Throw away everything you thought you knew about the Burnout series — this is a new breed. I have been uber excited to get my hands on Burnout Paradise since I heard about the open gameplay it offers. It might make you a bit confused at first, but stick with me here — the more you play, the more you will appreciate its complexity. The concept of BP is that you can roam around Paradise City, finding new roads, making killer jumps and smashing through gates, all in between events. You still have the familiar comfort of competing in race after race after event if you wish, but now you have over 200 miles of roads to explore in addition to all the awesome challenges that Burnout is known for. There's a lot to cover, so keep reading to find out what I thought was good, bad and totally awesome about Burnout Paradise.
The Good: The events in Burnout Paradise are still completely satisfying. Start by burning rubber at a stop light at one of over 120 intersections in the city. Marked Man and Stunt Run are new, while the Classic Race, Road Rage and Burning Route are familiar and even more intense now that you have so many streets to navigate to get to the finish line. You can even jump online with up to seven other players and compete in challenges together. Online play is easy, and even more geeky if you have a Playstation Eye or Xbox Vision Cam to see (and hear) each other while taking them down.
To see more about what I didn't like about the game, read more
The Bad: Although Burnout has amazing (and seamless) online capabilities, unfortunately only one local player is allowed in this town. You can still race with your buds, but they gotta stay home and have their own copy of the game. . . Bummer! Another thumbs down is the soundtrack. Although the track list is long – with artists like N.E.R.D. and Avril, since both the Xbox 360 and PS3 are media players, I would rather listen to my own tunes that I have stored there.
The Awesome: Burnout offers something that other racing games out there can't: Free will. I love the fact that I can take on a challenge, and then decide I want to go and explore the mountains, ending up finding miles and miles of unmapped roads, jumps and billboards to smash through. Plus, when you've hosted online play, you can create your own custom races from start to finish from anywhere on the map. And don't think that they skimped on the visuals in place of a sprawling city. Checking out the sights distracted me more than once while I was competing and led to a less than favorable race finish. The slow motion crashes show you just how dedicated the developers were to keeping you glued to the screen, even when your car is mangled.
Overall, this is one game that has major play value, and I'm it sure will be taking over my console for weeks to come. Burnout Paradise is now available for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Get it online or in stores.