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PS2 Review: Burnout Dominator

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More of a last gasp of current gen power, Burnout Dominator is filler until a true sequel on next-gen hardware arrives. It’s still a solid, fun, and fast racer, though minus some crucial features that make it a lacking for a full priced affair. Without a crash mode, Burnout loses quite a bit of its appeal.

Unquestionably one of the best looking games for the PlayStation 2, Dominator follows the franchises typical formula. You’ll take on various challenges, earn points for winning, and move on. Cars unlock as you progress, and by performing certain tasks on the tracks, you’ll earn Dominator points to unlock larger rewards, including new challenges.

Controls are spot on, with a trademark tight feel. A better sense for drifting comes into play, which is implemented wonderfully into this typical Burnout package. It’s of heavier importance here as a new challenge comes into play centered entirely around this corner taking technique. Also new is the “maniac” challenge which revolves entirely around driving as dangerously as possible. It seems to be a bit of a waste since that’s been the goal of the franchise since it was first released.

Fans of the previous effort, Burnout Revenge, will be taken aback. Traffic checking, the ability to ram cars heading in the same direction as you for points, has been deleted. The series now regains an extra layer of intensity as you swerve through slow moving traffic knowing the penalty will be great if you slip up.

Boosting is still crucial to a players overall success, and chaining boost meters adds to an even higher sense of speed. This feature was taken from Burnout 2, which was sadly dropped from all future releases. New courses mean some wildly fun new shortcuts, while the motion blur used to accentuate the speed effect is amazing to look at.

Dominator loses a lot however. Online play is absent, though the developers have nicely allowed all items to be unlocked from the start. Split screen is fine, though hardly a replacement. The always-enjoyable crash mode is a total loss, ripping away the car crash orgies that always stuck as the most enjoyable aspect. Even a few set ups would have went a long way.

If you’re still a die-hard PlayStation 2 gamer, you’ll be more than satisfied with this late release from EA. If a Burnout revolution is something you’re looking forward to, then skipping this entry means you’re not missing much of anything. Dominator does just enough to make itself worthwhile.

Burnout Dominator is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Violence. This game can also be found on: PSP.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.