3am: Burned out
TomChick - News - 09/09/04 - Link

Burnout 3 arrived yesterday with a screech and a bullet time crash and some of the most godawful publisher pimping this side of an unskippable "...challenge everything" logo. A fellow named Scott put it best in a post on our forums:
I think I've come to loathe the EA aesthetic. The peppy faux-punk white boy bands croon over their MTV video style credits as I'm driving past billboards for every other EA product known to man. With all the blatant advertisement, I feel like I'm driving in the most exciting McDonald's commercial ever.
I didn't mind driving past giant Mountain Dew and Butterfinger ads in Jet Moto. And I'm kind of okay with McDonalds stands in The Sims Online. I guess I'm even cool with Sam Fisher using a Nokia cell phone. But driving up that switchback in Burnout 3's Waterfront track is too much. Giant billboards for Battlefield: Modern Combat, Tiger Woods 2005 PGA Tour, and Need for Speed 2? I don't think so. But, hey, thanks for taking me out of the game, EA!

Otherwise, Burnout 3 seems like a serviceable follow-up to the last two: all speed, no real finesse, and nothing approaching the same galaxy as convincing physics. Just more stuff going fast and being knocked around. The races are tied together with rubber-banded AI cars and the replays are getting progressively worse: in the first Burnout, you could control the camera during a crash, in the second Burnout, the viewing angle would randomly change during a replay, and now in the third Burnout, you get only one view no matter how many times you watch it. You want to see that semi jack-knife into a city bus? Too bad. Like as not, it's off-camera.

Then there's the squirrelly Xbox Live support. EA finally joins Microsoft's superlative multiplayer matching service and immediately reminds us that they've never been very good at the whole online thing.

If you like arcade racers, this will probably have you giddy with delight. But if you're looking for a game about driving, you'll feel like an art house guy in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. When it comes down to the rubber meeting the road, I'm going to say something I never thought I'd say: I'd rather be playing the latest Test Drive game.



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