Burnout Legends (DS)
Burnout Legends is a racing video game developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation Portable. While the PlayStation Portable version is pretty good and it's considered one of the best racing games of the system, Visual Impact's Nintendo DS version is far inferior and it's considered one of the worst ports of all time.
Just like the PlayStation Portable version of the game, the player will compete in a series of racing modes to unlock tracks, cars and events.
Why It Sucks
- First off, the graphics were severely downgraded and now they look extremely poor, to the point that they look similar to the horrible DS port of Need for Speed: Most Wanted:
- The original game was well known for having a lot of visual effects that made the races look amazing and intense, like the nitro effects and the sparks that come out of your car's paint when it gets scuffed. Well, the visual effects of the DS port look atrocious, when your car is scuffed, only a few sparks will come out of the car, making it look pretty unrealistic and boring, and if this wasn't enough, the nitro effects are completely absent, you read well, that flames that come out of the exhaust pipes are missing in this port. Even Mario Kart DS has those effects, a game that was released in the same year and the same month as this port.
- The models of the cars look terrible and seem to be ripped from a Minecraft mod, and not only that, the damaged models of the cars when they are destroyed look exactly the same, no matter how do they crash of if only the front/back part of the car gets damaged.
- The textures of the vehicles, buildings and other resources like trees, highways and signs look so blurry that they can be compared to the textures of Top Gun: Combat Zones or an early Nintendo 64 game.
- The checkpoint signals look so pixelated that it can be hard to read what's on the signs, look for yourself.
- The PSP version had animated background videos that made the menus look more dynamic, but in the DS version these videos were replaced with low quality background images, also, the cutscenes look atrocious and they're the clear definition of "cheap".
- Even the maps were severely downgraded and they look atrocious. A good example of this is the Palm Bay Marina track: in the PSP version, this track has sunny weather, it's well detailed and there is a shortcut by the dock that can be useful for some players. In the DS version, the same track has cloudy weather, it doesn't has as many details as the PSP version and the shortcut is completely blocked. One can understand the graphical changes because the DS is not as powerful as the PSP, but there is no real reason to block the shortcut and change the weather.
- Because of the poor quality of the visual effects, you don't get the same sense of speed as playing one of the other Burnout games, and it's not like the game would try to improve it, because most of the cars feel incredibly slow, even if you're driving at the highest speed possible.
- Due to the Nintendo DS's technical limitations, the traffic was noticeably reduced, making the challenges and tracks feel incredibly empty and hollow.
- In a similar way to Carmageddon 64, the controls and the camera are terrible, all of the cars handle so stiff that it can be hard to steer them at times and they seem to magnetize to the road as if they were slot cars. The camera doesn't do a better job, because it will always focus on the back part of your car and it will not rotate or change its angles as you steer the car, making the handle model look even more stiff.
- The physics and the collision detection are so broken that it turns gameplay into a Russian roulette. Even a slight touch at low speed is enough to wreck your car and make it fly around like crazy, and not only that, crashing your rival's car at high speed can either do nothing, destroy it or make it react strangely. This gets to the point that there's almost no precise way to describe how weird the crashing reactions of the cars are, because sometimes they seem to steer to the sides automatically in a very magnetic way, and other times the cars can bounce in physically impossible ways. The only way to explain them is by multiplying the physics from FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction by five.
- This version runs at 30 fps, and not only that, the optimization is so bad that at some points the framerate will drop to less than 20 frames per second, and it only gets worse when it's played on the first models of the DS.
- The PSP version had a lot of songs from Burnout Revenge that went well with the game's atmosphere, but for some strange reason, the licensed songs were completely removed in the DS version and replaced with generic heavy metal tracks that sound horrible.
- The audio design is horrible, the crashing sounds are pretty harsh to the point that it barely resembles anything recognizable (according to Nintendo Life), most of the cars have the same generic engine sound and the cop car siren is annoying to the point that it can make your ears bleed. When you play this on an actual console, the audio seems to have troubles with the DS's small speakers, making the sound design even worse.
- Even if the music is terrible, one of the music tracks resembles “BT vs The Doors Break On Through Remix” from Burnout Revenge, and it's kinda decent.
- It features a lot of additional information in the lower screen that is quite useful, like a minimap or a damage meter in takedown challenges.
- The physics are so bad that they can make you laugh.
The PSP version of Burnout Legends was highly praised by critics and fans alike, however, the DS version was met with negative reviews and it has an average score of 38 on Metacritic,  and as said before, nowadays is considered one of the worst ports and DS games of all time.
Craig Harris from IGN gave the game a 3.5 out of 10, critizicing the poor graphics, the broken hit detection, the lack of the original soundtrack and the sloppy driving model, but praising the game optimization, stating that "The only positive that can be said about this game: at least it runs at 60 frames per second."
Alex Navaro from GameSpot, who also reviewed the PSP version of the game and gave it a 9 out of 10, gave the DS version a 4 out of 10 and criticized the ugly graphics and crashing effects, the broken driving physics, the collision detection problems, the lack of sense of speed and the audio, shortly describing "Burnout Legends for the DS is not a failure because it's a port of a game that appeared on a more powerful system. It's a failure because it just isn't an enjoyable racer, regardless of platform and regardless of name."
Anthony Dickens from Nintendo Life gave the game the score of 5/10, he wasn't too critical with the game and even considered it one of the best racing games for the system, however, he complained about the controls, the low quality audio, the graphics, the poor physics and the crashing effects and praised the overall presentation presentation of the game and the wide variety of tracks and cars. In his conclusion, he said the following: "There aren't many good driving games on the DS at the moment; ironically, considering its quality, this is actually one of the better ones. Whilst the Burnout series is highly popular and critically acclaimed, it’s pretty easy to see why this game has been rated badly by the majority of people. It tries very hard to work, but sadly it’s been let down by a few key fundamental elements that just don't work. The developers have done a good job to cram pretty much every aspect of the console game into this handheld version, but it just doesn't feel like a true Burnout game. It's slow, sluggish and certainly doesn't hit anywhere near the high quality standard we've seen from all the previous Burnout games."
In the case of video reviews, there aren't many of them and most users just talk about the PSP version instead, but the only user who talked about the game was the costa rican YouTuber Veget4 Evolve in the third episode of her series of videos called "Las 5 Peores Versiones de Videojuegos que Existen" (ENG: The 5 worst versions of videogames that exist). She placed it in the second place and talked about the poor graphics, the horrible crashing effects, the buggy collision detection, the awful optimization, the lack of content and the downgraded visual effects.
- Metacritic page of the game: https://www.metacritic.com/game/ds/burnout-legends
- IGN 's review: https://www.ign.com/articles/2005/12/01/burnout-legends
- GameSpot 's review: https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/burnout-legends-review/1900-6140897/
- Nintendo Life's review: https://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/2006/08/burnout_legends_ds