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About time they made a 3rd!,
This review is from: Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) (Video Game)
Ever since OPSM2 (Official Playstation Magazine 2) played Burnout 3 at E3, they've been praying daily to the gaming gods for more hands-on time. Barely a month later it's here - and looking like the best Burnout yet.
Their early preview version contains ten events, neatly split between races of various types and the so-far unseen Crash mode. Today we'll be looking at the races, and all that's new about them; come back tomorrow to discover the new, improved (and heavily expanded) Crash mode.
Crash and learn:
Burnout 3 is absolutely massive. Try wrapping your racing goggles around this: 168 game events, racing 67 vehicles over 40 tracks on three continents - North America, Europe and Asia. Think back to Burnout 2: Point of Impact and you'll realise Burnout 3 is roughly three times its size. They haven't even talked about the online modes yet, either...
In single player though, you'll battle with other racers throughout seven game modes. And we do mean battle; in fact, i'd better talk about what makes Burnout 3 a little different from other racers before i go on.
If the first two Burnouts were about driving dangerously in traffic, Burnout 3 is about driving aggressively. You still need to drive into oncoming traffic and narrowly miss other cars in an effort to fill your Boost Bar, but you're also now free to sideswipe, ram and shunt your way to victory. In fact, it's encouraged. In fact, it's positively essential if you want to win.
Getting boost has always been core to the Burnout series, but in Burnout 3 the whole game revolves around it. When you hit another car, even if you just 'trade paint', you steal some boost - how much depends on how much damage you inflicted. If they return the favour, you'll lose some boost too; as a result, we quickly found, you start to drive tactically.
If you think a genteel shunt is the worst you can inflict on a rival car in Burnout 3, you're dead wrong. Apply enough velocity at the right point, and they'll crash - spectacularly, of course - in what Burnout 3 calls a 'takedown' (hence the game's subtitle). Causing a rival to total their ride results in you thieving their entire boost, earning yourself another segment of Boost Bar (up to a maximum of four) in the process.
Conversely, if you get rammed off the road by an opponent (and believe us, you will do), you'll lose any extra Boost Bar segments, and feel like you're driving Miss Daisy in the process. But don't just sit back and mope as your car is reduced to component parts; keep your finger pressed on R1, because you'll witness one of Burnout 3's (after)touches of genius.
Remember how sometimes you just wanted the crashes in Burnout or Burnout 2 to be over, so you could get back in the race? Well, in Burnout 3 that all changes - crashes now affect your gameplay, and not just because of your Boost Bar.
Crash in Burnout 3, press R1, and the game slows to a crawl, letting you admire the much improved deformations as your car is turned into metal confetti, while listening to haunting, elongated music. This is called 'Impact Time', and although it's optional (release R1 at any time, and your crash snaps back to normal speed) while it's happening, you can use the left analog stick to steer your car.
No, not steer it like a steering wheel, but actually guide the direction of your crash. This is vital, because with some careful manoeuvring you can move your wreck in front of another racer's car. Do it right, make them crash and - voila! - your takedown is now their problem. If you're going down, take 'em with you, i say.
This subtle post-crash movement is called 'aftertouch' and, like Impact Time, it isn't just a clever gimmick to make Burnout 3's trademark crashes more interesting. Both of these features totally change the way the game plays, especially in Crash mode - as you'll see tomorrow - and when playing online... well, i'll leave that to your imagination.
Don't blink and drive:
I've spent this much time explaining the new stuff in Burnout 3 because you should know that it isn't just a prettier Burnout 2 - although the visuals, believe it or not, are much better. Burnout 3 is a whole new game that actually plays subtly different than its predecessors. We found that out, of course, by trial and error as we crashed headlong into the four different race modes in our preview copy.
The only available Road Rage race takes place in the high speed underpasses, traffic-choked avenues and perilous bridges of Downtown, and forces you to takedown as many opponents as possible before the time limit expires or you completely trash your own car. Burning Lap is old school Burnout, forcing you to drive as dangerously as you can against the clock over one lap without the Boost Bar benefits generated by having other opponents to takedown.
It's only in the included Single Race tracks and the three-event Race GP that everything - takedowns, Aftertouch, Impact Time - comes together to form the unique Burnout 3 racing experience.