Driving games megatest - Burnout Paradise
PC, Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox from £12.99
The controls aren't hard, but it might take you a while to get your head around the free-roaming nature of the game, which is like Grand Theft Auto. Some missions are a little hard to nail, and unless you download a patch it's a bit longwinded to get back to the start line.
A stunning, sprawling city that you can explore to your heart's content, Burnout Paradise aims to free you from the strictures of the racing line and encourages you to take whichever route your prefer to the mission target. There are hundreds of varied missions and challenges, including superbikes, so there's more than enough to keep you busy.
We found ourselves driving around admiring the sunsets and high-rise buildings, so you could say the graphics are rather good. You can destroy both cars and the environment around you, and both are highly detailed. Smashing fun!
You can wreck you car if you crash hard enough, but you'll just be reset to the track to continue racing and lose just a few seconds to your competitors. The roaming sandbox feel of the game adds a significant dose of real-world feel, but this is a thrilling arcade ride, not a game that chases the feel of the track with cockpit views and racing lines. There are no significant weather effects such as rain (mist and fog is your lot) but you do get night and day.
Off- and online
There's great variety off- and online with races, hunting missions and stunt runs. Computer opponents are aggressive and will keep you challenged for a long time. Hop online and, like most other games here, you're likely to confront other gamers who've spent an unhealthy amount of time perfecting their technique and who'll drive you into the ground.