Driving and racing games are great for those who love them, but other players may find that they're more like work than any other gaming genre. In most decent racing games, crashing means you have to work hard to catch up, and the more realistic the game, the more technical that challenge becomes. The brilliant, shamelessly arcadey, utterly joyful Burnout series separates itself from any other racing game via one simple trick: making the crashes as important as the driving.

Burnout Revenge does all other driving games one better in several ways. When you crash—and you will, because aggressive driving is the only way to build up boost for your glossy little car—you can control the shattered and flaming wreck using a slow-mo Aftertouch system to wreck the cars behind you. New in Revenge is the ability to execute a Crashbreaker, or detonate your car like a bomb. Also new this year is Traffic Checking, which means rear-ending slower and more boring civilian traffic, which doesn't damage you or affect your handling, but does make life hell for competitors, earn boost, and look awesome. The dedicated Road Rage and Crash events are back as well, and every single one is a pleasant, not-too-complicated variation on the core mechanic of crashing the living hell out of everything. Yes, coming in first is important, but not as important as wrecking stuff and having fun, and that's just as it should be.

Beyond the gameplay: It wouldn't be fair to mention this game's ecstatic glee without mentioning J.G. Ballard's Crash. So there, it's mentioned.

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Worth playing for: Simply put, playing Burnout Revenge gives players of any skill level more sensory overload and brain reward per minute than anything else out there.

Frustration sets in when: Some of the "Burning Lap" time-trial stages are pretty tough, and the Crash Mode was perhaps more fun in Burnout 3: Takedown, but there's really almost nothing to complain about in a game that rewards players so well for screwing up.

Final judgment: Oh sweet Lord in heaven, yes! Burnout is one of those rare games that's exactly what you've always wanted games to be.

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