The only thing I look forward to more in life than a new Spider-Man movie is a new Burnout game. My first taste of Burnout came when I was working in a games shop and the demo for Burnout 3: Takedown turned up. I spent any and all spare time at work playing that game, and when I got hold of the full version, that was it. I played it before breakfast; I played it after work; I played it any time I could get the use of the television, essentially. I dreamed about Burnout, and occasionally hallucinated about the game while walking down the street. (That, or there are some very dangerous drivers out there.) I was obsessed.
So when Burnout Paradise turned out to be a massive, crushing disappointment, I was somewhat disheartened.
But then I hooked up the PS2 instead of the Xbox 360 and dug out Burnout 3, and everything was okay with the world again! Ignoring my 56 hour save, I’ve started from scratch, and it’s just as much fun as I remembered it. The two Burnout games in between Takedown and Paradise (Revenge and Dominator) are pretty good, but something about them dilutes the pure brilliance of the Burnout franchise, which has never been as potent as it is in Burnout 3. It’s not all just chaos and mayhem, either (though that is a big part of it). No, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from Burnout 3:
– Going at 200 mph around a blind corner on the wrong side of the road will almost certainly end in disaster. It’s occasionally fun to take the risk, though.
– A five second lead is either insurmountably huge (“He’s losing you!”) or terrifyingly small (“He’s right on your tail!”), depending on which side of it you’re on.
– Some cars are heavier than others; some cars are faster than others; and some cars are prettier than others. Some cars have flames painted on the sides. There are uses for all of these, though the pretty ones are significantly less useful for winning you anything.
– If you’re hurtling towards a junction at 200 mph, it’s usually preferable to have some kind of idea which way you want to go before you get there;
– No matter what the event, taking out your rivals always helps.
– Innocent, oblivious bystanders will always come to more harm than those actively and aggressively involved in the game.
– Even when you’ve crashed and burned, you’ve still earned some points.
Profound, right? I think we’ve all learned something today.