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Burnout 3: Takedown
Score: 98%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Criterion
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2 / 2 - 6 Online
Genre: Racing/ Mission-Based Driving/ Online

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics and sound in Burnout 3: Takedown are pretty good - and the music is great; EAís ĎMTV-likeí music system that overlays information about each song when it begins playing works well with Burnout 3, as do the hard-hitting and fast paced songs that were included.

While Iím on the subject of sound, I want to point out that the online component of Burnout 3: Takedown supports the PS2 Headset (a la S.O.C.O.M. and Karaoke Revolution). Using the headset, you can coordinate with your teammates or trash-talk your opponents in-game, and chat with other players while waiting for the game to start. This provides a human element in the game that I highly recommend. However, the quality of the audio via the headset is not consistent. Expect occasional glitches in transmissions.

Where the graphics really shine is in the special effects department. Burnout 3 features a cool effect when you are under a lot of boost - your focus zooms ahead and your peripheral vision blurs out. This really helps to give the impression of great speed. Also in full effect, if you will, are the particle engine effects - when you get banged up a bit or scrape a wall, youíll start to get sparks flying from your car. Get torn up bad enough and youíll get plumes of black smoke coming from the back of your car. (I know - Iíve been there.)

The least realistic part of the game can be some of the results of collisions - and these are simply over the top. Itís possible that we donít see crashes like that because no stunt man could hope to live through one; but they can be breathtaking to watch. And not just breathtaking, but...

... Fun! Burnout 3: Takedown takes a less serious look at racing, focusing on extreme speed and maximum collateral damage, things that have always captivated the human mind and filled us with awe, but things that are inherently dangerous in real life. Thatís where the fact that this is a video game comes into play. In other words, donít try this at home. However, the game itself is unbelievably fun.

If you find that Gran Turismo lacks the violence youíre looking for, and Grand Theft Auto lacks the competitive racing factor that you desire, then Burnout 3: Takedown is the game youíre looking for. Burnout 3 basically adds Demolition Derby concepts to road racing. Your goal is not only to win the race, but literally Takedown as many enemies as you can in the process. In Crash mode, youíre not racing at all, but trying to cause the biggest wreck you can; your score is measured in collateral damage caused to vehicles on the road - including your own!

The progression in Burnout 3 seems to be well planned. Doing well in one event opens another. You can choose to progress in the racing circuits or the Crash circuits, and you arenít required to progress in one before you can progress in the other. This is important, as different players may have different preferences.

Although the game has its difficult-to-master skills, the game maintains its entertainment value as you play. Plus, if you get frustrated, you can always play some of the other races or crash areas to practice your skills. J.R. Nip, Psibabe and I played this one together for a while and it didnít get turned off until 3:00 in the morning. Frustrating games donít get that kind of play time on my PS2 - well, not consecutive hours, anyway.

ďGame Experience May Change During Online Play.Ē
- ESRB Rating box, Burnout 3: Takedown.

What does that have to do with the difficulty? Lots. When you start playing with other people instead of the A.I., youíll find that the difficulty is less consistent. Some players will be much better than you, others will be worse than you. Some will have special tricks and strategies, others wonít know the rules of the game. Luckily, the Online Lobby and game staging screens offer a chance to see what the competition is like - you can view others' profiles to get a feel for how they play and see what their ranking is to determine how their skill level is likely to compare with yours. The online component offers both racing and crashing modes, so youíre likely to find an online game thatís right for you; but if thereís not a game currently being played of the type you want, choose Create game instead of Join game and you can set up a new game for others to join. This also lets you set limitations, such as how many players can join the game, what types of vehicles they can use, and what rank levels are allowed. If youíre trying to play against others of your skill level, this might be a good option for you.

Game Mechanics:
Everything in Burnout 3: Takedown works. Well.

The only complaint I could have for the experience overall would be that there were some strange things that occurred while playing online. One time the game seemed to lock up while trying to authenticate, and twice it seemed that all of the games were wiped from the server at the same time. This may have been due to maintenance or something, as I was playing in the middle of the night, but at any rate, it only lasted for a very short while.

Burnout 3: Takedown is a very polished game with a lot to offer for gamers who love extreme speed and Ďsplosions. I highly recommend it as an addition to any racing gamerís PS2 library.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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