My official review of Burnout Paradise is up now at thephoenix.com. It doesn't really cover anything different than the two blog posts I've already written about the game, but you should read it anyway. Don't do it for me. Do it for my benevolent corporate overlords.
There's one jarring omission from the list of things wrong with Burnout Paradise that I need to rectify. How could I have forgotten to spotlight DJ Atomica and his wretched playlist? EA's continued insistence on saddling one of their best properties with a brainless announcer and those execrable Trax™ just reeks of boardroom synergy.
I refuse to believe that the cost of hiring one competent composer to score the game could possibly exceed that of licensing all these no-name bands. At least in past Burnout games you could count on them throwing you a bone like the Futureheads. In Paradise, the only good songs are the old ones (Faith No More's "Epic," Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage"), and they play "Paradise City" so much that even that's starting to get tiresome. And even if you disagree with my musical taste, chances are there's plenty here that doesn't suit you, either.
Strangely, the soundtrack includes lots of electronic music from the first three Burnout games, and you know what? It sounds great! It's much better racing music than some band called "Army of Me," because it was made with the game in mind. It complements the action onscreen, instead of calling attention to itself. I don't see what's so difficult about this.
Yes, you can go through and disable any Trax™ you don't like, which is better than nothing, but that's fairly low on the list of things I want to be spending my time doing in a Burnout game. At least the Xbox 360 gives you the option to use custom soundtracks.