cooldrmoney's Burnout 3: Takedown (Xbox) review

The pinnacle of arcade racing

Blaze a path of destruction and never look back. It's the philosophy behind Burnout 3. There have been vehicular combat games that encouraged slamming opponents before B3, but none had ever done it with such a realized sense of aggression and satisfaction, and none have been able to match it's impact. The blood thirsty addiction to taking out opponents that players develop while playing B3 gives it an edge in the crowded world of arcade racing games, which struggled to find a new icon after the nineties concluded.  

Yet the takedown is only one of many impressive mechanics found in a very strong racing build. This game has a serious sense of speed to match its brutal edge. Boost is constantly earned during the races and it allows for maximum speeds to frequently be met. Drifting rounds out the racing feature set and it is perfectly executed. It's easy to manipulate your cornering as you fishtail around bends. Everything works well together and as you bomb down tracks with opponents hot on your tracks, while opportunities to crash zip by at 100 miles per hour, the sense of absolute control is greatly appreciated. If you do crash, there’s no need to fret, takedown aftertouch gives you an opportunity to change the trajectory of your destroyed vehicle to take others out with you. Frustration easily becomes elation. It’s genius!

The visual front does not disappoint. There is no striking art style to be found as the game strives for a realistic setting for these very unrealistic races. However, the technical merits hold up. While you may find the occasional weak texture or non-polygonal object in the environment, why the hell are you looking there? Stop crashing. While actually racing, the motion blur amplifies the sense of speed and the cars successfully reflect the environment in a manner that still looks impressive 5 years later.

As for the audio, the sound effects get the job done, but the real story here is EA Trax and DJ Stryker. When initially playing the game in 2004, I had a grave disdain for the soundtrack and was fairly indifferent towards DJ Stryker’s predictable hard rock persona. While the indifference has stood the test of time, I have seriously warmed up to the soundtrack. From the bouncy pop-rock and pop-emo to the Vegas-yearning licks of hard rock and garage rock, the soundtrack does a great job of capturing popular rock in 2004. It all remarkably matches the energy of the races and the songs are so damn catchy. I hated this music at the time, but now that it’s safe to give it the nod of approval (and I got over myself), B3’s EA Trax selection has become infused as another shining aspect of the experience.

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Burnout 3. With its 5 year anniversary passing two weeks ago and the aughts coming to a close, I can safely say that it’s the most fun I’ve had with a game this decade.

11 Comments Refresh
Posted by Damien

Without a doubt, this was the best Burnout game.  My brother and I played this for countless hours and it never got old or any less fun.  I much prefer this over Paradise and its open world scheme.

Posted by Eder

I played this on the PSP. AWESOME game. Lots of fun. I didnt like the open world thing of Paradise but whatever.

Posted by calidan777

Yup, this one is a classic.

Posted by jonnyboy

Burnout 3 was easily the best burnout game ever. I only have ever had 2 complaints with it. Firstly EA purchased the game in a finished state from Acclaim and then used it as a bill board (literally) for all their games that year (tiger woods, battlefield, Need for speed underground 2), they also used up precious disc space for a technically inferior demo of NFS underground2 that could have been spent on the main game. Secondly EA wouldn't recognise a decent sound track if it bit them in the arse. The Burnout 3 sound track was terrible as were all other burnout games from then on. Other than that this games is brilliant and should be recognised as one of the greatest games of all time.

Posted by agentboolen

Poor Acclaim, if they only new to promote the 1st 2 games instead of let them get lost on store shelves.  I remember passing on Burnout 1 & 2 when they were at Best Buy for only $10 each!!!  I remember thinking how bad Acclaim games where usually and thought they would suck hard.  But after the 3rd game was so good I searched high and low for 1 & 2 and was able to find the 2nd game and found out it was just as amazing as 3, I'm betting the 1st was also amazing.  Acclaim didn't know they where sitting on a gold mine till they sold it to EA.  This is why higher ups at game companies should be gamers too.  I bet this series alone could have kept Acclaim from going under.

Posted by InvertedForce

While B3 was/is really great, I have to disagree with the comments that say it's better than Paradise. I absolutely love Paradise and the open world aspect that many seem to dislike about it makes it more fun for me, i've had hours of fun just driving around and messing about, not even doing races/objectives. Still, I look back to B3 with fondness as it is the game that got me into the series.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

I loved this game. The Burnout series was the only racing game I could easily get into, because it was so over the top yet simple at the same time.

Posted by thedj93
@jonnyboy: I think that EA did a good job with the NBA Street games. Admittedly it was EA Sports Big, so it was a different direction
Posted by Mordi

Classic game. Used to play this a lot. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Posted by nanikore

Probably the best racing game I've played.

Posted by deathstroke75

totally agree, best burnout game.  i miss crash mode (a real crash mode) and crashbreakers.  my friends and i would play this so much i would honestly see possible crash scenarios on the drive home.

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