Burnout Paradise played fairly well at E3, even though you could tell the build displayed was pretty early in development. Still, the game looked really crisp, and moved along at a brisk pace, and that's always been one of Burnout's most profound highlights. The other highlight of the franchise has been its sadistically-beautiful, and morbidly-fun crashes.
Well, the good news is that between this demo and what I played at E3, I can see some notable improvements have been made. Image clarity is not only crisp, but it's not super smooth. Where as the E3 build suffered from aliasing (jaggies), and screen-tearing, this demo is cleaner and smoother, though not perfect, and doesn't have a lick of tearing to be found anywhere. Aside from that, there's a lot to love about one aspect of the game's visuals…that mind boggling framerate that doesn't slow down no matter how fast you're going, no matter the objects around you, and no matter how catastrophic or jaw-dropping your car's finale is. It's absolutely brilliant.
That's the sort of thing you'll keep saying to yourself while playing Burnout Paradise and witnessing its horrifically-brilliant crashes. I mean really, describing this game's madness can only be filled with antonymic hyphenated descriptions – and I've already used three of them in this piece already. So, perhaps the point is clear, and by now you should be realizing just how much fun Burnout Paradise is. And perhaps I should also point out that I'm just talking about the free roam mode.
So yeah, even when you're just wankering around, Burnout Paradise is a very good way to kill some time. Events and races are initiated by coming to certain stop lights and hit the two trigger buttons simultaneously. You'll either be told to go and do some crazy stunt driving and rack up points, or be thrown against a bunch of other cars. So, as opposed to selecting from various modes, as you would in the past, all of Paradise's contents are now within its career mode.
This is good and bad. Veterans may be turned off by this new transition, meanwhile free-roamers will end up enjoying it as it always keep them within the experience. My one complaint is that if you lose a race or event, instead of being able to restart it instantly, or pop your car back to the origin point, you have to drive all the way back to the event trigger location – this becomes tedious, and hopefully fixed in the final game.
But the good news is that Criterion has significantly tightened up the controls over the E3 build. At E3 the cars felt and controlled very loosely, but that's been fixed and the controls are super tight now. Wheel guys will be happy to know that Paradise does support Logitech wheels and force feedback, too. All in all, Burnout Paradise should prove to be a worthy addition to the lauded series. We're really looking forward to it.
Look for Burnout Paradise to hit on January 22nd.