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Burnout 3: Takedown ( 2004)            

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(Anonymous) (Unknown)   28th Mar 2012 03:16

"The ultimate remedy for automotive anxiety."

Racing games come in many shapes and sizes. You'll find satisfaction in the hazardous and power-up filled worlds of Mario Kart or the extra-realistic world of Gran Turismo. But there's something inside of us that a simple Koopa shell cannot quell. Something inside of us wants more than that. Sometimes you just want to smash, ram, and destroy your virtual competition, leaving it a smoking wreck in the middle of a busy intersection. You want to steal their boost, blast through oncoming traffic, and cross the finish line with sweaty, victory-collective palms. Yes, sometimes we just want to see our virtual opponents crash and burn. That's where Criterion comes in, with their insanely-visceral and downright unforgettable series, Burnout. Burnout 3: Takedown is a racing game creation unlike any other, but is it a racing fan's true stress-killer?

If you've played through the Burnout series before, you'll know that the game is all about over-the-top crash sequences mixed into the otherwise traditional racing mechanics. That's good and all, but the series never integrated the intensity into the gameplay itself. You did get to see great crashes, but mostly, the crashes were there for show and not much else. Burnout 3, on the other hand, successfully blends the traditional racing concepts with some of the most aggressive driving gameplay ever before seen, resulting in a fast-paced and action-packed racing engine unlike any racing game of memory.

The newest additions are the different tactics in clearing out your competition on the track. First and foremost is the Takedown, a quick and functional method of gaining a quick lead against a rival. By ramming, shunting, and shoving an opponent's car, the vehicles collect damage until their car spins out of control toward a Takedown. Takedowns not only attack opponents, but successful Takedowns increase your Boost, which by holding the A button, lets you move up to tremendous speeds. However, if you crash, you lose the Boost. Another interesting new twist is Aftertouch. After crashing, you can direct your crash by holding the A button and tilting the left analog stick. This can be used to move your crash into an opponent, costing them Boost and earning you an Aftertouch Takedown. These different abilities make races unpredictable and incredibly fun to play through. Seriously; unleashing a Takedown on an opponent will no doubt get the adrenaline pumping

Burnout 3: Takedown is jam-packed with different events and modes to compete in. There's the traditional race, where you're pit against five other opponents; first one past the finish line wins. There's also Road Rage, a race against the clock where you must unleash Takedown after Takedown until you reach a specific amount of taken out enemies. There's Face-Off, a one-on-one battle to earn new vehicles, and Eliminator, a set of laps where the last place car is eliminated after each lap. There's also Burning Laps, simple one-lap races against the clock. Although these are pretty cool and fast-paced, the difficulty of these can be completely unforgiving. A single crash can wreck a near-flawless lap, and most of the cars used in Burning Laps lack handling. The Burning Laps aren't horrible, but they can be pretty frustrating at times.

The game packs in many, many opportunities to play through these different modes, especially in the creatively-designed tracks throughout. Your racing action will take you to three different continents, each one illustrated with beautiful scenery and unforgettable competition. These modes are also available in online modes, a collective inclusion that makes the game even more competitive. If you have Xbox Live, you'll be eager to find some strong opponents. Fortunately, the game's mechanics aren't particularly unbalanced. Crashing through an opponent's lead is satisfying, making Burnout 3: Takedown's multiplayer a refreshingly fun experience.

Then there's Crash Mode, one of Burnout 3: Takedown's most crowning achievements. Crash Mode was Burnout 2: Point of Impact's most inventive and satisfying of modes. The goal of Crash Mode was to drive your car into the most hazardous and destructive of situations, racking up points the more vehicular demolition is caused. Burnout 3 introduces a few new additions. First off are the pick-ups. Running through specific icons in the Crash Mode will earn more cash, multipliers, boost, or the Crashbreaker. The Crashbreaker is an explosive attack for your car to do even more damage to the traffic you're attempting to wreck. The Crashbreaker can also be used as an extra boost to those hard-to-reach multipliers and is the perfect way to finish off a Crash Mode. Aftertouch is used in even better ways when you need to direct your crash into a specific lane of traffic so more cars spin out of control. The inclusions of all these new gameplay concepts compliment Crash Mode's intensity. Overall, the Crash Mode retains all of its addictive and stress-relieving qualities that made it so fun in Burnout 2, and the inclusion of pick-ups, Aftertouch, and Crashbreaker makes the whole mode one of the best seen in any racing game. Ever.

As far as the presentation goes, this is one of the best-looking games on the Xbox. The cosmetic damage is simply astonishing; pieces of metal will peel off the car in Road Rage mode. The explosive Crashbreaker will leave the car (and most of what's surrounding it) charred and damaged in Crash Mode. But even when you're not crashing, the game runs at an amazingly quick clip. It is easily the fastest racing game on the system. For sound, you get the sounds of revving engines and fierce impacts. The sound design nails the intensity of the gameplay, matching the graphics in its phenomenal presentation. As for the music, you get a mixed-bag of hard rock bands. While some bands like Atreyu, Autopilot Off, and the Ramones are welcome additions, you may find yourself cringing at the inclusion of other bands. The soundtrack is generally okay, but it's far from perfect. There could've been more diversity in it. And finally, there's the DJ. He's annoying and interrupts the music too frequently. Overall, however, there really isn't a game with so much intensity in the graphics and sound, making Burnout 3 a milestone in racing games.

+ Races are extremely fast-paced
+ Excellent graphics and sound design
+ Inventive, though fluid combat makes races exciting
+ Great selection of modes and challenges
+ Crash Mode is addictive and stress-relieving

- Burning Laps can be unforgivingly difficult
- Soundtrack could've been a bit larger and more diverse
- DJ is annoying

Burnout 3: Takedown is an absolute joy-ride to play. The game capitalizes on its intense and aggressive driving gameplay, making one of the most high-speed and adrenaline-pumping racing games ever released for the system. There's a great amount of modes, addressing racing, crashing, and aggression equally well between them all. Improving upon an already strongly-built Crash Mode is incredible, as the new additions like Aftertouch and the Crashbreaker breathe new life into one of the genre's most inventive inclusions. But even if the Crash Mode is ignored, the racing has a slew of brand-new gameplay mechanics that work very, very well. All without a hitch, the aggression-based racing makes gameplay go beyond simply reaching the finish line. Taking out an opponent delivers a brilliant sense of control and intensity, something that Burnout 3: Takedown prides itself on. The graphics are top-notch for the system and the sound design is just as intense. If you're someone who's ever desired to turn your in-game car into a smoldering wreck after an opponent has passed you up, Burnout 3: Takedown will satisfy your animalistic craze in spades. Championing the genre, Burnout 3: Takedown is easily one of the best racing games on the Xbox. Pick it up today.

Reviewer's Score: 9/10, Originally Posted: 08/14/08

Game Release: Burnout 3: Takedown (Platinum Hits) (US, 2005)

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This title was first added on 1st February 2012
This title was most recently updated on 28th March 2012

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