Do you like arcade style racing games? Do you like games that let you drive like a maniac and reward you for it? Do you like the crashes in driving games as much as the driving itself? If you answered “Yes” to one or all the previous questions then Burnout 3: Takedown is the racing game for you.
Burnout 3: Takedown is all about reckless driving at very high-speeds and the more reckless you are the faster you will go. Driving down the wrong side of the road and blowing by oncoming cars, sliding around turns at high-speeds and smashing into the competition to wreck them all help build up your boost meter. The more boost you have the longer you can use it and go even faster than the already insane speed of the game. Basically, the boost is like nitrous oxide that gets injected into your car’s engine to give you a boost of speed until you run out of it. If you drive reckless enough you can probably keep your boost meter filled through most of the race, as long as you can control the car for that long without wrecking or being taken out by one of the competition.
The races in Burnout 3: Takedown consist of your standard first one to the finish wins, time trial, and gran prix, where you race multiple races for points and the person with the most points at the end wins. But, Criterion also included some alternative racing formats, such as, Eliminator and Road Rage. Eliminator pits you against other drivers in a race where each lap the last place car is eliminated until there is only one car remaining at the end of the race. This mode makes you consistently stay in the lead or close to the front or you won’t finish the race. The other interesting race mode is Road Rage where you have to try to take out a set number of cars before the time runs out or your car is destroyed from being crashed too many times. All of these races take place on 40 different tracks spanning 3 continents that provide different scenery and racing locales.
Plus, once you have had enough of the racing modes in Burnout 3: Takedown you can move over to the 100 crash events. The crash event areas allow you to crash into busy intersections and other locations to try and cause the most damage as possible for points that let you unlock new vehicles and events. Cause enough vehicles to crash in one of these events and get a Crashbreaker that allows you to detonate your car for even more explosive fun and damage. Also, pick up items on the track for automatic boost, more cash, score multipliers, and automatic Crashbreakers, but avoid the Heartbreaker icon or your final cash total will be cut in half.
I am hard pressed to decide which part of Burnout 3: Takedown I liked more, the racing or the crashing. You will probably find yourself going back and forth between the two modes causing you to want to keep playing more and more to open up new events and vehicles. Burnout 3: Takedown will keep you busy and entertained for awhile and keep calling you back for more.
On top of all these cool game play and racing options Criterion has also hit a homerun with the graphics and sound in Burnout 3. The graphics in Burnout 3 are truly amazing and fly by at a blistering pace. I don’t know if I have seen a game that is faster than Burnout 3: Takedown and the only game that is comparable in speed is F-Zero GX for GameCube. Burnout 3 is fast, I mean really fast, but it also breaks the bounds of reality and if you are a simulation racing game fan then you may not like the game because of this. But if you like a racing game that has you screaming down streets on the edge of your seat hoping nobody pulls out in front of you and rewards you with a spectacular crash when someone does, then Burnout 3 is the game for you.
The blazing fast graphics are also no slouch in detail or quality and look great as they are making your eyes water. Plus, the crashes also look just as good as the racing. Sparks flying off the car as you scrap the wall, parts fly off and crumple up on your car when you crash, and your vehicle and others will even explode in a huge ball of flames if you hit a tanker truck or one of the Crashbreakers mentioned earlier. The destruction doesn’t stop with your vehicle either. The cars, trucks, vans, buses, and more that you run into also have real-time damage that looks great and you can even control the crashes using the slow motion feature called Aftertouch. If you crash you can steer your car into one of the competitor’s using the Aftertouch feature and you will be rewarded with an Aftertouch Takedown and keep your all important boost. Also, in Road Rage mode each time you wreck someone or they wreck you, the car in question shows damage as it continues on. This relates to doors flying open and shut, trunks banging up and down and other physical marks on the cars to show you have taken some damage.
All of these graphic touches show the attention to detail and it is amazing that they got the game to look this good and go this fast. The only complaint I have about Burnout 3’s graphics is that sometimes when you crash the camera angle isn’t that good and doesn’t give you a good view of where your competitors are for Aftertouch Takedowns. This same problem makes it hard to judge where items are that you want to pick up in crash mode. This is just a minor problem and should not be held against Burnout 3 that much, since the rest of the graphics in the game are really good, but I had to mention it.
As mentioned above, the music and sound effects are also top notch in Burnout 3: Takedown and ooze high production quality. Electronic Arts licensed music from bands like Autopilot Off, Ramones, The FUps, Finger Eleven, Go Betty Go, Jimmy Eat World, and more that allows the game to have a real radio station feel as you drive your car aggressively down the road. They even went to the extent of putting in a DJ that breaks into the songs for updates and also gives you other information as you play the game. Some people might get annoyed with the DJ’s over-the-top babbling but he does fit into the style of game that Burnout 3: Takedown is and I didn’t have a problem with him. I also liked the music but have heard others complaining about it. I own Autopilot Off’s CD and like bands like Three Doors Down, Sugar Ray, Linkin Park, Incubus, Nickelback, and Fuel, so if you like these bands or style of music then you should like the music in Burnout 3: Takedown.
The sound effects are also great and you will here screeching tires as you power slide around corners, glass and metal breaking and crunching when you wreck, engines revving and fuel injectors getting a blast of boost. The standard sounds you would expect in a racing game are here and well done and I have no complaint. You will also hear cars coming up next to you and flying by you, since the game supports Dolby Pro Logic II.
Speaking of cars flying by, the game is super fast but you should be able to control your high-speed car since the controls are also great and very responsive. I never felt like my input was delayed and that is a good thing, since you don’t even have time to react a lot of times in Burnout 3 let alone wait for the controller to respond. What you input happens exactly when you enter it, so you should only be limited by your driving skills and reaction time not bad unresponsive game control. The button layout is the standard racing game layout and if you have played any other racing games on the PlayStation 2 you should know what I am talking about.
Lastly, if you finish all the races and crash events the game still has replay value, since it contains extensive multiplayer and online modes that allow you to play in versus or cooperative modes on and offline with friends. You can race against one other person in split-screen multiplayer mode and versus up to 5 other people online. Multiplayer and Online modes also allow two people the ability to crash together in crash events for even more destruction and fun. There is also an 8 player Party Crash mode that allows each of the eight people a chance to crash with the person doing the most damage being declared the winner.
With 70 cars to choose from and online and multiplayer modes on top of single player race and crash modes, Burnout 3: Takedown has a lot to offer. I don’t think I have ever played a faster racing game that had me not wanting to blink nor turn my PS2 off. The game looks great, sounds great, and plays great and I can’t recommend it enough. Burnout 3: Takedown is a must buy for every racing game fan and probably should be purchased or at least rented by every PlayStation 2 owner on the planet, since it is that good.
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