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Players 1-2 (2-8 online)
Custom Soundtrack
In-game Dolby Digital
HDTV 480p
Online Multiplayer
Scoreboard
Friends
Voice

Da Introduction

Criterion Games has made a solid reputation by producing the well known middleware graphics engine

Burnout 3: Takedown

 

Burnout 3: Takedown

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Xbox
Category: n/a
 
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Players 1-2 (2-8 online) Custom Soundtrack In-game Dolby Digital HDTV 480p Online Multiplayer Scoreboard Friends Voice Da Introduction Criterion Games has made a solid reputation by producing the well known middleware graphics engine ‘Renderware' and licensing it to other developers. They also have a reputation for developing the solid racing series Burnout. EA has recently released the 3rd instalment titled Burnout 3: Takedown. This newest incarnation finally takes the series online and with all the enhancements that have been added to the game you will find yourself sitting in front of your Xbox with controller in hand for extended periods of gaming. Da Graphics Hands down this is the fastest racer that I have ever had the pleasure of playing on the Xbox console, let alone any console I have owned. Criterion, the developer of this game, has managed to lock this game at a sweet 60 frames per second while providing a huge amount of graphical delights that any gamer will be amazed at. I will admit though that some critics will question the texture quality, or even the polygon count of this game, however it is this reviewers opinion that this game does so much with the power of the Xbox that even the harshest critic will have to put his/her negativity aside. This is clearly evident while any gamer who is playing hits the front end of an oncoming Winnebago or bus while rounding a corner inside a tunnel. The particle effects produced and damage that each vehicle receives is just downright amazing. It is also noted that the level of graphic detail does not diminish when playing split screen either. The only note that nay-sayers will flaunt is that the framerate seems to be lowered from 60 to 30 frames per second but the sense of speed and all the bells and whistles in terms of ‘eye-candy' that this game displays is clear and evident with two racers on one screen. For those videophiles out there, this game supports 480p (HDTV) as well as widescreen. I enjoy of playing on an 80 inch widescreen (front projector) and this game just looks as amazing on it as it does on my regular 32 inch TV. However, the 16x9 mode does not fill the whole screen and seems to be at a ratio of 14x9 more than 16x9. This has been evident in other games and seems to be done as a way to maintain a high frame rate. For those who have the ability to fully adjust their overscan it may be possible to fill the whole screen but I myself just don't want to play with the internal settings of my projector. Regardless, Criterion made sure that everyone from a regular TV user to those with Rear and Front Projection Displays get an amazing picture. Da Sound Criterion and EA have made sure that the sound accompanying the graphics fully pulls those who play the game into the atmosphere of high speed racing. Utilizing Dolby Digital, this game sounds just as amazing as it looks. And for those who just have regular Stereo sound (or even TV Speakers) it still sounds pretty good. What is very evident in the sound department are the effects of speeding by all the traffic, regardless of which direction it is (e.g. oncoming). The sounds of just missing the various of vehicles is so clear that I really got the feeling I had just missed hitting any one of the vehicles that are found on any one of the racetracks. I was also amazed to hear the sounds of differing sound of being tunnels, canyons and underpasses (e.g. echoes) as well as many other environmental effects. As for the soundtrack EA has consistently provided popular tracks in all their games and Burnout 3 continues that trend. That being said, I do note that the majority of the songs seem to target those who listen to top 40 alternative rock radio stations. The option for customizable sound tracks is available so feel free to utilize this feature. I know that when I get the time I plan to sit down with my CD collection and put in some rockin' tunes. Da Gameplay Burnout 3 is truly a game that I have trouble pulling myself away from. Even as I write this review I find myself drawn to walk away from my compouter, turn on my Xbox and play some more of what is no doubt one of the greatest arcade racers I have ever played. It is one of the easiest games to pick up and play and its addictive quality will keep any gamer coming back for more. I cannot put my finger on what this magnetism is, but once any gamer starts to play this game they themselves will understand where I am coming from. As with any racer, there are numerous modes to choose from and Burnout 3 is no exception. There is the World