Here's my question: Was Burnout intended to be a racing game or a traffic accident simulation? Combining these two elements created a somewhat interesting product, and Peter is accurate in saying this marriage sets up a solid foundation. And the result? A building that looks amazing, but is as structurally sound as a house of playing cards.
Placing heavier emphasis on creating vehicular mayhem was, like Peter said, a questionable decision—this is a racing game, not a demolition derby. Getting into wreck after wreck is bad enough when you have to sit through the replay footage, but it's a nightmare to see the opposing cars feeding you dirt. In addition, there's no abort button, costing valuable seconds of race time in the process. And despite looking cool for a while, they eventually feel like a Sominex overdose. It's a good thing that the drone racers are just as vulnerable to ramming into unwitting drivers as you are.
But saying that "accidents are unavoidable" is a hefty exaggeration on Peter's part. Granted, there are times where colliding into an 18-wheeler (among and including others) was inevitable. Having gained some experience, reducing the number of crashes per race was common practice.
Placing these abstract pieces of metallic art to the side of the road, Burnout was an enjoyable ride, and Peter nailed the positive aspects on the head. Despite that, the final impression Burnout left on me was that it was its own traffic accident: Curious onlookers will give it due attention when they come across it. Just as many are likely to pass it up as if it were nothing.
Disclaimer: This review is based on the GameCube version of the game.