Burnout 3: Takedown Xbox
by EA Games
Developed by Criterion Games
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99
It's difficult to emphasize just how important a game Burnout 3 is. It's the first in the Burnout series to be published by Electronic Arts and it's also the first EA game to support Xbox Live. If fans of the previous Burnout games had been worried about what to expect, they needn't have been. In fact if you were one of the many thousands to play the demo that was made available a few months ago you'll already know that Criterion have made a big improvement on Burnout 2 and you'll also have a fair idea of how good Burnout 3 really is and it's fair to say right at the beginning of this review that it's the best game in the Burnout series.
Of course it's just possible you haven't played either of the previous two Burnout games so a little description is in order. Essentially the Burnout games reward you for driving dangerously. You'll take part in races where you'll gain boost for closely dodging the oncoming traffic as well as making your opponents hit the oncoming traffic. Drifts are also rewarded too, as is making excellent use of your boost that you acquire. For these crazy antics you are rewarded with boost, which in turn can be used to make you go faster. In Burnout 3 you are also rewarded with additional boost for takedowns where you make your opponents crash. There are even modes where you have to cause as much damage as possible by making dramatic crashes whilst collecting score enhancing modifiers in the process. It's a completely arcade experience but it's so enjoyable that even simulation enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy the game.
Burnout 3 adds a bunch of stuff to the mix which manages to build upon the success of this high-speed automobile smashing series. The game includes Burnout 3 World Tour, Single Event, Multiplayer and Xbox Live modes. The World Tour is the heart of the game and eases you into the game rather comfortably. This mode will allow you to sample all the driving modes and challenges, over 3 continents, plus you'll be able to unlock cars and events that can then be used in the multiplayer modes. The World Tour isn't quite on a par with the Kudos World Series in Project Gotham Racing 2 but it's still very enjoyable and is the best single player mode in any of the Burnout games so far. The AI is more than capable and although the initial events are easy it soon becomes challenging but this is great to see and it means that you'll be playing the World Tour mode for a heck of a long time. Multiplayer allows for 2 player races and events. I don't know why this is limited to 2 players but it may have something to do with the game being simultaneously developed for the PlayStation 2, which requires the Multitap to have more than 2 players. Still with the Xbox having 4 game ports it would have been great to have been able to have four players in a game.
One of the most important new features is the Aftertouch. Immediately after a crash you can press the A button to enter slow motion. During this time you can steer your car into other vehicles and preferably a rival to score an Aftertouch Takedown which will allow you to fill your boost bar and keep any additional boost you have acquired. Criterion have also added a Crashbreaker. The Crashbreaker is basically a way of exploding your vehicle to score extra damage. It may seem a simple inclusion but it adds spice to the game and does wonders to increase the value of the damage your crash has caused.
We can't go without mentioning the Xbox Live features of course and the modes on offer can certainly be enjoyable. The online races consist of two player and six player races. Games such as Team Crush, Double Impact and Party Crash are available and are quite enjoyable. Whilst it's fantastic news to have an EA game that finally supports Xbox Live, it's rather unfortunate that an unusual problem has occurred with the game. I was surprised to find, when I first went onto Xbox Live with Burnout 3, a message informing me that I was running in 50Hz mode and that I would be able to see gamers running in 60Hz mode but would be unable to play against them. I don't know why this is the case and it's the first time I've come across it with a Xbox Live game but I can see it causing a few problems.
Burnout 2 offered a big leap in visuals over the original Burnout and Burnout 3 in turn again offers a leap in visual quality. What I really like though is that despite having impressive graphics the game gives you a superb sensation of speed and a fluid frame rate that makes for an excellent racing experience. The vehicle models are impressive but what you are going to notice above everything else in Burnout 3 is the damage modeling which is superb. The way your vehicles twist when damaged is very impressive and it adds to the highly dangerous feel of the game. It is surprising to find that the game only offers two camera angles though. You have the first person/no car view and the behind and up-high chase car view. Both are OK but I would have liked to have seen at least a couple more choices.
It would have been great to have seen Burnout 3 subtitled but sadly this is not the case. The tutorials and general hints from the DJ are not shown in text. Sometimes the gist of what he's going on about is easy to tell from the pictures but at other times it's not. To be honest this is a bit disappointing although it doesn't cause any major obstacles. The game manual will help you overcome any difficulties you should have and although the manual isn't exactly bristling with information it does explain the various game concepts as well as describing what all the icons mean that you'll encounter in the game.
Burnout 3: Takedown is a sequel that will surely please fans of the series. The game contains everything that was great about the series and adds extra zest. It's fast, furious and chock full of exhilarating smashes that make for one very enjoyable game. Whilst the Xbox Live modes have got a lot of attention it's important to note that even if you only intend to play the single player game Burnout 3 is still highly recommended. There's more than enough here to last you a long time with a huge amount of events and vehicles to be unlocked. If you're at all interested in arcade racing that rewards your dangerous driving then Burnout 3 is a must.
Game Rating: 9.0/10
Quite simply Burnout 3 is a superb arcade racer and a very impressive sequel to what was already a great series.
No subtitles for the tutorials or the verbal descriptions of the events.