Every week on Balls.ie we like to celebrate the best of the 2000s with our Noughties Tuesday content, and when it comes to noughties video games it doesn't get much better than Burnout 3: Takedown.
Released in 2004, Burnout 3 was the perfect mixture of skill and mayhem. It took the best elements of straight up racing games and mixed them with the madness of the likes of Destruction Derby and Grand Theft Auto. Casual gamers and purists alike loved it. The reviews were incredible.
"The new king of arcade racers," said Game Spy. "Think about everything that was brilliant about its predecessors -- the whimsical take on the laws of physics, the gorgeous graphics, and the completely insane emphasis on crashing -- and multiply it by ten thousand."
As featured on metacritic, the Official U.S. Playstation Magazine review said "If you don't like Burnout 3: Takedown, there's something wrong with you...It has completely spoiled me, making it near impossible to enjoy other games in the genre." Even The New York Times were fawning over it "Takedown is nearly flawless, with crisp graphics, a rousing punk-rock soundtrack and smart level design that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is not just the best driving game I have ever played, but one of the best games of any genre this year."
Developed by Criterion Games, the first couple of Burnout games were fine in their own right but it was the third instalment that captured the imagination. The game modes were incredibly fun and extremely addictive. There was straight-up racing, where you'd recieve speed boosts the more you destroyed opponent cars, as well as the more 'Cause as much damage as possible' modes of 'Road Rage' and 'Crash'.
As Game Informer put it, the graphics and slo-mo replays transformed every crash into "a work of art fit to be framed and hung on the walls of Paris' Louvre museum." With every takedown your meter would go up as you tried build a takedown streak into a "Takedown Rampage." All these terms seem ridiculous on paper but My God they were addictive. Of course you were as susceptible to a "Psyche Out" or "Wall Takedown" as anyone else but even when that happened it gave you the chance for payback and that tremendously pleasing "Takedown Avenged!"
The game scooped numerous awards, with both the official US Playstation and Xbox magazines crowing it their game of the year in 2004, but the fact it's still so fondly remembered over 15 years on is the true indicator of its brilliance. Burnout 3 was far from the most realistic racing game but it may just have been the most fun. And at the end of the day, isn't that what gaming is all about?