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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Criterion Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 2004

 

 

- Truly spectacular crashes
- Awesome sense of speed
- Very good control
- Many tracks and crash events
- Xbox Live component

 

 

- Soundtrack is painful at times
- Loading screens galore
- Sometimes cars are just too fast

 

 

Review: Burnout 2: Point of Impact Developer's Cut (XB)

Review: Burnout 2: Point of Impact (GC)

Review: Midtown Madness 3 (XB)

 

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Burnout 3: Takedown

Score: 9.2 / 10

 

burnout 3 review         burnout 3 review

 

Fast cars and gaming have gone hand-in-hand for many years but it hasnít been until recently that realistic car games have demonstrated what itís like to crash into oncoming traffic. No more of this Pole Position stuff where the most minor nudge resulted in your car exploding. In my mind it started with the original Burnout then revved up with Burnout 2: Point of Impact, with some truly horrendous crashes (in a good way) highlighting the blistering pace of the game. Burnout 3: Takedown (B3T) brings it all together: a huge variety of race tracks, race types and a sweet number of intersections in Crash Mode.

If youíre unfamiliar with the Burnout series, Crash Mode tasks you with causing as much vehicular mayhem as possible. B3T takes the mayhem and manages to crank the carnage even further.

Before each Crash Mode event begins a target number of collisions is displayed. Scream into an intersection (on-coming traffic, etc.) and cause a pile-up to reach

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the target number of collisions. Then at the most opportune moment you can explode your car (called Crashbreaker) to cause even more damage! On top of that Criterion has added Aftertouch, which allows you to slightly ďsteerĒ your wreck to spread the chaos even further across the impact zone. Even with all that itís still sometimes very tricky to hit the point totals required for Bronze, Silver and Gold medal

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finishes. Strangely enough it becomes puzzle-like: How can I hit the requisite number of cars to explode and still hit score multipliers and cash pick-ups along the way? Some setups take multiple run-throughs to find the magic route to score enough points for the Gold. It can be a little frustrating but because the game looks as good as it does you donít mind.

The actual racing modes are of the standard variety (head-to-head, laps, etc.) Ė these are expected and B3T does a good job with them, keeping a nice balance between the toughness of the course and the smarts of the driver AI. But to win most races youíre in constant search for boost Ė pulling extremely dangerous maneuvers to load up your boost meter, which can now be used at any time (instead of having to fill it up and use it all at once as in the previous installments). To increase the meterís capacity Burnout 3ís subtitle, Takedown, comes into play.

By scraping an opponent into oncoming traffic or a wall you simultaneously have your boost capacity increased and the meter filled. (Not to mention treated to a slow-mo cut of your opponent crashing.) The one danger with this is that some vehicles attain near light-speed when boost is activated. On a straightaway with no oncoming traffic this would be great Ė the sense of speed is awesome and rivals that of F-Zero GX (for GameCube). But B3T routinely throws hazards on the road like cross traffic, blind corners, and, my favorite, supports for elevated tracks. Itís a true test of skill and co-ordination, but it can also be a little frustrating.

 

burnout 3 review         burnout 3 review


Doing well with both the races and crash modes in the World Tour is rewarded with a long list of unlockables, which include new cars, new race events, and invites to events on other continents. There are also bonuses given for meeting optional goals, like taking down five opponents during a race. The good thing is you donít necessarily have to finish 1st in every event to unlock levels, so if get stumped trying to get gold on one race you can always try something else.

Iíd almost be ready to score B3T close to a perfect 10 but the soundtrack is so crummy that it dents an otherwise awesome arcade racer. The music seems completely out of place and the accompanying DJ Stryker is simply annoying after about 10 minutes. Fortunately, you use tunes stored on your Xboxís harddrive. The overall sound design is very good, particularly the haunting and slow-mo music played during uses of Aftertouch.

Another quibble is the amazing amount of load screens. Thereís a loading screen for everything! This would become extremely annoying if it wasnít for the gameplay, which is a lot of fun and challenging.

B3T also features a complete complement of online racing over Live. By all accounts, itís a smooth experience and it can get the competitive juices flowing.

If you can put up with the loading screens galore and a bad soundtrack, Burnout 3: Takedown is an arcade racer that should please hardcore and casual race fans. If youíre a fan of the series, skip the rental and just buy it.

- Omni
(October 6, 2004)

 

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