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Burnout 3: Takedown (GoinCommando Review)


Have you ever woke up feeling horrible, knowing you’ll have to take the early morning commute to your second rate job, only to have some two-bit business exec cut you off in his Mercedes?  Mad at the world you feel like ramming his $50,000 pride and joy into the side rail and watch his hopes and dreams go plummeting into the river below, to get some much needed satisfaction and revenge.  Road-raged gamers of the world your nirvana has arrived, and the only thing that’s going to de-rail this crazy train will be your bodily fluid build-up, and need for that pesky thing called “food”.



Burnout 3: Takedown takes no prisoners and doesn’t ask questions, it gives you high-adrenaline racing and gorgeous crashes.  The first two games in the Burnout series were decent attempts at gaming magic, but they didn’t make an impact on the racing world of games like the Need for Speed or Gran Turismo series’.  Burnout 3 is essentially made up of five racing modes, Race, Grand Prix, Road Rage, Face-off, and Crash mode.  Race is pretty self-explanatory, Grand Prix is continuation of four races with a certain number of points awarded for each place in the race, Road Rage pits you against an unlimited number of opponents and emphasizes on the games wondrous takedowns, forcing you to crash, or takedown, as many opponents as you can in a three minute time period, and Crash mode, which is possibly the best addition to the gaming world since the double jump, puts you on a single road, wanting you to crash as many cars on that certain road, trying to raise the highest damage costs.


Each mode is full of furious racing in a pure arcade experience.  With the recent bankruptcy of Acclaim, the Burnout series was bought out by the company with abundant cash, (seriously, I think they use C-notes for tissues) EA Games.  Since EA could afford to buy out whole countries at a time, the presentation levels are considerably higher.  The particle effects and damage rendering have been jacked up to amazing levels, showing each and every piece of the cars flying off the cars glistening all the while.  EA obviously had some say in the level of detail for crashes, which is what this latest installment is all about.  Crash mode is the clear advisor in the decision to beef up the damage models.  EA actually hired a Hollywood stunt driver to show them the ropes in how cars bend and break on certain points of impact.  In these days where cars don’t show a scratch in certain racing games, it’s a joy to see twisted metal in such detail.



When you make a decision to take everything that made the first two games great and take it three levels higher, graphics better be a pinpoint of attention for the guys making sure everything is bigger and better than games from the past.  Luckily, these graphics would make even the most uptight gamer swell up with satisfaction when he thrusts his boost and rams into a tanker, resulting in raining metal.  Every little piece of glass and metal fly off and shoot threw the sky with an alarming rate.  Explosions like these look like they were made for a military shooter, not a racing game.  And the lighting effects form passing by streetlights, sun glares, and headlights shine on your car like it was greased in baby oil.  No game on the market looks this good for all platforms, the fact that it’s a racer makes it even more satisfying.


For all the graphic hounds out there who look at every section of the screen while playing looking for small details to exploit on their reviews or to complain to friends will be stunned to see that every aspect of the game is beautiful, and has absolutely no slow-down ever, only when you slow down the game in aftertouch mode.  Skid marks from tires stay on the road for the remainder of the race, and explosions leave charring marks on walls and cars.  The damage modeling is a sight to see, but could bring tears to the eyes of grease monkeys.  Hoods will eventually flip off after repeated damage, and bumpers will hang off the car like Mississippi BBQ hanging off the bone. 



Cars are loud.  Cars are sometimes deafening, sometimes you would like to be deaf while listening to the generic engine sounds, horrible soundtrack, and annoying DJ.  The car sounds definitely aren’t bad, they get the job done, we’ve just heard these sounds in countless racers before.  The rourrrrrrr’s, and eeeeeeeeet’s, of the cars are all here, but instead of some fresh new additions like the rest of the game got, it’s left with recycled audio clips.


The car sounds are understandable, but the bland soundtrack is not.  With great soundtracks in games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Def Jam: Fight for New York, this soundtrack is inexcusable.    If you own more than two pairs of Converse’s, think skateboarding is the best thing since the opening of Hot Topic, and you have a garage band that you know will make it big one day, then you’ll love this soundtrack, for all the others like me, you’d rather listen to a goat regurgitate.


Generic car sounds?  Check.  Punker soundtrack?  Check.  What are we missing?  How about an annoying DJ who spits out cheesy jokes and ignorant comments?  Well what do you know we have that missing piece of the puzzle.  DJ “Stryker”, the MTV bound DJ of Burnout 3 is possibly the most annoying character this side of Toad.  What’s even worse is that his mushroom head or his cute, little pants don’t charm us; no we’re just left with an ego bigger than Denis Leary’s, and a voice no more annoying than an eight year old that sucked in to much helium.  Stryker constantly interrupts the soundtrack (which is actually not so bad), with straight out of the blue stories about him fishing, or him seeing some hot girls with no tan lines.  It’s annoying and extremely out of place.  Luckily there is an option to turn the DJ off, but isn’t that saying something in EA’s confidence in Stryker?


Lasting Appeal:

When it comes to racing games, gamers down want to shell over their dead presidents for a game they’ll finish off in a few days.  Oh no, they want a game that will last them the better time of a month or two.  Burnout 3 exceeds in this category in giving you more than your fill of racing destructive joy.  There are an amazing 173 competitions, addictive multi-player, and online support for both the Xbox and PS2.  Even after you’ve finished the lengthy single-player, and got bored of the multi-player, you can always re-do some of your favorite events.  This is one game that will be keeping you happy for most of the season.



It’s not everyday that we are blessed with such a type of arcade bliss.  Burnout 3 seems to be just what we have been waiting for, EA has been sort of “meh” this year, and this is just the game to restore confidence within their operations.  It’s beautiful, fast-paced, and full of moments that make you proud to be a gamer.  This will be that game that all racers are compared to for the rest of this console generation.  Don’t coast, but blast through the roads to your local store and pick up this game.




-Blake Becker (GoinCommando)