, it is inferior to Takedown in every way and would I strongly suggest you get Takedown or Revenge instead (or both!). If you already have those, then keep your money in your pocket, even if it's only a few quid, because Dominator will only supply you with lot less of what you already have.