Burnout Paradise Review

August 10, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Link to review

Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Criterion Games
Genre: Racing
Number of Players: 1-8
Release Date:
Also Available On: PlayStation 3
Features: Xbox Live, Memory Unit, Custom Soundtrack,
Downloadable Content, Steering Wheel Support,
Mic/Headset Voice Support

Come on down to paradise city, and bring a friend…or 7

Criterion high aggression racer finally hands us the next in line in the ever popular Burnout series. Taking the race to the next level, no holds barred with this track-less free roam racing game. Where taking the wrong turn could be a worse decision than picking a fight with an SUV.

As with all good racing games, the story is kept short. That’s right, there isn’t one, just you, your radio and a fleet of other racers out in Paradise City that just cant wait to swap paint with you. You begin with your lowest form of License available in the city, and completing a certain amount of events will allow you to upgrade your license. All the events are available to you from the start, if you can find it, you can take part in it.

Without your usual base of menus to shift through when you pick an event you need to rely on yourself to find everything. All 120 events are dotted around the map, and are only playable (and visible on the map) once you’ve found it. The events are your typical Race event, getting from one checkpoint to the other. Marked Man, an event where only YOU must get from the checkpoint to your destination. The only thing stopping you is a small army of devilish racers who will stop at nothing to push you around so much; you’ll wanna turn round and go home. The ever favorite with all makes a return ‘Road Rage’ where you find yourself battling with other drivers across the city with a target amount of takedowns to achieve before your car is taken fully out. The Burnout: Takedown familiar ‘Burning Route’ where you must again, get from one checkpoint to another using a specific car, if successful you’ll be granted with a updated version if the car you had to use. And finally stunt run, sort of taken from the pages of EA’s SSX where your given a short amount of time to complete stunts to earn points, stunts can be earned from taking jumps, driving recklessly and smashing through some of the other challenges around the game.

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

Originally worried that the open world feel of the races would remove some of the high-end aggression that 3 and Revenge managed to capture I was rest assured when I played a few of the races followed by some of the marked men events. With only 2-3 cars trying to hunt you down, these were a breeze however later on in the game, you can have up to 6 cars creating havoc and working together to really give you a hard time and make sure you don’t cross the finish line.

As well as all these events to take part in, there are other things hidden around the city for you to collect, these vary from Billboards set up in high stunt positions to landing all of the biggest jumps around. And with the size of the city, there are a lot of these to find each with their rewards once you’ve got them all. Luckily these can be found whilst playing online with friends also which makes the searching a little easier and fun. However the events will only register as found during the single player game, once a friend is joined you cannot find or take part in the races and other events in the main game which means the player must still play the game a lot on their own if they are to find everything.

As well as this, you can also take part in Road Rule’s these are time trials down each street and high scores in Paradise’s crash mode. Beat the score on both of these rules to rule the road completely. These can also be done online within your friend’s lists. You can keep track of the latest via the feeds given over the radio and across the bottom of the screen.

Online features are limited, with free-roam, and challenges for everyone to take part in, this is where the main length of multiplayer will lie. Races are also playable but this is the only other event available. The challenges vary from meeting up at certain points to performing stunts at certain landmarks. There are 50 challenges for each amount of players. So whether you’ve got just you and a friend or even 7 other friends, there’s 50 challenges for you all to take part in, totaling up into 350 challenges to complete.

If you have an Xbox Live Vision Camera, say cheese! Being taken out or winning races online will take a snapshot of your shocked face as a new rival just pummeled you into a wall, so show some teeth!

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

For those of you fans who had your heart set on a metal wrenching new Crash to play with, this time round, Crash is no more. The idea was scrapped for what is now know as ‘Showtime’ this allows the player the freedom to create a crash junction on whatever road they choose, with a simple tab of the two bumpers you’ll enter crash mode, where taking down the traffic is the game whilst you earn more boost to push launch yourself in whichever direction you chose to land on your next victim.

A lot of people who were big fans of Crash may not enjoy this new replacement but though I loved crashing in game with Burnout, the set-up crash junctions just weren’t doing it for me as much as the mid-race ones, so a change in that department was more than welcome to me.

The Showtime also tie’s in with the Road Rules meaning you need to do it on each and every road so you can rule that road either online or offline.

Unfortunately the change to free roam often leaves the ability to take the wrong route and make more mistakes than usual in a normal tracked race. The lack of being able to reset your car mid-game is also a large problem due to the ability of you getting stuck somewhere, this is usually where you’ll have to call in a friend to try dislodge you from that place otherwise, there’s no escape but restarting your 360. Something which I never used myself in Revenge but could really use in Paradise is the record clips or take photo option; this would be a great way to capture those memorable wrecks and crashes.

The soundtracks that EA picked for their trax this time round are a little different than usual. As always your greeted with your typical indie and rock from a lot of un-heard bands with a few familiars chucked in to keep it mixed with the old and new, but this installment has a few…sore thumbs shall we say?

Adam and the Ants’s track ‘Stand and Deliver’ I cant really say drives me with the passion to mow down my fellow burners and for that matter, neither does Avril Lavignes ‘Girlfriend’ they just don’t…fit with the game like other songs do.

As well as these tracks, we are given almost the entire back catalogue of music created for the game from Burnout1/2 and 3. Could this, along with the re-vamped title music be a way of tying off the old Burnout to set out in a new direction with Burnout for future releases?

Behind the tracks the only other thing you’ll be hearing is the roar of your engines, and the body work scraping and flaking away on other cars or solid objects all give that intense feel in the drivers seat a little more zoom.

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

Visually, this game is a graphic treat, the cars look beautiful and backgrounds and roads are just as great as the cars.
A lot of attention in the detail of the cars has gone in this time round, with each car having its own take on damage, parts flap off as you speed on, your roof becomes a part of your seating if you take to many rolls and each scratch shows its mark.

Not only that, but parts of your engine can be seen behind the wheel arches showing off a little bit more detail than they needed. Top that off with starting your car up and the headlights flashing on with some very realistic burnout/wheel spin visuals and you got yourself a great looking car game.

With a total of 120 offline events, all which a done at least more than once, the things to find around the city and the road rules, offline will keep you going for quite a time.

When you bring online into it, 350 challenges and being able to either race or just roam free is what will bring in the most of the extra hours on this game.

A game which I feel should be looked at as a completely different game as to Burnout history, as disappointed as I was to see the changes, it more than made up for it in what it now has to offer. My welcome to Paradise City is a warm one, and I don’t plan on leaving soon.

Rating: 8.7

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