They may never be as commercially successful as the Need for Speed games or Gran Turismo, but Criterion’s Burnout games are beloved by a wide audience of players and the reason is not hard to understand: stuff crashes up real good. It’s no surprise, then, that the long rumored, finally announced Burnout CRASH! fully capitalizes on the love players have for joyous vehicular destruction — though anyone expecting this game to resemble Burnouts past in any way, shape, or form is in for quite a shock.

The first thing players are apt to notice about Burnout CRASH! is its perspective. Yes, as previously reported, the game takes place from a top down perspective. And, yes, there are lobster monsters. But it’s not just the game’s perspective and opponents that have changed. The team behind CRASH! took inspiration from a number of unlikely sources, according to Creative Director Richard Franke.

“Burnout CRASH! is a crazy mix of pinball and game shows. We’ve evolved the core gameplay which everyone loved about Crash Mode, and expanded the whole experience using music, style and Autolog to create what we feel is the most mindless fun you can have on any gaming platform.”

Currently slated to release this Fall on both Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network, Burnout CRASH! may just be the most accessible Burnout yet. From the official Criterion Games website:

“Our gameplay is real simple. Drive into an intersection, cause a massive pile-up and blow up everything in sight! With 3 game modes, each of which requiring different strategies and tactics, you’ve got plenty of ways to try and get a high score and top your Crashwall amongst your friends.”

Electronic Arts offers a slightly more detailed description of the game in its press release.

“Burnout CRASH! packs countless hours of reckless chaos into an easy to pick up, but difficult to master gameplay experience. There are three explosive game modes available across 18 crash junctions in six unique locations, each requiring different skills and strategies to maximize damage and destroy everything in sight. With a variety of player vehicles to unlock, high-value targets to seek and destroy, and crazy surprise features to discover, players will be hooked on an adrenaline-fueled rampage to the top of the Crashwall.”

In the spirit of bringing the game to the widest possible audience, Burnout CRASH! will support Microsoft’s Kinect for a mode, “in which two teams use gestural controls to play on one television in a party battle!” The game will also feature the now ubiquitous Autolog feature that debuted in Criterion’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

Bottom line: more Burnout is always good news, and though it represents a pretty radical departure for the series, there is no reason to believe Burnout CRASH! will sully the sterling record of Criterion Games. Still, after the epic Burnout: Paradise (which, it must be pointed out, is available at the must-have price of just $7.99 right now on PSN), an arcade title seems a little small-scale for Burnout.

We know that Black Box is handling the next Need for Speed game, The Run, so when is Criterion going to get around to releasing another full retail Burnout game? Let’s hope that with this smaller release, the mad scientists at Criterion have cleared their minds and readied themselves for even more outrageous virtual destruction in the future.

Ranters, what are your first impressions of Burnout CRASH!? Let it all out in the comments below.

Burnout CRASH! is due this Fall for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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Source: Edge, Criterion Games