Why did it take so long?
So lastnight I picked up Burnout 3. After loving Burnout 2 (Director's Cut) I decided that Burnout 3 would be mine, oh yes, it would be mine.
I bought my copy from the local GameStop near my office and contemplated what I would do for the next 4 hours of work until I was able to play. I decided to sleep.
So here is my short little review:
I haven't seen a game this gorgeous in a long time. Critereon is mostly known for their middleware software called Renderware. It's used quite often in a lot of products. In some ways I think Burnout 3 is a good exampe of what their middleware can do. Framerates are high and colors pop off the screen. More then that everything just looks great. Cars get destroyed in realistic manners. One of my beefs against PGR2 was that your cars only got slightly hurt, even after going head-on into a wall at 200mph. Sparks fly, panels come off, things explode. I like it when things go boom. Everything about this game is gorgeous. Best yet, they did a good job on the courses, to the point where you don't really need a map to know what's coming up. The first few times you race a course you might take a turn wrong, but for the most part they are marked well.
The sound track is good, including some well known bands and pretty good songs. It's a sort of punk rock soundtrack so don't expect your EA Sports type tunes coming out of your TV. I have to admit though, I don't care too much about sound in games, so I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention.
This game is more addicting then crack. Between the crash, takedown, and race modes there is something here for everybody. I really loved the crash mode in Burnout 2, but the roadrage/takedown mode is my new favorite. This is where you race around a course as many laps as you survive, trying to make the other racers crash. The game is over when you crash too many times and wreck your car. This is especially fun since Critereon added a new slow-mo shot of the takedown happening. For example, let's say you are going 150 down the Chicago-like city, racing under the "L" with another car and you smash into the side of him, throwing him into a train pillar, the game goes into a slow-mo type mode and pans over to your enemies car as it crashes into the pillar. Very rewarding, very visceral, very addicting!
I have always considered this the "sleeper" catagory, not because it's boring, but because this can easily make or break a game. For example, I think UT 2004 got better ratings because it's presentation is nearly flawless, from the box, to the menus, everything, 100% perfect. This catagory includes all those other things that go into a game. Things like the menu system. Why do I mention the menu system, because I HATE it in Burnout 3. It's not all together horrible. For the most part they got things right, but there are a few nagging concerns that really get under my fingernails. First off, when you restart a race it reloads the level. I don't understand why this needs to be done. No new data needs to be loaded into memory if you "restart" a crash race or whatever, but it does it anyway. I hate load times, they suck. In Burnout 3 the load times are short, so this doesn't kill it for me, but it does piss me off.
The other thing that upsets me is the lack of real cars. Instead of the "Ferrari Enzo" like you get in PGR2, you get "American Custom Muscle" or some other generic crap like that. The cars look good, and it's easy to tell what they modeled each off of, but in the end it's a sore spot for me. I want to drive a Nissan Skyline at 150mph into a semi truck, not "Japanese Muscle".
This isn't the greatest game I've played, but it's definetly the best arcade racing game I've seen in years, possibly ever. If you enjoy Nascar for the wrecks, if you loved just driving around in GTA3 and going off of jumps or wrecking the car, or if you want a racing game that gives up realism for 100% fun, then Burnout 3 is a must buy.
Now, back to donkey punching my silicone fuck doll