Racing games are big business. Ask pretty much any publisher what their top five selling franchises are, and you can safely bet that more than one of them will be a racing title of one form or another. The Burnout franchise has been a great success as well and for anyone who has doubts that the PSP can handle a game this fast, and with this much going on graphically - think again. During the initial hour of play, the first thing that grabbed me was the sheer speed.
Anyone used to Burnout 3 on either the PS2 or the Xbox will feel right at home here with Burnout Legends. You do get slight ghosting with the PSP, but frame-rates never drop even with the mind-blowing amount of detail in backgrounds, trackside components and the vehicles themselves. The same handling characteristics are present, as are the same pumping tunes to motivate you during races - the “Legends” part comes from the welcome inclusion of classic tracks from all three previous Burnout games. There is also a wealth of unlockable vehicles to keep you motivated, some of which are superb and can actually bring a tear to your eye when you see them smashed around like a tin-can.
This leads us to the “Crash Mode” that was introduced in Burnout 2 and became the best reason for owning the game. Crash Mode involves wreaking as much havoc as you possibly can by ramming your car into traffic, setting off a chain reaction of explosions and events and racking up as many points as possible to win a gold, silver or bronze medal. Win all Golds in Crash Mode and once again you are rewarded with some pretty spectacular unlockable content.
There are a few minus points for the game. Profile customisation is a bit lacking in Burnout Legends which is a shame, given that there was the potential for EA to include custom soundtracks and other nice little user-definable tweaks.
Overall though, Burnout Legends is a welcome addition for those who prefer the more arcade-style of racing and it knocks Ridge Racer off the top of the podium when it comes to looking for an essential arcade racer purchase for your nice shiny new PSP.