I am a lazy bastard. And maybe it's for this reason, among a slew of others I'm sure, that I enjoy playing games so much. Run around and play football? Too sweaty, I'll load Madden. Steal cars and beat up prostitutes? Too much work scrubbing the blood stains, just give me GTA.
The real world is a pain in the ass. It involves traffic, cleaning gutters and lines at the grocery store. And often gaming is effective because it streamlines the experience of life, like a movie, just giving us the best parts, the frosty tops of cupcakes without the dry bottom. That's why when I loaded Burnout Paradise and found a large, beautiful world just waiting for my destructive domination, I was let down. It's ungrateful, I know. A team of hardworking programmers and artists from Criterion have assembled a game that (like the upcoming Midnight Club) allows you to explore an open world GTA-style and start street races almost seamlessly from a traffic light.
But such a world brings its burdens that agitate my lazy bastard side. Such a world requires stopping for gas, finding repair shops and hitting up a drive-thru for a new paint job. And such a world also requires one of my personal pet peeves, maps, to navigate to and during races.
It's not that Burnout Paradise is bad or that the idea is inherently unsuited for the genre, it's just that I don't mind clean menu systems that can bring me to a race quicker than driving there. And I'm not sure that an open world is really making a game like Burnout any better (or something like Tony Hawk or even Jak 3). I don't always mind clean cut levels so much because they allow me to take the good bites first and last. What about you?