Burnout 3: Takedown
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Burnout 3: Takedown is a racing game developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It is the third game in Criterion's Burnout series. The game was released in September 2004 and drew critical acclaim and a large fanbase. It is one of the highest rated racing games of all time, according to aggregator GameRankings.
Gameplay carries on the high speed gameplay of previous entries in the series, in which players race through various courses, earning boost by driving in oncoming traffic lanes, narrowly avoiding other vehicles, and drifting. The main new addition to the series gameplay is a focus on 'Takedowns', in which players are encouraged to try and take down their opponents by knocking into them and causing them to crash, upon which they are granted an extension to their boost meter. If the player themselves crashes (upon which they will lose some of their boost meter) they can activate Impact Time, which allows them to steer their vehicle in mid-crash towards other vehicles, triggering 'Aftertouch Takedowns'.
There are four main styles of events; Races, which are general races to the finish line against other racers; Time Attack, which tasks players with beating a course within a time limit; Road Rage, in which players must perform as many takedowns as possible against computer opponents without being taken down themselves; and Crash, a unique mode that makes use of the game's new crash mechanics. In Crash mode, players drive their vehicle straight into an intersection with the goal of causing as many vehicles as possible to become involved the wreckage, with the player accumulating 'Crash dollars' for the damage caused. These events are featured in the Burnout World Tour mode, where players progress through numerous events to unlock hidden tracks and vehicles. The game also features local and online multiplayer (online services were shut down on April 15, 2010).
Criterion self-cancelled a reboot of the skateboarding game "Skate or Die" which it had been developing for over twelve months. While bouncing around a few ideas for a stunt based Need for Speed title, tentatively called "Need for Speed Split Second", the Criterion team stopped working with Electronic Arts. However, Bruce McMillan from EA Canada later visited Criterion at their offices in Guildford with a plea for the two companies to find a way to work together somehow. "If you cannot work successfully with big companies like EA, then you have a problem," suggested McMillan, "and if big companies like EA can't work successfully with great developers like Criterion, then we have a problem." McMillan suggested that the two companies repair the relationship, with EA offering to step in as publisher for the next, as yet untitled, Burnout game. A GameCube version was never developed, as the console couldn't support the addition of network play.
A five-lap race demo is still available in Need For Speed: Underground 2, with a demo of Underground 2 available in Burnout. Electronic Arts shut down all network services on April 15, 2010.
Edge noted that, "It still possesses the series’ trademark ability to deliver Tempest-like ‘in the zone’ moments of remarkable intensity unlike any of its contemporaries, but now comes with a confidently revised dynamic, marking this as Criterion Games’ finest hour." Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot stated, "Even if driving games aren't normally your thing, Burnout 3 is still right for you. It's that good. It ranks among the best racing games ever made...An amazing achievement that anyone with a pulse will probably love." Miguel Lopez of GameSpy called the game "the new king of arcade racers. Think about everything that was brilliant about its predecessors -- the whimsical take on the laws of physics, the gorgeous graphics, and the completely insane emphasis on crashing -- and multiply it by ten thousand." IGN editor Fran Mirabella III commented that the game "offers up insane speed, unequaled crash sequences, and a truly new style of gameplay. It has reinvented the wheel, so to speak...Burnout 3 is astonishing. It's one of the best arcade racers I've ever touched." Dale Nardozzi of TeamXbox said, "Even EA haters will be anonymously purchasing Burnout 3: Takedown like it was underage porn contraband, not being able to deny its absolutely addictive offerings."
Non video-game publications also sang praises for the game. Charles Herold of The New York Times gave it critical acclaim and said that it was "nearly flawless, with crisp graphics, a rousing punk-rock soundtrack and smart level design that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is not just the best driving game I have ever played, but one of the best games of any genre this year." Entertainment Weekly's Listen 2 This also gave it a favorable review and said, "The combo of racing and combat is brilliantly addictive. Just don't send us the insurance bill." Alex Porter of Maxim gave it a perfect ten and said: "Easy controls help you play chicken with oncoming traffic at speeds so real, you can practically feel the G-forces pinning your jowls against your ears." Jason Hill of The Sydney Morning Herald gave it all five stars and stated that the game was "polished to perfection" and "faster and more thrilling than any previous racer." However, The Times gave it four stars out of five and called it "an explosively over-the-top romp," while stating that "The graphics are sublime — smooth and detailed even on the increasingly humble PS2, yet with enough gimmickry to make the replays delicious feasts."
In 2015, the game placed 12th on USgamer's The 15 Best Games Since 2000 list.
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