Burnout 3: Takedown

-Criterion/EA (2004)

-Also on PS2.

 

Summary

The "matrix" is finally put to good use in a racing game.

My Thoughts

Burnout 2 was good, but the best part about it proved to be the great looking crashes. Criterion saw this and now crashing, in one form or another, is an essential part of gameplay in Burnout 3.

As the title says, the big focus this time is on takedowns. Whenever you cause an opponent to crash itís called a takedown, of which there are many types. There are wall takedowns where you cause an opponent to crash into a guard rail or wall. There are various vehicle takedowns that depend on the kind of vehicle they hit. Signature takedowns are dependant on a certain point in a course. Revenge takedowns occur when you crash a rival after he crashes you (or vise-versa). Another type of takedown is the Aftertouch. If a rival takes you down, you can use Aftertouch to slow the speed of the game and try to position your car to take out the car or other cars coming up from behind. Whenever you do takedown a rival your boost meter is extended giving you a super surge of speed when you choose to use it. I thought F-Zero GX was fast, but Burnout 3 feels even faster while using the boost and itís infinitely more dangerous.

The visuals are pretty realistic, which helps the sense that youíre seeing real cars crashes and destruction. There isnít much time to enjoy the visuals as you race because you need to focus on the road and what to avoid. The time will come when you can enjoy the visuals and that will be when you crash. By far, these are the best looking crashes youíve ever seen. Glass shatters and sprays over the pavement, pieces of your car are torn off, your car crumples until it becomes a smoldering chunk of metal, and a lone fiery tire flees the scene to save itself. Everything happens realistically and makes you hope you never see it happen right in front of you when youíre driving in real life.   

This time for the crash mode, new power-ups were added to make things a little more interesting. There are icons that double, quadruple, and cut your damage earnings in half. There is a crash icon that makes your vehicle instantly explode when itís collected, also causing any unlucky vehicles nearby to be affected by the explosion. Some courses are more like a puzzle. Youíll need to figure out where you need to crash or how to take that jump in order to actually collect those icons. While the new icons lend a bit of extra strategy to the crashing, the goal dollar amounts rely too heavily on collecting the bonuses. There were a bunch of courses where I was able to meet the goal without collecting the icons, but for most I absolutely needed to collect them. In the end, I prefer the straight up crashing of Burnout 2. No matter what, youíre still going to see a spectacular scene of vehicular destruction.

The cars, while not being licensed vehicles, are similar to real ones. When youíre racing and taking down opponents the fact that if youíre driving a real car doesnít matter. While playing through the game youíll unlock other, more interesting cars to crash with such as a garbage truck, SUV, and a semi that looks a little like Optimus Prime, among others.

The Burnout 3 World Tour is where most of your vehicular mayhem will occur. I was surprised at how long this mode was. I had nearly twenty hours clocked in when I completed the mode. Twenty hours is a huge amount of time for a racing game and that doesnít include time Iíll be spending just screwing around in the game trying other vehicles and such. In the World Tour youíll participate in a variety of races across the globe that will halt the daily lives of many innocent bystanders. In the grand prix, eliminator and face-off races youíll want to make other drivers crash to help insure that youíll get the gold. In road rage making the other drivers crash is how you get the gold as youíll have to meet or beat the takedown goal. Burning lap is the most difficult because youíll have to complete a lap flawlessly while in constant boost. Crashing is a definite no-no here.

I left the announcer on for one race and that was more than enough. His ďwitty banterĒ was more annoying than anything and youíll want to turn him off as soon as possible. The other down point of the game is EAís included soundtrack. None of the music is fast-paced and does not match the fast on screen action in the least. Fortunately, the Xbox has its awesome custom soundtracks feature where you can have music that actually fits the game. Any kind of fast-paced techno, rock, industrial, or metal works wonderfully with the game. Another cool thing to do is to rip music from other racing games. Youíll have to use your PC to rip and burn the tracks, but racing while having music from the Ridge Racer series gives the game a new, but familiar flavor. If I was reviewing the PS2 version of the game I would have to deduct for the anti-racing soundtrack.

Not only is Burnout 3 an awesome game to play, but its also entertaining to just watch. The game is so exciting you can watch a friend play and not get bored because of how incredible everything looks. Whether you love racing games or not Burnout 3 is a sight to behold and to play. With the help of the EA juggernaut, Criterion has made Burnout a more than formidable foe for all other racing series.

Score: 9.5      

-Shawn

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