STAFF REVIEW of Burnout 3: Takedown (Xbox)

Monday, September 13, 2004.
by Sheeyt

Burnout 3:  Takedown Box art First off let me say that I am in no way a fan of racing games. Infact I would go as far as saying I hate racing games. I never liked Project Gotham, Rallisport, or MotoGP. I never found it fun just driving laps over and over. That being said I absolutely love Burnout 3. Not just because of the high speed and wonderful frame rate, but I also find this game fun. I know, I know you\'re saying to yourself well you\'re driving laps and you\'ve already said you don\'t find that fun. The big difference in this game for me among other racers is the crashing. The crashing makes it fun. Also not every race consists of driving in laps. The challenges vary and that adds to the appeal for me. Not to mention the online play but I will get to that later.

Burnout 3 is insanely easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple, the game has no learning curve which makes it more appealing to the average gamer.

The content of the game is a great mix. Tons of variety and lots of things to unlock, enough to keep people coming back for more. You have several different options to choose from. You can choose the gametype you want to play and rack up points that way, or you can participate in the Burnout 3 World Tour and unlock cars and events that way.

The different game modes mix up a variety of different objectives. For example in one mode you can be on either the red team or the blue team, the blue team races and the red team chases. The object is for the blue team to successfully cross the finish line without being taken out by the red team. Other game modes simply put you in a car and send you straight into the heart of traffic to cause the biggst pile up and dollar damage you can.

Collecting crash dollars unlocks new crash cars. Winning single races and scoring takedowns will help you unlock other cars and events. Takedowns happen when you successful wreck an opposing car. When you execute a takedown you add onto your burnout meter. But if you\'re takendown you will lose the extra burnout meter. To accumulate more burnout simply drive dangerously. Tailgate, slam cars, drive on the wrong side of the road, driving dangerously will add burnout to you meter, but taking other race cars out is the only way to make your burnout meter longer.

When you play the Burnout World Tour you can chose to either do crash challenges or other race challenges. The race challenges vary from Time Challenges to one on one races, Grand Prix\'s and others.

The game consists of six major car classes. Compact, Muscle, Coupe, Sports, Special and Crash. The Crash cars can\'t be used in anything other then Crash Party or Team Crush. However the other cars can be used in any mode.

One cool new feature in Burnout 3 is the \"aftertouch\" feature. When you are racing in a normal race and you wreck the game will go into a cinematic type mode, when that happens you can now hold the A button to slow down time and steer your wreck in an attempt to cause other racers to wreck if you successful cause another racer to wreck you will be rewarded with an \"aftertouch takedown.\"

Now for the online. This is the third game from EA that is now on Xbox Live. I\'m sure the many of EA fans are happy as a pig in slop that EA has finally gone Live. Unfortunately EA\'s online offering is extremely lacking in this particular game. Well maybe not lacking but poorly done. The game is great online, all the game modes are available and there is a ton of people playing so finding a game is never an issue. What is an issue is staying connected, or staying in a room. After every few races people are randomly kicked from Live, or the room the are currently playing in. The menus are also confusing at first. Because EA insisted on using their own servers as part of their online deal the games are broken down into lobby\'s where EA has banks of servers I.E. East Coast, West Coast, Central, France so on and so forth. You can still use the optimatch and quick search features to find a game in any of the lobby\'s. However don\'t plan on making many friends in a particular room because the likeliness that you will play with them for very long is extremely isn\'t high due to the abundence of disconnects and kicks that occur. I don\'t know if its poor net coding or bad servers on EAs behalf, but it has become increasinly frustrating playing with a group of people for a few races, you\'re starting to enjoy yourself and BOOM when the next race finishes you\'re getting kicked out of Live. Another annoyance about the online aspect would be when you start a game of Crash Party and one person drops, the games load time increases 10x\'s what it was, but the worst part is that it goes for every single round. So if you have a Crash Party set for 5 rounds and someone drops the first round you will wait extra long for the rest of the rounds it is extremely annoying. One other thing that is a negative in my book would be the fact that EA has absolutely no plans whatsoever for downloadable content. I certainly hope that they atleast intend to fix the numerous problems with the online experience of this game. If they don\'t address that atleast, I feel many gamers are being let down. This is not something that is only happening to myself. Everyone is experiencing these random disconnects and kicks. These things are so annoying that I\'ve turned the game off due to frustration. Especially when I\'m trying to play with friends.

The visuals of the game are amazing. The frame rate is something out of this world. The speed in which the game runs adds to to challenge. When you have your burnout going the screen blurs and the feeling speed is intense.

The tracks are well down and the enviorments are nice, but you\'re flying by so fast its hard to stop and admire.

The crashing is the best part. When you play Crash Party and cause a huge pile up there is no limit of tires, doors, cars and other debris flying everywhere. Slamming into other cars and the walls will cause sparks to fly . The cars all damage nicely bumpers drag and cause sparks, hoods rip off, doors fall off.

The cars themselves are modeled well. Some you will recognize, others where just drawn up. But the variety is there and you have lots to chose from.

From the sound of the wind rushing by you to the cars smashing into one another the sound effects all fit together nicely. When you are blazing by with your burnout it really feels like your are doing hundred something miles an hour just by the rush of the wind. Yet when you slam into the wall, or the front of a tracker trailer and the car crushing explosion happens you thank god it was only a game.

The music in the game is probably hit or miss for some people. It seems like a mixture of modern alternative with some punk mixed in. The delivery of the music while in a race is similar to that of a radio station with a DJ named Stryker. Stryker quickly makes you hate him with his stupid remarks and repeat comments. Fortunately enough EA did include the ability for custom soundtracks so put in the music that you want.

Make sure the online aspect works right when the game ships. That is my biggest problem with this game as of now.

Overall: 8.4 / 10
Gameplay: 7.8 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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