Let me start out with the important parts.
Menu System: 4/10
Alright, from the get go, you might notice a kinda strange item in my bullet score list. The Menu System. I only put it in there because it actually hurts the game in so many ways. Let's start by saying, every time you enter a race, you have to wait about 10 seconds. Every time you fail a race, you have to wait about 10 seconds. If you start a race, and decide you don't want to do it, the only way to cancel it is to go into showtime(basically crash mode), then when you finish showtime, you have to wait about 30 seconds for it to finish the recap of how you did. If you look at your big map, it stops your boost, which on some cars means, basically, you lose the race because they require a full boost meter before boosting. All together, the menus killed this game. Murdered, really. Even pausing the game means waiting about 5-10 seconds before you can start racing again. Oh, and for a game that's all about the crashes, it's really annoying to be punished for every crash by having to watch your car in slow motion for about 15-20 seconds, and not being able to skip it.
Menus aside, the graphics are great. It looks amazing for as big as the world is, and not a single loading screen short of changing cars in the junkyard. Even the startup load time is very short. What really brought the score down from a 9.5ish to an 8 was the way crashes looked. They just didn't feel right. When you crash at 390MPH into the corner of a brick wall, I expect the car to crumple at the point of impact and bow. It really felt like there were pre-determined crumple zones. With them, you can see the cars crumple up in very predictable ways. It's fine the first time you play the game, but it gets old fast, especially with the mini-cut scenes that happen every time you wreck.
The sound was top notch. I don't exactly have a great stereo system, but I did really enjoy listing to everything happen. Passing by cars makes a satisfying whooshing noise. Crashing creates all types of thuds and bangs. The sound track is very good for this type of game, mostly rock, and a good mix of it. I did here at least one of the current top 10, which annoyed me a little, but you actually have a button on the control to skip it, so no biggy... unlike that damn local radio station that plays that song 10 times a day.
And that brings us to gameplay, arguably the most important factor. This game is fun, REALLY fun... for the first 4 hours. Then it becomes hard, REALLY hard. But I'm not the type to shy away from a good challenge, so I do plan on trying to beat the game, even if I go insane trying. The different gamemodes all have their similarities, but differ in important ways. I did find, however, that there are way too many of some challenges, like races, and way too few of others, stunt runs. Stunt run is my favorite gamemode, but there are about 4 stunt runs in the whole game, but about 20-30 races. The takedown gamemode is a lot of fun as well, but it gets brutal after a while, and the same can be said for "marked man", another gamemod. Marked man requires you to get from point A to point B without being taken down more than three times. The challenge? Everyone is targeting you.
Some other things: I have yet to play online, so this score is ignoring how fun online may be. Switching cars in the junk yard takes way too long. There are no licensed cars in the game, but the pretend ones are great, and by the time you put in a few hours, you start understanding what a brand like "Hunter" means, just like you see a Ford, a Mazda, a Lambo, or a Porch. They say there are 75 cars in the game, but that's a trick number. There are really about 32 cars, all with second paint jobs that change the stats slightly. That being said, all 32(or so) cars handle differently. Each one has a size and shape that really matters. A big truck is very front heavy, so it spins out easy when trying to really gun it. A light Asian car really sticks to the ground and has the weight distributed evenly. You feel these mechanics at play in the game, which is a lot more than can be said about most games. Also, be warned that larger vehicles can take down people easier, but they also crash a lot easier when doing power slides. Those light Asian cars can take a side impact at 150Mph, while the big American cars will destroy themselves at 90Mph because of their added weight. It's a small but really smart feature.
I really wanted to give Burnout: Paradise more. I wanted to come on here say "OMG GUYz, Burnout is the best evarz! 11/10!". But sadly no, it was merely a measly 8/10. A solid score, but not gunna win any awards that way. I recommend it for a rent, but not a buy. I would say buy it, if it had multi-player split screen. It's always fun to tear through a city with a friend. So I'm going to say this about the game: Good, but not great. Hopefully Burnout: Paradise II will fix everything I was upset about.