March 27, 2008

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Burnout Paradise (PS3/360)
Criterion Games, Jan. 22
By Glenn "Longest drift" Given production@hippopress.com

While Iíve never had the urge to mow down a mall of passersbys in a hail of Call of Duty-incited bullets I must admit that I power slide on turns after a few Burnout sessions; woe unto my Jeep Cherokeeís suspension.

The Burnout series takes a rather radical departure from its presentation with Paradise, dropping your high-speed racers in a 250-mile tangle of seaside roadways and letting you run rampant. Donít worry, youíll still be nitro-boosting, drifting and generally making 2 Fast 2 Furious in tricked-out autos, but the methods of mayhem are a lor more free-form herein. Rather than hopping from event to event, Burners now wander around the sprawling city and hop in and out of ad hoc races, demolition derbies and the like by triggering events at the cityís various intersections and stop lights. Itís a nifty organic presentation that really enables a more laid- back jaunt through the title. Sadly, though, until youíve memorized the twists and turns of the game world youíre likely to lose again and again. As races now simply provide a point A and B you can quickly find yourself on the least convenient routes to your goal and will find yourself repeating what should be relatively easy early game races just to gain familiarity.

Itís like the high-speed race has been built in accordance with grandpaís lackluster directions. Sure you want to get to Thanksgiving dinner while shunting opponents off the road embankment, but jeez pappy, could you at least give me some street names?

That said, simply idling (and by idle I mean driving the wrong way on a one-way street at 150mph) about Paradise City is a hoot. Flipping off the Hazzard County-esque construction projects is always fun and aside from the overwhelming nature the city and the obnoxious interjection of the idiot race DJ Burnout Paradise is a solid B+ ó Glenn Given