Burnout 3: Takedown
dev. Electronic Arts
Now available on Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube.

You're driving fast. Really. fast. The scenery is a blur, your fellow racers merely speed bumps. 160 mph... 170 mph... 180 mph. At any given moment you might fly out of control, and when that happens: CRASH. Your car, some souped-up hatchback or immaculate muscle car, will sail into the air, glass shattering, the vehicle rebounding off a tanker into incoming traffic, where there will be more crashes, and more shattering.

This is Burnout 3: Takedown, and if you've found racing games boring in the past--since most of them are boring--this is the game for you. It's the game that lets you do exactly what you want to do: drive outrageously fast and crash with absurd abandon. If you place first, so much the better. If you don't make it to the finish line, that's fine. The risk is what you're really after, and risk, along with beautiful graphics and tight controls, is what Burnout 3 has to offer.

What it also offers is the most honest of all racing game modes, the Crash Mode, wherein your only goal is to drive as fast as you can into traffic, crash, and then sit back as the game tabulates the amount of damage you've done. It's a completely indefensible experience--troubling, to be sure, given the number of kids who will devour it again and again (and then one day get behind the wheel on their own)--but it's also ridiculously fun and addictive. The sight of car upon car screeching to a crashing halt and trucks jack-knifing and buses tipping over is exceedingly satisfying to experience, and offers a perfect example of what all video games are for: Doing the shit you could never do in real life, without annoying consequences like personal injury or, you know, death.

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