- Spoiler: show
Sadly, a complete and total mess of a game. It started off pretty well, making a good first impression. But as time went on it just got worse and worse until it passed a point of forgiveness, and still kept plummeting. When I started I thought I would be in the same area as the more positive reviews, but my feelings on the game gradually dragged down as time went on until now where I think I'm probably more negative on it than pretty much all the reviews out there. Like at first I thought maybe people were being too harsh, expecting this to literally be Burnout 4 in all but name, and being too critical on the soundtrack issue, since the game does clearly want you to play with your own music. But the problems go so much deeper than that. It would be fine if the game was just a bit rough and light on content, but instead it's a failure in so many ways that it is next to unplayable.
While the cars feel nice and grippy when steering normally, drifting feels awful. It's something required to do to make a lot of the hairpins, so it's not like you can avoid using it. But it feels really stodgy and unreliable. It's very inconsistent in initiation, sometimes taking a while to register, or sometimes not at all, meaning that you have very little control over where your car is pointing and when you turn in to a corner. It isn't so noticeable in the slower cars as they give you more time to turn, but once you reach near the end of the game, getting around a corner feels more like wishful thinking than actual skill. It also just doesn't look very cool. The car doesn't pull a satisfying angle and instead sits in this vague spot where it can be hard to tell if you're even drifting or not.
The game has a serious visibility problem too, with many of the glaring lighting effects getting in your face all the time that you can't see anything in front of you. On top of that the way the camera zooms out to an extreme level when boosting also makes things hard to make out, and the course design itself is pretty visually bland and indistinct, making it very unclear when corners are coming up sometimes, or even which direction they're going. Not to mention how none of the tracks have any real character.
Traffic is often placed in a way that feels completely random and very unfair. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to it, and is frequently placed in such a way that it is impossible to have seen before you hit it. It's also not rare for traffic cars to skip about, teleporting around when you get close to them. Which is also a lot of fun to avoid. Sometimes they drive on the wrong side of the road as well.
The physics are totally broken. Your car frequently gets snagged on little things, or sometimes nothing at all, sending it flying off the road through no fault of your own. Colliding with other racers is another lottery of whether the game is going to screw you or not. On some level it does feel satisfyingly like the old Burnout games, when it works. But far too often you get thrown around in a way that has no logic to it, and that you can't do anything to mitigate. When you get in to the faster cars, hitting opponents from behind becomes suicide as well, as the physics engine more often than not totally freaks out as it wedges you under them.
I also really don't like the persistent wrecks feature in this game. It makes races much more annoying the longer they go on, having the track littered with the remains of previous crashes. Not only are they also annoyingly hard to spot, they tend to build up in the trickier parts of a track. So when a corner is already hard to get through, it quickly becomes a massive roadblock of smoking wreckage that you can't avoid crashing in to every time, just making the problem worse in the process. One time I also hit one as it spawned in mid-air while I was going over a jump. Like it spawned on the same frame, at the very same spot in the sky where I happened to be at the time.
There was also this one event where there's a corner that is literally too tight for you turn around. And when you respawn after inevitably crashing, it places you too close to the wall for you to turn away again before crashing, so you get stuck in an endless respawn loop unable to do anything. It also moves your car forward a little bit on every respawn, so eventually you're spawning behind the wall repeatedly.
The game has a few performance problems too. I was playing on PS4 Pro, where the game is supposed to run at 60fps. It does mostly, but there are parts on certain tracks where the frame rate just tanks and makes it really hard to control the game and see what the hell is going on. There's also frequent stuttering when you're driving through the tunnels on some of the larger tracks that move between different biomes. I have no idea how anyone can play this on the base consoles at 30fps. It is just way too fast for that.
So yeah, a real disappointment in the end, that I gradually disliked more and more as time went on. I'm not entirely sure why I even finished it. I almost rage-quit a few times. I guess I felt like it was only a short game, so it wouldn't go on for so long. And that I had kind of an obligation to see this through as a big fan of the old Burnout games. Also perhaps a bit of morbid curiosity to see how bad it could get. The game did get a chuckle out of me a few times when the sheer level of jank became comically absurd. But I would never recommend this game to anyone, Burnout fan or not. It's probably the most broken game I've ever paid money for. The only thing that compares is perhaps the original Two Worlds, but this game breaks far more frequently than that did.