A Brit Late: Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)
Date Of Release: January 2008
Purchased: February 2009
First off, I bought the original Burnout Paradise, not Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, although since I got the game around the time the latter was released, I’ve played through the game with all of the updates from that game, so apart from the Party Pack DLC, it’s pretty much of a review of that pack. As far as I know, that is Burnout Paradise itself as well as the Cagney update, the bikes and the addition of the restart feature. Now that’s out of the way, let’s move on. I’ve always enjoyed the Burnout franchise, ever since I first tried Burnout Revenge, considered to be the weakest in the franchise, a few years ago. I like my fair share of racing sim games but I can always make room for a little craziness, in this case being Burnout. So after I bought Burnout Paradise. back in February, I played it every now and again until I completed it last Friday. So now I think I’m ready to review it. Do note however that I have not played the game online, so this is a review of the offline content rather than both.
The big change in Burnout Paradise is the fact that unlike previous titles, the game has an open world for the first time. This is a double edged sword, although more on the good side than the bad. It means that you have a whole city and countryside to explore, with bonus jumps, signs and ramps all around to use for your amusement. Events are practically littered everywhere, so there’s generally never any need to drive far to find another event to take part in. The only problem with this is in the countryside, as it seems to be there more for exploring than anything else. There are some events in it but they’re spread much further apart in the city, and sometimes it can be boring having to drive from one part of the countryside to another just to take part in another event. Still, having the open world to use in races as well as just for exploring overcomes that negative.
Progression through the game is similar to the last game, you start off with a bog standard boring driver’s licence and then work your way up to better licences by winning events. The only difference being of course is that instead of unlocking more events in locations or just new locations, this time you unlock more races within Paradise City and the surrounding area. There’s also the addition of a separate licence for the bikes, which is only one licence upgrade and works by percentage rather than number of wins. Speaking of the bikes, to be honest they’re rather disappointing. Firstly there’s nowhere near as many events for them than with cars and secondly, Criterion didn’t bother adding any biker physics for when the bikes crash, instead just showing the bike on the floor. Then again, I guess you can’t complain when the DLC was free.
As for events, it’s your usual Burnout fray with a new mode or two. Returning are Road Rage, where you have to get a certain number of takedowns, normal races and time trials for cars to unlock upgraded versions of them. As far as I know, newcomers are Marked Man, where you have to get to a certain place in the city without your car being damaged too much due to takedowns and crashes and Stunt Run, which is what it sounds like. As for the crash mode from the previous games, it’s sort of in the game. It can be activated at any time when you’re not in an event by pressing two buttons together and you can then try and cause as much damage as possible to rake in the money. It’s nice that it’s still there, but it would have been nice to have had crash mode setups like in the old games.
Moving on to gameplay, if you’ve ever played Burnout before, you’ll know what to expect. Vehicles go crazily fast, crashes are spectacular and you do whatever you can to win a race. It’s completely unrealistic and good because of that, meaning that even people who don’t normally like racing games can have fun too. It’s also has that “easy to play, hard to master” thing going for it which helps too. I’d say that it’s sort of like a modern day Road Rash, (Criterion, you should really ask EA if you can make a new Road Rash – Gibbo ;} ) only with cars as well and a lot more complex. No weapons though.
So in conclusion, you should definitely pick up Burnout Paradise sometime. Yes, the game has a few flaws but the positives outweigh the negatives and with it being dirt cheap right now, it’s very much worth it. Couple that with the continued support the game is receiving from Criterion with the DLC, such as the Cops And Robbers DLC that was just released and you really have no excuse. Just a really fun title.