The first thing that hits you is how sprawling Paradise’s map seems. Then you realise you can drive from one end to the other in only about four minutes, and around its entire circumference in about ten, and it’s a little disheartening. But then you discover just how dense Paradise City is, how much there is to explore away from the main roads and all seems rosy.
Except that, although 120 race events sounds like plenty, it isn’t - we uncovered 97 of them within six hours, and although you can only take part in some events with certain cars, a dedicated gamer could polish off the bulk of the action in a couple of days.
But let’s rewind a bit, and tell you what most hardcore Burnout fans really want to know - yes, it’s fast. Hurtling along with your boost bar at top whack is a rush unsurpassed by any other driving game, and the framerate is perfect. That it can look so beautiful, and shift so much around the screen so quickly (other cars, crash debris, palm trees, road signs, buildings, lakes, mountains) is cause for celebration.
But the new free-roaming structure won’t be to everyone’s taste - having all the events open from the beginning impacts negatively on your feelings of progression. You don’t unlock any new levels; you simply get a mark on your driving license. This rewards you with new cars whenever you go up a rank. To actually get your new car, you’ve got to find it driving around the city somewhere, ram it off the road, and then collect it from the junkyard. It’s a process designed to artificially lengthen the game and can become a bit of a chore.