Last night I did a playthrough of the new Burnout Paradise demo.
Significant changes to the series:
Stunt mode: A "me too" need for speed drift mode, the burnout spin on the mode is that you get rewarded for destroying things. You are supposed to drift, but the engine is tweaked towards impossible arcade cornering, so it is useless. I didn't play with the handling long enough to beat the target for this mode.
Race/time trial mode: Wow, this is a big departure from most racing games. The HUD shows you the street you are on, and the upcoming streets on the right and left. When in a race, the wrong turns are not blocked off so you need to rely on a combination of creative routs and/or listening to the HUD when it reccomends a next turn. This requires a good deal of concentration, and I am curious as to how it will work in practice for the full game. This could be really great, or horrendously bad, depending on how nasty the paths get.
Free roaming multiplayer mdoe: You and 3 other people get dropped into the map and you get to drive around and crash into each other. There are bout 6 categories of stats, like longest jump, and when someone beats a record, it gets announced. Oh yeah, and you can do takedowns. Strangely, the total number of takedowns is never shown, just how many "up" you are.
Good: Crashes are very detailed and satisfying, you will find yourself looking for a wall to crash into to watch your car crumble into a cube. Free roaming multiplayer lets you just drive around and be a dick crashing into people. Open world for races.
Bad: I don't see a crash mode, for the love of jeebus please tell me this awful stunt mode isn't a replacement for it. Pathfinding could be a masochistic experience if poorly executed in the full version. Nothing to do in multiplayer except drive around and be a dick crashing into people. You need to drive back to the starting point to retry a race.