Burnout 3: Takedown
It's hard to drive through an intersection without thinking to myself, 'Gee, this would make a great crash junction.'? Fortunately, I've never acted on this impulse, but I haven't needed to. I've had Burnout. Now, with Burnout 3: Takedown, obviously a lucky number, EA has struck absolute gold with this title.
I can't say that you'll strike gold in the very first race, but I can guarantee that, if given any time at all, Burnout 3: Takedown will make it onto the 'oft played' section of your console game shelf. Focusing on both straight up races and crash junctions, it makes good use of its gameplay modes by giving you many different ways in which to compete. From the racing end of things, each of their many modes is well built, played out on massive tracks, with a new boosting system that rewards you for taking risks, but is focused primarily on the takedown, wrecking your opponent's car.
Crashing too has changed. Instead of the thirty or so junctions of old, you've now got one hundred. Instead of the sweet spot that you had to aim for previously, this time you've got the ability to go into 'aftertouch' once you've crashed, and miraculously steer your car while it's crashing, all to the effect of getting precious score multipliers, cash bonuses, and crashbreaker explosions that rip everything up. It's a very different experience, as it's nowhere near as organic, but in the end, it makes for much more even multiplayer, as no one can pull that far ahead too easily.
On the negative, Burnout 3: Takedown's primary weakness is a rubberband AI that is too unintelligent to compete with you on the track, so it's given a teleporting ability that keeps it within six seconds of being behind you. However, to balance that, splash in a bit of Xbox Live support, and you've probably got the coolest multiplayer racing game ever made. In the end, I say it's a great title worth purchasing if you're playing alone, or with friends.