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Burnout Dominator PlayStation 2

Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Criterion Games
Release Date: Out Now

It's just possible, with the game being released on the same day that the PlayStation 3 was launched here in Europe, that the release of Burnout Dominator may have escaped your attention. I have to admit feeling a little embarrassed about it slipping under my radar as I like to keep myself informed about game release dates as much as I possibly can. Of course what makes me feel all the more silly is that the Burnout series has constantly produced quality titles and to have temporarily forgotten that the latest one had just been released is inexcusable, even if it did arrive on the same day that the PlayStation 3 finally arrived in Europe.

Burnout Dominator is the latest game in the Burnout series and it will feel instantly familiar to those who have played any of the recent titles in the series. The game offers three modes. There is a World Tour, Record Breaker and Multiplayer mode. Without question the mode that most will spend the bulk of their time with is the World Tour mode. Here you'll get to play through various series (Classic, Factory, Tuned, Hotrod, Super, Race Specials and Dominator), although to begin with only the Classic series is unlocked. Each series has a number of events for you to complete. In each event you'll earn Dominator points, for completing various goals, and when you have the required amount of Dominator points you can unlock the next series. As per usual there are a variety of events such as drift challenges, road rage events, maniac events, near miss challenges, time attack challenge events and of course races. Record Breaker allows you to create a race, time attack, road rage or maniac event and keeps track of your best performances. Dominator points can also be acquired in Record Breaker mode. Multiplayer basically allows you to setup your own mini-tournament for 2-4 players.

If you've played previous titles in the series then you'll know all about how to play Burnout Dominator. You have to fill your boost meter by driving dangerously, racing through oncoming traffic, catching air and narrowly missing other cars etc. Boost enables you to travel at blistering speeds. If you use your entire boost in one go (you'll need to hold down the R1 button to use the boost) you'll achieve a burnout. It's also possible to achieve burnout chains by driving dangerously at these incredible high speeds that are attained whilst using the boost.  Crashing is an inevitable part of playing a racing title and indeed the Burnout series has always encouraged it. The takedowns and crashbreakers that were part of the previous games in the series once again make a return and are just as enjoyable as ever.

Whilst Burnout Dominator is undoubtedly an enjoyable game, there is one area where the game disappoints. Most would have expected Burnout Dominator to have offered some form of online multiplayer racing but sadly there isn't any. This isn't completely surprising when you consider that for the most part online gaming isn't something that has proved popular on the PlayStation 2 but even so it's unfortunate. Given the popularity of the Burnout series it's a fair bet that Burnout Dominator would have been one of those rare titles that would have managed to encourage PlayStation 2 gamers to play online. All you have here is split-screen gaming for 2-4 players which seems quite basic in this day and age.

Graphically the game is good and in all honesty it's probably as good as the series is ever going to look on the PlayStation 2. The car models and the various locations in the game all look good. The crashes that occur in the game don't look as impressive as they did in Burnout Revenge and the damage modelling is also inferior but as that game was on the Xbox 360 it's hardly surprising. The frame rate is fine and as with all of the games in the series, the sensation of speed is first class. Load times are quite nippy too, which is also impressive.

Whilst the game is OK for deaf gamers it's a shame that there are elements that deaf gamers will not be able to fully appreciate. The Extras section offers a variety of movies and none of these are subtitled. When you first play the game the only one available is the Basic Training Movie (which also plays when you begin the World Tour mode) and it's unfortunate that this movie, at least, isn't subtitled. When you play through the early stages of the World Tour mode you'll be given text tutorial tips that explain the basic mechanics of the game, so not having the Basic Training Movie subtitled isn't too much of a problem. All objectives are shown in text so you'll always be aware of what needs to be done.

Fans of the previous Burnout games will enjoy what Burnout Dominator has to offer. Let's make no bones about it though; the game doesn't offer anything you haven't seen before in the series. That's not to say it isn't a very enjoyable experience as it undoubtedly is. Those who were looking for some dramatic changes to the tried and trusted formula will certainly feel a little disappointed that more innovation hasn't been shown. In fairness though, any major changes to the series are likely to be seen in Burnout 5 that will arrive on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year.

Overall Game Rating 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification C
(Click the letter or here for details)

Burnout Dominator doesn't offer anything you won't have seen before in a Burnout game but it's a fine effort nevertheless and Burnout fans will be pleased with it.