Citizens of Paradise City might want to double check their insurance. The fifth Burnout game is coming to their open world this winter and, from what we saw at E3 2007, there's going to be a lot more detailed crashing courtesy of next-generation technology. While the last game, Burnout Revenge, released on the Xbox 360, it was a port of the PS2 and Xbox versions. Burnout Paradise will be the first true next-gen title in the Criterion Games-developed series as its destruction-filled racing is being built from the ground up for the PS3 and 360.
With that come smoother car models when they're intact and little bits and piece of car models when they're not. The explosions and crumple effects seen in the pre-alpha demo really kick this crash-happy series into high-definition gear, but there are other noteworthy changes. First, instead of scrolling through menus and waiting for load times, the city of Paradise is your map to game progress. Pull up to one of the street lights in this free-roam environment and let the race begin that way. No menus, no load times and no modes.
This sort of seamless sandbox environment idea has been done before; Test Drive Unlimited and Need For Speed: Most Wanted to name two recent attempts. But, while our Test Drive review said ?the environment is quite lifeless,? the makers of Burnout Paradise promise that there'll be something to do around ever corner since instant action is what the franchise is all about.
So that you don't get lost in the expansive Paradise City, a street sign with the name of the road you're on appears at the top of the screen. On either side of it are two more street signs that represent the upcoming side streets to your right and left. These side street signs change quickly as you speed down a single road without taking a turn. It should be fun finding a friend by flying down an intersecting street, spotting the street sign for the road that they are on and doing an aggressive e-brake maneuver to make that last-second turn.
The number of friends that you can take down online is eight compared Burnout Revenge's six. In addition to bumping up the player count by two, Paradise adds camera support using the Xbox Live Vision camera or the upcoming PlayStation Eye. Players can transmit their stunned reactions after being taken down or their gloating smiles after taking some one else down. It's great to see EA take advantage of this technology, especially adopting the PlayStation Eye earlier than most publishers for this game as well as for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08.