Fun. Fun, fun-fun, fun fun. Mind you, this game is a solid mix of unsafe speed, uncalled-for violence, unbelievable mayhem and fudged physics. The exact balance, however, depends on how you play.
Personally, I found that there's nothing more fun than blowin' things up. Nothing is quite as satisfying a a big 'splosion... unless that's more 'splosions, one after another. That's why, when I see a couple of buses lined up, it's Showtime! What's Showtime, you ask? Showtime is a mode in Burnout: Paradise that is all about taking as much out with you as you possibly can. Most of the physics in Paradise are fairly realistic; Showtime throws that out the window to not only allow your car to blow up again and again, but to allow you to control the direction in which your slowly disintegrating heap of wreck moves, letting you smash into yet more cars, collecting points and building up your explosion meter, letting you blow up more times. This is not the puzzle-oriented mode found in an earlier Burnout game, but it has many of the same elements, and is very addictive. Showtime lacks the preset puzzle element of wreck mode from the earlier Burnout game, losing the ability to develop strategies specific to a certain puzzle. Instead, however, you can launch into Showtime mode at any point, once you've played enough to unlock the mode. So, if you're in the middle of a race or some event and it's not going too good for you, or if you simply see a place with a lot of traffic, you can launch into the Showtime mode by simply pressing the (L1) and (R1) buttons at the same time. You can switch to Showtime mode at any time, but doing so quits any current event you're competing in.
There are several different types of events to compete in, as well as "bananas" to pick up along the way. What are bananas? You know... bananas or coins or hidden statues or medals or treasures... that element in a game that you're supposed to search to find them and "collect them all." Burnout: Paradise has two things that really fit this category: "Smashes" and Billboards. "Smashes" are areas that have barriers to keep people out of them, such as side roads, alleys, construction areas and parking garages. Not only are there a finite number of these to find and break through, but smashing through these barriers reveals some shortcuts and passthroughs that can prove useful in later races. Billboards are just that: billboards - specifically, billboards withe "Burnout" written on them. There are a finite number of these and your mission is to find them and crash through every one of them. Mind you, just like in real life, these are simply sitting on the ground waiting for you to drive through them, and it will take a combination of strategy, speed and accurate driving to launch your car through some of these billboards. You'll have to be really good to smash through all of them.
There are other features that are "banana-esque," but they aren't things that you can only "collect" once each. Specifically, there are Super Jumps, which consist of ramps and, often, construction sites or bridges that are out, and which offer set-ups for some really awesome jumps. The game provides the setting, but it's up to you to nail the jump. Finally, there's Power Parking. This, much like the Super Jumps, feels like something right out of the latest action film. All you have to do is use your handbrake to throw your car into a spin, coming to rest between two parked cars - preferably without causing any damage. Sound easy? No, I didn't think so.
I know that I've already said a lot about the gameplay, but I haven't even gotten to the events yet. The "normal" (if you can even try to call it that) racing events in Paradise City include: Races, Road Rage, Marked Man and Burning Route. Races are your typical start and finish or point-to-point route races, except of course that you are highly encouraged to take down your opponents in the most heinous ways possible in order to make it to the finish line first. Road Rage does away with the need to get somewhere in particular and focuses on your ability to take out a certain number of opponents before a time limit expires or your car does - whichever comes first. Marked Man makes you the most popular car in Paradise City, which is, unfortunately, not a good thing; you have to try to make it to the finish line in one piece, while other drivers try to take you out. With extreme prejudice. Stunt Run is a race in which you are trying to get style points for drifting, boosting, making Super Jumps, smashing billboards and performing barrel rolls - preferably chaining these moves together. Finally, there's Burning Route. Each Burning Route event is made specifically for a certain vehicle and you must use that vehicle to participate. What's more - win a Burning Route race and you'll be awarded a new vehicle.
In addition to the single player games, you can play online in 2 - 8 player games. You can freestyle in "Freeburn Online," or play in different challenges and races. What's more, if you and your friends have EyeToy USB cameras, you can set them up and they will take mugshots when you get taken down. You can share these mugshots with your friends online.