I haven't made much mention of it before, but I have become seriously hooked on Burnout Paradise.
It was a slow process. I hated the demo when it first showed up on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The open world environment was radically different from Burnout Revenge's traditional tracks, and the ever-present DJ Atomica made it feel as if I was trapped in a car with Ryan Seacrest. In real life, such a situation would call for smashing your car into oncoming traffic. In Burnout Paradise, you're ENCOURAGED to smash your car into oncoming traffic, yet doing so does nothing to make DJ Atomica shut his mouth. I deleted the demo and didn't give much more thought to it.
The thing is, I kept reading on message boards and chat rooms about how awesome the full game was. There was a constant stream of enthusiastic ravings about the game, and many of them were along the lines of "I hated the demo, but love the game now." So I finally procurred a used copy at a discount and got to exploring Paradise City.
In 6 or 7 weeks I've now logged between 60 and 70 hours total playtime, and have an 87% completion statistic. I've found the 400 fences to smash, the 120 billboards to jump through, and all 50 super jumps. I have nearly all the cars. It's addicting to upgrade my license, unlock new cars, and find new things in the city.
Perhaps most surprisingly for me is the fact that I actually play online in the game. Most of time it's with people I know, but there are 350 online challenges to complete, and sometimes you just need to find some strangers to do them with.
The latest update for the game, called Cagney, finally comes out on the 360 today. The PS3 players have had it for a few weeks now, but some last minute bugs have kept it from my desperate hands until now. It contains many bug fixes, and more importantly adds a host of multiplayer content to the game. I'm sitting here at work feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for the time when I can leave and play with all the new toys available to me. If you ever want to experience the rare joy that comes from playing a multiplayer game with me in something other than a co-op campaign, acquiring this game is probably your best bet.
Just thought I'd share that with you all.
(Supplemental, yet required, viewing: Zero Punctuation's take on the game)