Oh cripes, Burnout Paradise is £2.50 on Steam right now. That's not very much money at all, is it?
Paradise isn't the best Burnout game, obvs, since the best Burnout game is Burnout 3: Takedown, in which the series' combination of flair and violence was held in perfect balance. Even so, Paradise is utterly wonderful, and it's a reminder that Burnout's most admirable trait was probably the way its developers tweaked the formula each time. It was a driving game series that was really going somewhere.
To wit: Burnout 3 introduced Takedowns. Burnout 4 took this and turned it into all-out traffic-checking. Burnout Paradise took that - or rather the idea of screen-filling mayhem - and reinvented the series as an open-world game in which every street was a race and every junction was an event. It's a lovely idea, and Paradise City is a wonderful place, but for my money, I did less actual racing in Paradise than in any other Burnout, probably because I had to remember to navigate while I was also busy chugging through the oncoming lane to pick up boost.
None of this matters, though, because playing this lunchtime reminded me that Burnout Paradise is basically Burnout: Crackdown, with gates and billboards standing in for the agility orbs. The gates! Each one glowing bright yellow and urging you to smash through it to open up a shortcut. 400 of them in total. The billboards! You never saw such billboards! Scattered about the place and forcing you to work out how to get up, up into the sky and reach them.
A driving game about learning to fly! Very Burnout that. What would have come next? Sadly, Criterion's mutli-vehicle mash-up was quietly cancelled very recently. For shame.