How to improve on the fast paced arcade racing thrill machine that is Burnout 2? Make it faster paced, with more emphasis on assaulting your opponents. Bigger, bolder, brasher - Criterion's relocation to EA doesn't seem to have done them any harm as of yet, with Burnout 3 retaining all the simple fun that has made the series what it is today. Early impressions do suggest, however, that less emphasis is placed on the racing and more on taking your opponents down (cunningly entitled 'Takedowns' in the game) - whether this will dilute the experience to a Destruction Derby-lite experience remains to be seen, but so far it is a hell of a lot of fun.
'So far it is a hell of a lot of fun'
The one lap demo doesn't give too much away, but seems to be the perfect example of putting across the modifications made to the new game. From the moment you set off the opportunity to slam opposing drivers into the nearby wall presents itself, and if you feel the need to do so you are rewarded with a slow-mo shot of the recently dispatched car in it's death throes. At first this cut away style takes a bit of getting used to, but once into the system it becomes second nature. Burnouts can still be earned the old fashioned way (dangerous driving, near misses etc), but massive boosts are awarded for attacking other racers. This does seem to unbalance the game a little, seemingly with too much emphasis on aggression and less on skilful driving. The coming months will tell whether this is a hindrance or not.
We are yet to play any of the online modes the game offers on both Playstation 2 and Xbox, but rest assure we will cover them and more in our review near the games mid-September release.