|Burnout 3 Takedown|
Publisher: EA Games
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-8 and network play
The first Burnout was a tough game. There weren’t many ways of filling your boost bar, and if you crashed you lost it all. You really were on the edge of your seat in every race, as one little mistake meant the difference between finishing first or not finishing at all. The game did suffer from some dodgy collision detection though, and even a minor scrape could end the race for you.
Combine this oversimplification of the use of boost with the fact that there are no longer timed checkpoints, and you have a very easy game. Most times you don’t even have to drive on the wrong side of the road to keep on boosting. If you crash you can now get ”aftertouch takedowns”. By holding the “boost” button during a crash, it goes into slow-motion and you get slight control over your wreck; if you manage to takedown a rival with this it means that you’ll start with a full boost bar when your car is reset, which obviously makes it easier to catch up. However, this doesn’t make Burnout 3 a bad game; far from it. For starters, it’s at least four times bigger than previous games. With over 170 events, it should take you at least 20 hours to unlock everything in the game.
As with all parts of the game, crash mode has changed quite a lot since Burnout 2. In Burnout 2 the crash mode just consisted of you going as fast as you can into a junction and hitting the biggest thing you see. There are now lots of different “power-ups” to collect which will significantly affect the outcome of your crash. There are multipliers; if you want to get gold or make the headlines, you need to get these. Then there are “Heartbreakers” which you really want to avoid. If you collect one, there isn’t really even any point in watching the results of your crash as your score will end up so low, because it halves your total and wipes off any multipliers gained. The most significant is probably the “Crashbreaker” though; essentially it’s a bomb that goes off inside your car. After creating a certain amount of crashes you get to use one with the R2 button, but some levels have additional ones you can activate by hitting them. All of these additions are an improvement to the old crash mode, and make it even more enjoyable, more varied and much less repetitive.
It’s almost like Criterion wanted you to crash a lot, because not only do you have the speed to deal with, but the other drivers are very aggressive, and they seemed to think it would be a good idea to blind you with specular effects and lens flares. For those of you that don’t know, the specular effects here are basically the reflection of the sun off the road, and as most tracks are in the midday sun, there are quite a few points where you can’t even see oncoming traffic, and just have to hope you picked the right lane to drive on. Following the lines on the road marking out the lanes helps a lot here, but sometimes even they get lost in the glare.
As you can see, there is a lot to keep you occupied here, and there should be enough variety to stop it feeling too repetitive. A nice thing they have done is that you are always unlocking things; I can barely remember when I last finished a race and didn’t win anything for it. Something I did find a bit strange though was that you often unlock better cars for a class you don’t even have yet. By the time I was into the Sports, and Super Cars, I had already unlocked some of the best cars in the class.
Multiplayer is great fun, and there are some interesting modes in there. I don’t want to repeat what has already been said in the Xbox review, as it’s identical. Something I should point out though, is that I didn’t have any problems with the game online at all. It seems that the problems online are only with the Xbox version of the game.
Sound-wise, the game is great. Crashes sound impressive, and Dolby Pro-Logic II does a fairly decent job, although separation could be a bit clearer on the rear channels. Gear changes sound excellent, as do some of the engine noises. The music isn’t to my taste at all, and the DJ is annoying, but these are pretty minor. There’s not really anything I can fault the game for aurally otherwise.
Visually the game is jaw-dropping. It is, without a doubt, the best looking racer on the PS2. It’s hard to believe that this level of graphics is possible on the PS2 really, especially when running at 60 frames-per-second for the most part. The sense of speed is incredible, especially with the blur effects they use. Specular effects on the road look superb, (if annoying) there are good looking reflections on the vehicles, and a fair bit of detail in the scenery (although you’re usually going too fast to notice it).
The Burnout series has probably improved and changed more than any other game series has in recent years, and Burnout 3 is definitely worth purchasing. It may not be much of a “racer” anymore, but it sure as hell is good fun.
- The speed!
- You’re always unlocking stuff.
- It looks stunning.
- Not enough “proper” racing for some.
- It’s a bit too easy (although it is long).
- No race replays.