This game, as a previous reviewer had stated, is simulator quality with the playability of an arcade hit. The fact that you can manipulate track layout with the "Power Play" system adds a whole new dimension. There are a multitude of track variants with some being quite nerve wracking with planes crashing and towers falling down throwing your car all over the track. Some areas appear to have compound mutations where you could use power plays to manipulate a track section more than once re-recreating an environment broadening the scope of the game tremendously.
Lighting, environmental elements, and particle systems come together with a solid focus producing a professionally polished platform title that can be quite expansive; coupled with the fact that the game can be played over a network connection says allot but also, throw in the fact that there are already un-lockable vehicles of varying types being released by various retailers. This all screams depth of play. You're able to enjoy some quality "me time" doing the "Tour de Excessive Force" then go online to show off your newly unlocked or easter egg ride with a lesson in how to manage "Public Relations" via an accurately delivered pyro-technique air parcel -- you get to have your cake and eat it too or, help someone else eat it.
This is an excellent example where a perfect balance between complexity and mechanics was struck with a focus applied by a planning and management team delivering a game that provides for its audience and not a marketer's box card. The developers are quite well known for their previous works in the "racing" genre and backed by Disney they had allot by way of creative influences and freedom as well as fat funding for their little, big budget opus. This is a street racing game that knows itself and maintains a focus on what it is letting the player submerse themselves and not wind up a public software beta tester, debugger, or game forums moderator discussing glitches. They smoothed the game out very well and it all coils up into a professionally managed commercial project/product.
There is absolutely no trade off in this game, that I've seen, other than shouldn't you be mowing the lawn; all after that, the grass will be there tomorrow -- where's it going?
It runs very well on my NVidia GeForce 9600GT with global lighting, particles, caustics, and depth of field of a high quality right from the start.