PC users have had to wait a bit for Burnout Paradise to make the move from consoles, and possibly to compensate Criterion are offering this demo which gives you total access to the imaginary city, albeit for only half an hour.
The half an hour limit is an issue, as this is a huge download, coming in at 3 gigabytes! If you have a slow internet connection, you could easily be downloading for longer than you can play. The second issue is the format of introducing you to the game - which pauses your driving to explain something - can be irritating if you really just want to drive, see the city, and crash into stuff.
These criticisms can't detract from what is an absolutely fantastic arcade racing game. If you demand realistic handling and simulation from your racing games, Burnout Paradise is not for you. The physics are convincing while the handling of the cars is forgiving enough to permit long drifts and ridiculous jumps and crashes. Crashes, as fans of Burnout will tell you, are not done better anywhere else, and they are well integrated into races (after a big crash you have a running start!). This is all about adrenalin fueled, over the top, and psychotically dangerous racing.
There are numerous challenges from straight races to Road Rage, where the objectives is to takedown a number of other racers before you destroy your vehicle and Marked Man, where you have to reach a destination before pursuers destroy you. Alternatively, you can just drive around the enormous open world of Paradise City. Some people may find the lack of defined structure a pain - you are never told to do anything, just enter competitions at your leisure, but you soon get into the rhythm of the game.
Visually, the cars look great, the damage modeling is just what you would want, and the city is wonderful to look at, at night or day. The advantage of this fictional city is that it's been custom built to drive in, and the corners, ramps, short cuts and so on that are littered liberally around mean it's always a fun place to be.
As long as realism isn't your thing, Burnout Paradise City is the perfect driving playground.