What’s more, the game isn’t solely about exploration and competition – just like Burnout Takedown
there’s a quick game mode which is less about winning a race or performing a tricky manoeuvre and more about having some mindless fun. In Takedown
it was the Crash mode. In Paradise
it’s called Showtime and it’s even more addictive than Geometry Wars
and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
Showtime can, unlike all the other game modes, be entered into at anytime and anywhere by pressing L1 and R1 together. Doing so will make your car explode immediately, sending it catapulting a few feet up into the air. If you’re going at speed when you enter Showtime then you’ll carry that momentum on and zip forwards at the same time.
Suddenly, your Boost bar no longer speeds you up, but lets you perform a ground break – a move that lifts your wreck into the air again. When you run out of Boost, it’s all over.
The aim of Showtime is simple – bounce your car as far as possible, causing havoc along the way. Every car or van you hit causes a few thousand dollars worth of damage and gives you a little bit more boost so that you can bounce once more. Hitting a bus doesn’t net you a criminal record or a tortured conscience either, but bags a x1 multiplier for your entire score, which also takes into account how far you flung your wreck.
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Now, as I said, you can enter into Showtime anytime you want – even mid race if you don’t mind coming out of the competition – but the key is to choose your places wisely. Start a Showtime up on a mountain road and you’ll quickly run out of targets to hit and space to fly. Start at a busy intersection or in an underground tunnel though and you’ll be able to set up a life-sized game of pinball of truly epic proportions.
What brings the whole experience together though is the truly amazing graphics. We were playing the game through on the PlayStation 3, which is an admittedly more powerful machine than the Xbox 360, and both the graphics and physics were fantastic.
At times the city can
seem a little bit empty thanks to the lack of any pedestrians (plus it looks weird that none of the cars have drivers), but that’s forgivable. All Burnout
games have been like that and the game would take an even more savage beating from the mass press
if you could crush old ladies and children with your pimped out wheels.
EA and Criterion are well aware that Burnout
has massive appeal in the younger audiences who enjoy smashing cars together and is wise not to threaten that by filling the virtual streets with blood and guts.
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What’s especially marvellous about the graphics though is the crumple physics when you crash into something. Crashing is a pant-wettingly on-edge experience and, just like the Aftertouch system in Takedown
, players can control their flight through the air to a degree.
If the crash isn’t that bad and you can land on your wheels then it’s possible to drive away. Crash too hard though and you’ll have to watch the crash in slow motion from a variety of angles – the bonnet collapsing before you, windows rupturing all over the camera and tyres wheeling down the road.
The graphics aren’t totally cutting edge and some added effects like day-night cycles would be the final polish the game needed to break through, but aside from that the presentation is top notch – especially when it all goes deliciously wrong.