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Burnout Looking Good, Needs Tweaks Before Release

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So my friend downloaded the latest Burnout Paradise demo from Xbox Live, and I can say that the game is shaping up quite nicely. EA better not just stop at the demo, though. I’d hate to see this series go to crap.

My friend played it first, and the first time I saw him crash I had to bite my tongue from saying, “Oh, snap.” You see that’s the thing about the Burnout series, the emphasis isn’t on beating your opponent in a race. The focus is on driving around like a madman and trying to make the coolest crash possible, and if you take out your opponent with you all the better. I’m surprised Jack Thompson or the other anti-game groups haven’t jumped on this, and warned the public that Burnout could cause people to drive recklessly. Anyway, in Paradise you are treated to a little slow-motion movie of you wrecking your car. I never thought shattered window pane fragments could look so beautiful.

Aside from the aesthetic, there is no cumbersome menu to deal with. You load up the game, and you start driving – it’s that simple. The demo consisted of driving around a section of Paradise City, trying to land barrel rolls off of ramps, and crashing in style. I imagine that the game will follow a sandbox style, a style in which the player can go anywhere and interact with the game environment a la Grand Theft Auto.

To those who say that gamers will get tired of the game soon, you underestimate how fun just messing around in a game like this could be, especially if you have people hitting the asphalt along with you.

When I got a hold of the controller, the game controls felt natural.

With different cars and more areas, I can see where this game has the makings of being a great single player for a couple of hours. I didn’t get to see the multi-player aspect but supposedly the process to add people to your racing world is seamless.

“Don’t mess this one up. Seriously, don’t,” is all I have to say to EA.

The game isn’t perfect. For one, the voice actor that plays the DJ, which instructs you on how to play and comments on the action, needs to be changed immediately. When the guy started talking at the beginning of the demo, I thought that it was just part of the intro movie. But when I heard him giving me tips on how to brake, I wanted to take a spoon and shove it in my ear, because, to quote Lewis Black, “If I’m going to hurt that bad, I’m going to do it to myself.”

There’s also the fact that you have to drive all the way back to where you started a racing event (this will probably be overlooked as you’ll be having too much fun wrecking your car) if you fail it and want to retry. If they’ve streamlined everything, why did they overlook this?

Burnout Paradise is slated for a January 2008 release. Hopefully it will be polished to perfection by then. -- Elvis Ramirez

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