I had always been curious about Burnout before playing Paradise. Ironically this rendition of the franchise is quite different to "traditional" Burnout.
Paradise city is an open world where you need to go around and find the challenges in road intersection. Previously you'd just select them from a menu, which would also allow you to automatically re-try the levels, thing you can't do in Paradise and got harsh criticism for it. The fact that you can fail a mission and that you have to travel back to the original intersection can be annoying, but Paradise is such an awesome game that this little annoyance can be ignored.
The other major accomplishment for the game is the seamless online integration: you press right o the d-pad and you are online. No lobbies, no configuration... just plain simple.
I've put 40+ hours on the game and its expansion packs (which were all free) and can't wait for the next ones. I've never expected to enjoy this game so much, but it does things so well that is no surprise why it gets so much praise.