If you've been following my blog the past couple years, then you'll already know how much of a Burnout fan I am. The series is fantastically cool.
Now... I played Burnout Revenge all the way through on the original Xbox. I didn't spend time getting every single gold medal, but I did play through to Elite status and acquiring almost every single car. Burnout: Takedown was my crazy get-all-medals playthrough. A couple months ago, I played the Xbox 360 version of Revenge, and the gameplay was just the same as the original Xbox game. The graphics are tuned up, and the sound is better, but the game is the same.
I would characterize the Burnout series as a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat game. There is no way you can just sit back and roll through the tracks. The game is FAST. Way, way fast. One little pixel shows up on the screen, and you have know "car coming up!" and start to steer. You relax for just one second? You're toast. Of course, the car crashes in Burnout are stupendous. Nothing like it anywhere else, so this isn't a Bad Thing... but it does mean that you're going to lose that tight race.
The controls are a bit forgiving, so I wouldn't call this a "technical racer" or a "simulation"... it is all about having fun. Fun on adrenaline, mind you, but lots of fun. The various play modes and crashes are crazy. This game is about getting in your car and moving. Sliding around corners, bashing into your opponents, finding shortcuts, dodging oncoming traffic, and more. Getting out on the streets and zooming as fast as possible, for as long as possible, until you twitch just a bit too late and go up in a flaming ball of car parts.
I think that I like Burnout: Takedown a bit better. In Revenge, you can plow into the backs of cars which are moving in the same direction. It will slow you down, so you don't want to do this all the time, but the problem is that it makes it a bit too forgiving. The crash mode is also not quite as cool: you can't get a replay and move the camera around to see what is going on, and how you can improve for another try. Blowing crap up is always awesome, but they lost a bit in the crash mode, I think. But these little issues are like complaining about that small scratch on the front bumper of your car... in the bigger picture, it is totally moot.