Tour Mode (career) which is where most of the game is played offline. It is non-linear allowing anyone to go anywhere once they start to play. The game begins with a few compact series cars. As races and crashed are completed and gold, silver or bronze medals are awarded, more cars and features open up. This ranges from straight on racing to the now famous Crash mode. The more one plays the varying modes in the World Tour mode, the more they will open even more race track and crash locations in the USA, Europe and Far East. For those purists who want to have licensed cars in every racing game they play Burnout 3 does not have any official licenses. There is no doubt that racing fans will recognize the basic shapes of the vehicles they will acquire, however no official licensed names accompany any of the vehicles in the game. When not playing the World Tour mode, there is the option for any one of the modes found to be played as a single event. The single events are Race (self explanatory), Time Attack (again self explanatory), Road Rage (make rivals crash to beat the track takedown record) and the now famous Crash mode (create traffic carnage and beat the crash dollar record). New to the Crash and Racing modes is the addition of the ‘aftertouch' button where once a crash is initiated the gamer presses the ‘A' button to slow down time (a la matrix) and the vehicle's crash path can be controlled. This allows for many different crashes and opens up new possibilities for earning big dollars each and every time. This ‘aftertouch' is also available while racing. This occurs when your car is either ‘taken out' by another vehicle or you crash into something on the track. You can then steer the wreckage into an oncoming opponent's vehicle taking them out in the carnage. This adds a little more to an already great gameplay style. An unfortunate omission in this games impressive repertoire is the lack of any save replay. The replay mode itself is already marginal as you cannot replay races and there is no adjustable camera during what replay is available. The decision not to allow the gamer to save any of their replays during the Crash mode is a sad spot indeed. How I would like to have the ability to save some of my greatest moments during a well executed crash to show all my fellow gaming friends. Oh well, maybe in next year's version. Multiplayer mode is available in both off and online flavours. Offline is two players only with the main modes being Race, Time Attack, Road Rage and Crash. The game is pretty impressive during the offline multiplayer and the game remains relatively the same, including the on track traffic, except for the earlier noted change in frame rate from 60 to 30 frames per second. The online mode in Burnout 3 is a mixed bag. The modes playable are the same ones offered during offline multiplayer, the only major difference being that online you can play with up five other people in Road rage and Race and you can play seven or eight other people during Crash mode. There are the regular hosting modes for online so if someone is being a turd, the host can kick them off. You can change game types and vehicle types during the game without having to open up a new game as well as talk during the loading screens too. Most of you reading this are wondering why I am of the opinion that the online mode is a mixed bag. Well, this has to do with the overall performance when being online. As many Xbox fanatics are aware, EA is new to the Xbox Live arena. The difference with EA and other game companies who have made games utilizing Xbox Live is that EA games are not played on Microsoft's servers. Instead, after signing in through Xbox Live, the gamer is redirected to EA's servers prior to playing and the game is played on their internal servers. This seems to be the downfall for this game at this point, even though it seems to be slowly getting better. There are many issues of friend lists not showing up, not being able to join a friend's game or even being dropped from games on a regular basis due for no apparent reason (as Alucardblack and I can attest to). EA has publicly noted that they are addressing the problem, but nothing has been officially announced as to what they are doing to fix these bugs. Patience is to be had when playing this game online and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I do not see to many more problems with the online play. Da Conclusion Overall EA and Criterion Games have provided Xbox owners all over the world with another must buy title. With amazingly addictive gameplay, fabulous graphics, astonishing speed and enjoyable online gameplay (when EA's servers are cooperating) one cannot help but not want to play this title all the time. This reviewer's extended gameplay only confirms this fact. Burnout 3: Takedown has definitely earned it's stripes and it easliy falls into the prestigeous category of the coveted Dagameboyz Players Choice Award.





 
 

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