Burnout Paradise

29 09 2008
The cover for Burnout Paradise

The cover for Burnout Paradise

Developer: Criterion Games

Publisher: Electronic Arts

HD Resolution: 720p, 1080i

Harddrive space required: 476 mb install, 1500 kb (approx.) per save

Genre: Racing

Mode: Single player, multiplayer (online only)

PEGI & FPB rating: 3+

Burnout Paradise is the latest instalment in the hugely successful Burnout series from Criterion Games. The major change from past games is that, instead of having set tracks to race on, the developers have given the player total freedom, and a whole city to play around in. The map at the bottom of the page shows the huge area that us lucky gamers have been given. That’s right, just like in Need for Speed Underground and its sequels, you can now drive around the whole fictional Paradise City, basically doing whatever you feel like doing. If you feel like just going for a random drive around the city, that’s fine. If you feel like doing some events, simply pull up to any of the 120 traffic lights and spin your wheels to start one of five different event types. If you feel like crashing into traffic and trying to do as much damage as possible, that’s also fine: simply hit R1 and L1 to activate “Showtime” at any time and laugh maniacally at the carnage you cause. Of course, if you feel like setting some records, every single road in Paradise has a time to beat, as well as a Showtime score to beat.

These records on every road are available in two flavours: online and offline. When you are signed into the PlayStation Network, you can compare every score on every road with your friends. A nifty little feature, and one that will certainly get the competitive among you running the same roads over and over in an attempt to beat your friends’ scores.

Online integration is also done so spectacularly. Simply by pushing right on the directional pad, the “Easy Drive” menu is opened, allowing access to all online features such as starting races, checking news from Criterion and even seeing which friends are online. It really is an amazing system, much better than the cumbersome lobbies that were a hallmark of online play for older games. While on the topic of online play, it is really a pleasure playing online. Through the Easy Drive system, it is as simple as searching for games (or hosting your own and inviting friends). Literally, that is all there is too it. There is no load or anything (well, obviously depending on your connection speed), you are just suddenly in the online game, driving around the exact same city with up to 7 other players. It gets pretty intense.

Progression through the game is achieved by virtual licenses. You start with a learners permit, and you have to win a certain number of events in order to earn a higher license. As mentioned, there are 120 events scattered throughout the city, and most of them reset every time you get a new license. In addition to resetting the events, you are given a brand new car for every event, which is a nice touch. Other new cars are unlocked after completed a certain number of events, and, instead of them simply being given to you, they are released wild into Paradise city, and if you happen to see them driving around as you are driving around, you have to chase after them and take them down to earn the car. This is really fun to do 🙂 Speaking of events, which I guess we were a few sentences ago, there are five different offline types of events:

  • Race: A simple race from the starting intersection to one of 8 ending points, in each cardinal point of the city, North, North-East, East etc. Oh did I mention that there is no set route? Literally, you can take any way in the race to the finish.
  • Road Rage: My favourite event and a staple of recent Burnout games. You have the entire city to drive around in, and cars will constantly spawn around you, and you have to make a certain amount of them crash in order to win. Very fun.
  • Marked Man: In this event, you have to race to one of the above mentioned finishing points while being pursued by a group of heavy police cars. If you get taken out too many times you lose.
  • Stunt Run: This is my least favourite event, although it can be quite fun if you get it right. You have to chain together stunts to raise your multiplier and get a high score.
  • Burning Route: Certain intersections have events reserved for specific cars. These are burning routes, and you have to get from Point A to Point B in under a certain time in the specific car. These events don’t reset with a new license and you are awarded (automatically, straight to your garage (called a junkyard), not that you have to first hunt them down) an upgraded version of that car on completion.

Oh and I’m not even remembering to mention all the collectibles there are. Throughout the whole of Paradise, there are signature jumps which you can ramp your car through, 400 “crashes” (which are little yellow gates which signify shortcuts) to find and crash through, Burnout billboards to find and smash through and a multitude of drive throughs (such as petrol stations (which refill your boost), spray shops (which randomly change your car’s colours), repair shops (which fix your car and extend your life during Marked Man and Road Rage events) and junkyards to find. Really, there is so much to do it can be quite intimidating.

The game is also amazing value for money. Already, Criterion has released three different patches to the game, providing more cars and online challenges. Their latest addition was just a small one to add trophies to the game, but the one before it, named the Bikes Pack, added an amazing amount of content to the game. This included (for the first time ever in a Burnout game), the ability to ride motorbikes, two timed challenges for the motorbikes on every street, a night and day cycle (another first for the Burnout series), dynamic weather and additional online modes. The first update for the game was called “Cagney” and it added a whole lot of online game modes, online challenges and additional cars to use online. Offline, it added custom soundtrack support, so that you could play any music on your hard drive, and 1080i support. There is also a fourth patch currently in the works, which is going to bring extra driving area in the form of a totally new island, connected by bridges to the rest of Paradise city. There are rumours that this is the first of many similar islands, but I guess we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for that one right?

Graphically, the game is amazing. Pure and simple, amazing. The screenshots below don’t do it justice, even on a standard definition TV (note to self: buy a HD TV…). The game looks incredible, the shadows and textures and lighting are all amazing. And since the bikes pack, and the introduction of the dynamic weather and the day / night cycle, there is an added depth to the game that only adds to the fantastic visuals.. I’m running out of adjectives to use here, and that’s just a sign of how good the game is.

Burnout Paradise also features an amazing soundtrack, with bands like Seether, Senses Fail, Killswitch Engage and Guns ‘n’ Roses contributing songs. Of course, if you get tired of listening to the supplied soundtrack (which will happen if you play for hours on end, or even if you manage to win your Elite license), you can always switch to custom soundtracks, assuming you have downloaded the above mentioned Cagney updage, and play any music that is currently on your PS3 hard drive.

At the end of the day, I’d say that this game is a must have for everybody. The that I could find with this game is the inability to restart events if you don’t win them, or even halfway through. I totally understand why the developers didn’t included this option though, as it would have totally broken up the gameplay to suddenly appear at the intersection where you just came from. Still, it gets annoying at times. [Edit: 23 February. As of the latest patch the restart option has been included!] Another minor gripe I have is with the stunt run events. They are a real challenge to get right, and the difficulty curve suddenly gets bumped up quite steeply as you get higher licenses. Still, those two little problems don’t stop me from giving this game a 10/10. Go buy it now!




2 responses

10 09 2009

Great stuff!!…..Very interesting blog….Thanks a lot. This is hdtv reviews blog.It’s definitely everything for HDTV

16 06 2012
jacob echavarria

I used to have this game until I moved and it got lost somewhere. : ( it was my favorite game. whyyyyyyyyy cruel world!

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