Take me down to the Paradise City, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. Take. Me. Home! If those aren't the first line of words that comes to your head when you hear Paradise City, then you may not be human. Either that or you're just too young to have heard of Guns N' Roses. Anyways, Burnout Paradise marks the fifth Burnout game, and as you can note by its name, it takes place in Paradise City.
For starters, what you can expect is the same havoc wrecking action. I had a chance to play Burnout Paradise at E3 last July, and I loved it. A few things to note about Paradise include: the renaming of Crash mode. Crash is now called Showtime mode. According to Criterion, this change was made because you can now crash anywhere you wish, as opposed to be being placed on a pre-determined path and pattern. During the car, you can push down both trigger buttons and unleash the Showtime mode, which can also be put to use during a Road Rage event, and a standard race (online or off).
Speaking of which, races aren't what they used to be. Instead of selecting a race from a menu, you simply pull up to any of the game's 120 traffic lights in Paradise City, and you'll have the option to engage in a battle against someone. A pretty neat feature, if I do say so myself. You'll be able to tweak the race settings. Boost Rules for races can be toggled between Burnout 1, Burnout: Point of Impact, Burnout TakeDown, or Burnout Revenge.
The Traffic Checking rule can be turned on or off, so that you can't use traffic cars as weapons. Furthermore, you can toggle traffic off completely. Lastly, you can set the start and finish for each race, and place up to 16 checkpoints.
We got to check out the damage system live at E3, and we were impressed. I, personally, mangled the car as frequently as I could just to witness the collision physics – it was marvelous. If you demolish your car to the point where the wheels fall off, your car will be wrecked and you'll have to wait for a new one. If you damage the car, but its four wheels are still intact, then it's operable and you can still drive it. And don't think that the damage is pre-determined in any way, if you go sideways and slam into a pole or pillar, the car will wrap around it. This is certainly the very best modeling in car damage.
As you can tell by the screenshots, a lot of the cars resemble much of which you'd find in real life. That has been done intentionally. The in-game cars now have manufacturer and model names. Now, the original press release for Burnout Paradise stated that you can tear the cars in half, but that seems to have been removed and won't be seen in the final game.
Gameplay is certainly not something to be concerned about. In fact, neither are the visuals. Burnout has always been at the forefront of visual clarity in the previous generation. That same tradition will continue with Paradise, as it already animates at a splendid 60 frames per second. We aren't certain whether or not the PlayStation 3 version of Paradise will run at 1080p, but I believe Criterion is attempting it. Regardless, 60 frames at 720p is still solid stuff, especially with the caliber of detail and precision that Burnout Paradise features. The lighting is also looking extremely impressive, as the sun coats the paint of each car, and reflects brilliantly. We've got a ton of screens of the game in action, so go check them out.
Burnout fans don't need me to tell them to keep their eyes peeled for Paradise. But in any case, look for Burnout Paradise to crash land in January 2008.