Traditional racing games get rear-ended by “Burnout 3:
Takedown,” the latest title in which crashes are key and
superior driving is an afterthought. The “Burnout”
series has always prided itself on the high-speed-arcade style
racing and its spectacular crashes. Simplistic controls fit the
arcade style, but gamers find its lack of sophistication a
letdown.

TV/New Media Reviews
Further proving that Germans love David Hasselhoff. (Courtesy of EA)

Most of the time is spent in traditional racing with a
destructive twist. Dangerous activities earn racers a bonus
“boost,” which allows cars to drive along at even more
manic speeds. It’s not too difficult to keep the bar filled
and the best drivers will never take their fingers off the boost
button as long as they have some to spare. Winning races and
circuit tours will open up new locations and vehicles. The controls
are responsive and since only a few buttons are used, no one should
have trouble picking up “Burnout.”

Along with racing modes, progressing through the one-player game
will open crash challenges, in which the object is to cause as much
damage as possible. Each event is set in small section of a race
track. A flyby of the area at the beginning of each challenge
reveals traffic patterns and powerups along the path. As the car
begins to crash, control it through the air or across the ground to
grab point multipliers and smash into as many other vehicles as
physically possible.

Additional mayhem can be found in the multiplayer modes.
Challenge a friend to a race or see who can be first to rack up 10
takedowns in a demolition-derby-style setting.

As is standard with most arcade racers, the game’s physics
are not altogether realistic. For example, a single car may be able
to plow through a row of five semi-trucks, but if it hits a light
post, it stops dead in its track and explodes.

Mediocre pop-punk makes up the majority of the soundtrack, which
will cause some gamers to rejoice even as others will cringe. But
once the racing action kicks in the soundtrack becomes moot.
Players will not be able to ignore the horribly annoying narrator
who gives his two cents before and even during races. Once he shuts
up, screeching tires and crunching metal sounds take over the
stereo and all is well in the world.

“Burnout 3” has visually appealing graphics and
detailed racecourses that look good even when racing at high
speeds. The look really shines during giant pileups as each car is
torn apart piece by piece, leaving only a trail of the carnage.
Besides the image of a completely destroyed car (which basically
looks like a lump of coal) and overly shiny effects on cars, this
game has top notch visuals. “Burnout 3” is great fun,
although it might just be worth a rental until the price drops
below $50.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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