Nothing tops Burnout 3: Takedown, and nothing ever will
17 years on and still nothing can top this classic racing game. Find out exactly what made it special.
We recently brought you our picks for the best racing games of all-time. Within that, there were two separate categories, sim and arcade racers.
Despite stiff competition from the likes of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, we gave the title of GOAT arcade racer to Burnout 3: Takedown.
Why is this game so special though? For those that never experienced this masterpiece in its heyday, we’ve got you covered!
Burnout 1 and 2 were both great arcade games and they did their job well. They encouraged dangerous driving like going up the wrong side of the motorway to earn boost, which was basically NOS.
What made Boost so different though was that the limit of how much you could have changed depending on whether you were taking out your opponents or being taken out yourself.
Burnout 3 though, perfected the formula by adding its now-famous Takedown feature.
Takedown allowed you to crash out your opponents by crashing them into walls, other cars or via the classic “signature takedowns”. These included types such as “Gone Fishing” when you crashed their car into the ocean.
When you hit the boost button, the sense of speed was incredible, games today still struggle to match this. Similarly, the crunching noise of cars being destroyed was spine-chillingly realistic.
There was even a game mode “Road Rage” that gave you the target of wrecking as many cars as possible before either the time ran out or your car cried Uncle.
Burnout 3’s best quality though, is that it’s so fun and playable. Anybody could pick this up now and have a good time. Even the graphics don’t look bad these days despite this game approaching 20 years old.
Oozing with nostalgia
Released in 2004 for the PS2 and original Xbox, this was at the end of arcade racing’s golden era.
Yes, great arcade races were released after Burnout 3, but you could never imagine playing NFS: Most Wanted nor Burnout Paradise on a classic arcade cabinet.
Burnout 3 would’ve fit into an arcade perfectly and all the kids would’ve been sinking their 20p coins into it.
The soundtrack was perfect, just like most of EA’s games from this era. Bands like Fall Out Boy, Franz Ferdinand and My Chemical Romance filled the airwaves as you tore around city streets and the open country.
Speaking of the airwaves, we can’t forget about DJ Stryker on Crash FM, who kept you company through the game’s incredible World Tour.
Crash mode was the most gloriously ridiculous game mode in Burnout 3 though. You basically had to play ten pin bowling, but instead of pins, you had cars and you had to crash your ride in a specific way to get the gold medal.
There was real skill involved here, it wouldn’t be out of place to take an hour getting a high score on a stage.
In addition, there were the classic race and time attack modes, but even these were special, as the environments you raced around were some of the most varied and detailed available at the time.
Burnout 3 is that good at encapsulating the mid-2000s that it could be used to show what this era was like in the future.
Could we see a remaster?
With Criterion’s involvement with the Need for Speed series and there not being a new Burnout game in ten years, this seemed like a pipe dream. However, Burnout Paradise was recently remastered, something fans had been crying out for years.
Furthermore, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was also remastered last year. It appears as though EA is going through Criterion’s catalogue of games and giving them a fresh coat of paint.
If we do get a remastered version though, it would have to be a ground-up effort. As good as the Paradise and Hot Pursuit remasters are, they are just a retexturing of the originals.
This can work with a PS3/ 360 game, but a PS2 title would start to show its age on PS5.
GTA V trailer
Something that popped onto our radar recently was that someone in the GTA V community recreated Burnout 3’s iconic trailer:
This gives us a peek at what a remastered Burnout 3 would look like. It’s likely that Criterion will be focussing all of their efforts on NFS 2021 for the foreseeable future. So, it could be a while off yet.