A bit of a let down

User Rating: 5.5 | Burnout Paradise X360
Sure it's Burnout...so that's built in fun there. But they really didn't think about what a pain in the ass that mini-map in the lower right corner was going to be. Open map? Great idea...but for races it deeply sucks that I gotta keep checking that mini-map. Ooops! I guess I'll hit a car while I do that. Or I found the work-around: pause the action and then look at the map. That blows, too, because it takes all the momentum away from the race. The frenzy of being in a race and not being able to peel yuour eyes off the road was one of the funnest aspects of the Burnout series. I"m sure there are those who will tell me that I have to play the game long enough and then I'll learn the entire map and won't have to rely on the mini-map. My answer to that is, if I have to play the game that long just to bring my level of enjoyment up to what I had with Burnout Takedown and Burnout Revenge, then screw it...they've failed me. Also, if I race all the way out to the Wind Farm and lose, I'd like to start the race over again and give it another try. Oh, if you want to do that you gotta drive ALLLLLLLLLL the way back to the other side of town. I can't just use the mini-map and click on that race to magically transport me to the start of the race. C'mon...it's a game. Make it easy on me, not a pain in the ass.

And the mechanics are just rude. Sure there's a lot of fun with the environment and the nifty cars. But if I get stuck against a wall or on a corner or on some piece of something that is an obstacle, getting OFF of it ain't easy at all. Ooops! There goes 10 seconds off your Burning Route time while you try to manuever out of a corner that the new improved game mechanics have wedged you into. Criterion could've made that a little easier...so as far as THOSE play mechanics go, I give them a big fat "F".

Like many longtime Burnout fans, I miss the Crash Mode...a lot! What gives, EA and Criterion? Why oh why have you traded in the Crash Mode we loved so much for the really stupid concept of ..."Showtime"? Endlessly flopping around an intersection like a fish out of water to rack up points hitting things loses its appeal after 10 seconds.I've done this once and have no desire to do it again. Just...really stupid, guys. The Crash Mode in Burnout Revenge had become too complicated, but this is far to simple. Can't you just, I don't know...return Crash Mode to the way it was in Burnout 2: Point of Impact? That way it was just fun, you know...the way it should be.

The online feature is just beyond me. There are no real instructions on how to do anything. Maybe I wasn't paying attention to DJ Annoying and he told me what to do at some point. But I shouldn't be punished fgor misisng that opportunity. Give me some kind of Help feature so I can get comfortable. This "exploring" thing should be fun, not frustrating. I accidentally (yes, accidentally) started an online "Freeburn" and had no idea what was going on. But all of the sudden some guy named Kizer Souze420 started Road Raging me to death. At one point I was "10 Takedowns Behind" and had already lost interest. How do I quit the game? I don't have a mic and can't tell Kizer he's won and congratulations. I mashed every button on my controller and couldn't find a way to end the online game. So I just shut down my console. Now, I shouldn't have to do that. It's ridiculous. There should always be a "panic button" or something that will bring up some kind of a HUD to help me with the most basic things like...well, exiting a game.

Lastly, a feature I've really wished for is something that Rallisport Challenge 2 did very well: saving and playing back a race or event. What a concept! After experiecing a very Road Rage or a narrow victory in a race, why not celebrate by saving it and showing it to your buddies or your wife later on. Incidentally she's PISSED at Criterion for eliminating the split screen so we can play the game together. Another stupid decision.

I think thus far I've logged about 30 hours playing the game. I may log another 10 hours so I guess some would say I got my money's worth, but the re-playability is for crap. If the Burnout series is going this route I'll probably look for something better.