Burnout caught the attention of gamers when it was first revealed a couple of years ago, mainly due to the sheer speed at which the Renderware engine was allowing your car to move through some densely packed urban areas. Fortunately everything which made the first two games in the franchise great, has been kept in Burnout 3: Takedown - and improved upon.
Crashes are now bigger and better, and you can control your fate by "steering" the cars path through the carnage as you try and rack up extra bonus points, whilst attempting to just clip a multiplier bonus or crashbreaker to further boost your score.
The big addition to the third game in the series is the Takedown bonus, which requires you to slam your opponents in to oncoming traffic or force them off the road in to trackside objects such as walls - each Takedown bonus gives you Burnout points which lead to higher spec vehicles being unlocked and the best takedowns make it in to a novel but somewhat pointless photo album.
A fair number of large sprawling tracks are available for both multi-lap races and specific crash locations, set in varied locations such as great American lakes and European cities - more often than not clad with roadside advertising for the likes of EA's Tiger Woods 2005 at almost every turn.
However everything that the game manages to achieve in the offline mode is blown to pieces when you go online, due to Electronic Arts atrocious attempt to implement Xbox Live, with some modes only allowing two players or forcing you to all attempt crashes in a single-player style way without being able to see your opponents crashes happening in realtime.
The online features are hampered further by the fact that you can only send text based messages to friends using an on-screen keyboard, which takes an age to type messages instead of short voice messages as supported by Xbox Live 3.0, and there's no way to restrict rooms to "friends only" meaning you'll have to decide on a password before launching a room - which itself can only be joined when a race isn't in action, where as almost all other titles on Xbox Live allow players to join the lobby and wait.
On top of this you'll need to decide if you are going to run in 50Hz or 60Hz from the Xbox dashboard before going online, as you can only play other gamers who are running the game at the same refresh rate, which instantly adds confusion for gamers who have friends running the game on a television with a different refresh rate but can't join them.
Burnout 3: Takedown clearly builds on the success of the previous two titles, and offers some excellent gameplay at frighteningly fast speeds, but the awful use of the Xbox Live features and limiting aspects to the online Crash modes leaves little to be desired from what is ultimately a mediocre racer.Overall score: 5 out of 10
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Recommended Price: £39.99
Available: NowBuy Burnout 3: Takedown for the Xbox from Amazon