Retro Racing Game Review: Burnout Paradise (2008)
You might lay awake at night and think - what the hell happened to the Burnout series? During the 2000s, the Burnout franchise was one of the most popular series amongst racing gamers - but ultimately met its fate at EA's merciless hands. Game developer politics pretty much put an end to the beloved Burnout franchise, and in many respects "Burnout Paradise" was the farewell tour (I'm not counting the weird Crash title they did in 2011, that was shit)...
SIDE NOTE: THIS GAME WAS REMASTERED LAST YEAR...
So for the purposes of this review, I've played this game on the PS4. There's nothing in the rules of this series that says I must play a nominated game on an older gen console, bite me.
As the title and opening song of the game suggests, Paradise City is where the roads are clean and the cars are pretty. Paradise City itself mixes big city feel with rural mountain roads to create a haven for players to drive, race and destroy. To the far end of the game map is a separate island called Big Surf Island (available as paid DLC) - which takes on the look of a stereotypical American seaside resort.
The game world does a brilliant job in giving the players plenty to do, with events such as races, time trials, marked man and road rage being easy to find. Across the two islands there are countless stunt jumps and billboards to smash through, meaning that players aren't left bored.
CHOICE OF CARS
In the remastered version, there are 75 stock cars - all with varying levels of speed, boost and strength. Most of them are unlocked by completing events and taking down other AI drivers. In addition, the added DLC includes motorbikes, toy cars, crossover vehicles and experimental cars that look like they've come straight from Area 51.
The cars are a bit hit and miss in the game. Sure, some of the racers are great - but most of the cars seem to have bad handling models and inconsistent speed. The damage models are wildly inconsistent as well, as I counted numerous times where I rolled a car multiple times and crashed into a building - and was still able to drive away, but the slightest bit of contact with an AI car was enough to wreck my ride...
The main song of the game is the Guns N' Roses hit "Paradise City" from 1988 (before Axl Rose got fat) - and it perfectly compliments the destructive nature of the game. Other highlights from the soundtrack include hits from well-known rock bands such as Killswitch Engage, Jane's Addiction and Seether. For some weird reason, the original soundtrack from past Burnout games is present, along with a collection of famous classical music - which seems appropriate when jumping off skyscrapers and destroying civic property. Anarchists take note eh?
DOES "PARADISE" PERFORM BETTER THAN ITS PREDECESSORS?
Simple answer, yes. Long answer, Paradise really does exist.
As an open world game, this was always going to be a risk for the franchise. But it was a risk that paid off big time for the developers and players of Burnout - and it was no surprise that this game was remastered last year to allow players to relive the game through the power of a current gen console.
With everything discussed/praised/criticised, here is my rating for Burnout Paradise...
4.3/5. A VERY WELL CRAFTED GAME FOR AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED FRANCHISE. its remastering gives me a new level of respect for burnout as well...
If you haven't played this game, play it immediately. You will not regret it.