E3 '07: Burnout Paradise Hands-On Preview

Scheduled for release in the next few months, the latest Burnout game – Burnout Paradise – is shaping up to be a nice distraction from the recent onslaught of sim racers. (I’m looking at you, Forza, MotoGP and PGR.)

In traditional Burnout style, this game is all about going fast and cutting it close. At E3 I had a chance to sit down and sample the game for a short while; it was easily the most fun I’ve had playing a racing game in months.

Fans of Burnout know what to expect in general from the game. You pick your car, you race, you pass close (or bump into people), use boost to go faster, etc. Burnout really is the best example of an arcade racer today, and Paradise does nothing to diminish its standing as the arcade racing king.

While the core Burnout gameplay is largely the same, Paradise features a few new features which make the game a blast. One of the new features takes advantage of the camera you may be using with your 360 and PS3. The way it works is simple: you’re racing your pal, and if he causes you to crash, the minute your car becomes wreckage a snapshot of your mug (or whatever you have the camera pointing at) is shown on their screen. It’s a nice way to try and capture the feeling of making a buddy crash when he’s right next to you; I guarantee some of the facial expressions will be priceless.

Another nice change is the fact that now, as long as your car has four wheels, it will drive. In past Burnout games fans tended to be upset when their car would just vanish while in a still-drivable condition, but this time around, you can see a lot more smashes and dents in your car before you need to trade it in.

Easily the best new feature in Burnout Paradise, though, is the Free Burning mode. Much like TDU, this mode allows you to drive around the city (which is roughly 70 km in size) and do whatever the hell you want. Want to try and find all the ramps? Go for it. Want to run into other cars to cause cool crashes? Go for it. Want to enter a race or some sort of challenge? Find one, and have fun. Friends will be able to join in your sandboxing as well as the traditional gameplay modes, so the Free Burning mode promises to provide a lot of mindless entertainment in a game like Burnout.

If I had one complaint from my time playing Burnout Paradise, it’s a very minor one: that damn Dukes of Hazard honk. All of the ramps I saw in the E3 demo involved entering some cinematic-like view of the car flying, and that damn honk blaring. By the time the final product comes out, I can only hope that’s something you can turn off, or that it changes based on the car/trick (I only drove around in one car), otherwise that will cause more frustrated looks than any crashes my buddies may initiate.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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