In Play

In Play

Burnout Paradise

Electronic Arts, $59.99

The first Burnout franchise game made for PlayStation3 (also on Xbox 360) isn't about speed or control; it's not about customizable cars or the near-vertigo graphics. Burnout Paradise is all about the tumbling, head over ass, yard-sale crashes. Immediately upon entering the sprawling metropolis of Paradise City – and yes, G'N'R soundtrack is included – the winding roads and half-complete bridges beg for conquer.

Sure, racing is paramount, and there are more than 100 separate types of open-city races where shortcuts await every turn, but there's nothing quite like landing a mammoth Super Jump in the middle of a Stunt Run: Acquire the most points from jumping, smashing through barricades and billboards, maneuvering barrel rolls, and doing doughnuts. Secondary to the Stunt Run is the Road Rage race, with the objective of taking out as many cars as possible.

After one of 75 cars has taken a rough beating, just trade it in at the closest junkyard, or drive through a repair shop. The paint shops are teases. Burnout Paradise doesn't approximate racers like Midnight Club, never mind the exhaustive depth of addictive Grand Theft Autos, and fortunately, it doesn't even try to.

With a seemingly infinite amount of courses – resetting with every new car – the game won't grow old, but playing solo might. With no split-screen, the only multiplayer option is playing with strangers and friends online.

Good old-fashioned racers have gone the way of the GameCube, but as far as smashing, crashing, and big air go, Burnout Paradise is a shiny 1969 Camaro next to Midnight Club's chopped and chromed Hummer. Comfort is nice, but sometimes power is really where it's at.

***

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