There's fast, and then there's Burnout fast. There's fun, and then there's Burnout fun. There's every other boring, slow, mundane racing game, and then there's Burnout thrilling action. It's really a pinnacle of intuitive, gratifying racing gameplay, and Criterion pushed the last-gen consoles to new visual heights with Burnouts 1-4. Burnout Revenge, the last proper game in the series (Dominator was more of a "best of" collection) was a fantastic game in every regard, but it didn't particularly push the formula like the last couple of iterations had. Well, Burnout 5 will have been cooking for over two years when it hits this fall, and they're doing everything in their power to make it the first truly next-gen racing experience.
One look at the few screenshots they've released is impressive enough, and then you realize that those cars are going to be flying lightning fast through meticulously detailed environments, splintering into tiny bits when they crash, and your mind really begins to blow. The biggest and most important change to the series is setting it in a completely open, seamless world. Test Drive Unlimited tried the idea valiantly, but when your core racing mechanics aren't quite there it makes the setting a bit irrelevant. Burnout 5 will have the biggest world map ever in a racing game, which will actually take quite a while to cross even going top speed.
Racing openly in Paradise City will combine all of the game modes of previous versions, as any intersection can become a Crash Mode junction with the press of a button, and races are started simply by harassing other drivers you see zipping alongside you. Some drivers will run when they see you coming, but if you can catch them and take them out you'll win their car. Criterion have always done a great job at making game progress tangibly rewarding, unlocking new races, cars and events after almost every race, and Burnout 5 will surely be no exception.
EyeToy HD support was recently announced for the game, particularly for online multiplayer, and we have to wonder how that will feature into the game. Mapping your face onto your driver (and Burnout has never even HAD drivers) wouldn't do much since they would be obscured in the chaos; perhaps customizing your cars with a picture of whatever you can drag in front of your camera? I would rather not be racing against a convoy of penises though, and I can't imagine Criterion wants that either. We'll be sure to update you with any news as we draw closer to the release this fall, and we'll hopefully "see" you online (har har).