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Written by  :  Carmelo Lia (45)
Written on  :  Jun 02, 2016
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars

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The King of Arcade Racing Games

The Good

There is no other arcade racing game which quite captures the unadulterated thrill of driving cars at over 200 miles per hour in congested roads like Burnout 3: Takedown, a game that is as fresh today as when it was first released in 2004.

Burnout 3 is the result of Criterion Games' first collaboration with EA (Electronic Arts) Games, two giants in the gaming industry. A lot of money was invested in this project. Criterion ceased a year's worth of development on a reboot of the popular NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) skateboarding series 'Skate or Die' to focus on this title, while the collaboration actually came to fruition thanks to Bruce McMillan from EA Canada, who worked hard to ensure a good working relationship between the two companies.

First of all, the Burnout series was no stranger to innovation. The Original Burnout (2001) was described as "The game that leaves GT (Gran Turismo) 3 standing" by PSM (Playstation Magazine) 2, a significant commendation to be sure. Burnout 2: Point of Impact (2002) was described as the "Jack Daniels" of arcade racing games by Gamespot, and GT3 as the less-appealing "Dom Perignon". In short, both of Burnout 3's predecessors introduced the trademark high-speed racing and spectacular car crashes to the series. However, it is Burnout 3 which put all of these aspects together with an unparalleled degree of polish, while introducing new features as well

For example, Burnout 3 features the largest diversity of tracks in the series on three continents, the USA, Europe and Asia, between which there are 10 circuit tracks, 4 point-to-point tracks and 4 marathon tracks. Whether you are drifting through the historic alleyways of Winter City (Europe), glimpsing the giant golden Buddha statue in Island Paradise (Asia) or avoiding traffic in the Kings of the Road (USA), Burnout 3 keeps you on the edge of your car seat from one continent to another.

Burnout 3 is also the first game in the series to feature 'Takedowns'. In Road Rage or Race events, you can boost shunt your opponent into oncoming traffic or other obstacles to gain more boost. It is very rewarding to successfully takedown a rival car, and is one of the highlights of Burnout 3. In addition, there are the so-called 'Signature Takedowns' when you crash your opponent into a specific obstacle. If you manage to get a takedown over the cliffs in Silver Lake, for example, you will get the Signature Takedown 'Gone Fishin''. The tradmark 'Aftertouch Takedowns' were also introduced in Burnout 3. If you crash yourself, you can steer your wreck in slow-motion to try and crash into your unfortunate rivals. In Burnout 3, even as a wreck you can cause insane amounts of damage.

Another feature introduced in Burnout 3 are the Crash Events, which motivate the player to smash their vehicle into traffic in the most reckless way possible to rack up Crash dollars in 100 different Crash Junctions. Some of these are pretty challenging, and will have the player use the 'crashbreaker' (when a certain amount of cars have been destroyed, the player can detonate their car one more time) to its full potential. But, most importantly, they Crash Events are very fun, and offer a good alternative to the other Events.

What makes Burnout 3 so much fun, however, is that it makes no pretenses when it comes to rules and realism the way other racing games do. In fact, the game mechanic's rewards a$%hole drivers. You get boost for driving on the wrong side of the road, you get rewarded for almost crashing into another vehicle, for crashing other vehicles and for crashing into other vehicles. Burnout 3 is every driver's fantasy, and that is what makes it such a success as a videogame, with one of the best soundtrack in a videogame to boot.

The Bad

Burnout 3 is a near flawless game, but there are some aspects which have frustrated me personally all the same. Some of the special events are much more difficult than anything else in the game, such as those involving the US circuit racer. Trying to get gold in the infamous World GP using this racer was a nightmare I soon abandoned, for example. And while the overall graphic of the game were exceptional for the time, some of the oncoming traffic is barely noticeable at times, which makes you wish this game was designed with 720P/1080P resolution in mind. Though crashing is almost an inevitability when you are driving at 200 mph on the wrong side of the road...

The Bottom Line

Its degree of polish is what makes Burnout 3 the undisputed king of arcade racing games.

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