Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Burnout Paradise

"Holy crap, there's a demo of Burnout Paradise available - This'll be great, I love Burnout games, me!" was roughly what I was thinking the other Thursday morning.

Oh dear, that'll teach me.

The crashes are very nice, and I like that the camera while you're racing is very dynamic, with lots of shake and stuff when you nudge other cars and do other exciting things.

The main complaint I can see coming up again and again is they're reintroduced the "sassy" DJ voice over man who tells you that you're doing shit, and wow what an awesome time you're going to have here, and is generally much more excited about the entire thing than you are.

Since nothing gets added to your map until you find it the whole thing feels completely directionless. This might just be a symptom of the demo, where you're essentially dropped into the city and left to find the three events yourself, and hopefully the full thing will at least direct you towards events that are at your level of ability.

There is stuff like billboards to crash through, but it doesn't give you a nice camera view or any exciting text or anything when you do it (just a plain "1 out of x billboards" message - where's the Burnout flair gone?), so you get no feeling of having done something good. Smashing a billboard doesn't even fire off any particles -they just switch instantly from fine to smashed.

Plus it's really easy to get lose, I found. Who has time to look at a map and a little compass when they're boosting along trying to smash people off the road? And when you have lost you have to drive all the way back to the start yourself. The events seem to be arranged roughly top to tail around the map (so there's always something that starts near the finish point of another race), which is clearly meant to occupy you for the return journey, but what if I've finished the return event? What if I just want to keep hammering the event I lost in order to nail it?

What, exactly, is wrong with menu screens?

Edit: Since I originally wrote this Alex Ward of Criterion has released a bit of a rant explaining that anybody who thinks the same things as me is wrong, and that this is clearly the best game demo of 2007. Sorry Alex, but the Crackdown demo was released last year too, and you're very wrong about the "retry" option.

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