Burnout Paradise Review
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Burnout Paradise is the freshest racing experience in a long time. This complete re-invention of the series revitalizes the racing genre, immersing players in a true paradise.
- Remarkable “flow,” especially regarding the seamless online integration
- Incredibly detailed graphics with spectacular crashes
- Sheer amount of bang for your buck
- Paradise City is more accurately Paradise Ghost Town
- Showtime, while fun, is no replacement for the old Crash mode
(continued from previous page) ...to achieve and a time limit in which to do so. To take down another car, you merely have to smash into them until they crash. It’s simple, unadulterated fun. In Marked Man, the roles are reversed, as the hunter becomes the hunted. You have to make your way to a destination without getting taken out by the frenzied cars that are constantly on your tail. It’s not quite the blast that Road Rage is, but it nonetheless amounts to a solid experience.
The final mode, Stunt Run, combines open world driving with the old school Tony Hawk games to create a combo based score system. You’ll receive points for boosting, drifting, jumping, and so on, while super jumps, flat spins, barrel rolls and the like garner point multipliers. The end result of a Stunt Run is an exhilarating experience attempting to string multiple maneuvers together to overcome a particular score barrier.
One factor that may frustrate players is the lack of an option to restart an event should you fail. You literally have to drive back to the intersection where the event began to give it another go. It’s not the end of the world though, as you’ll eventually discover to play the game in a manner that optimizes the title’s aforementioned flow. After losing at an event, we learned to either search for a different event or just cruise around Paradise City looking stylish in our shiny automobile.
Speaking of shiny automobiles, Burnout Paradise’s cars look brilliant, as does the world around them. With an engine built from scratch leading on the PlayStation 3, the game runs at a rock solid 60 frames per second with amazing draw distances and sense of speed that will make your eyes bulge. It’s quite the technological accomplishment.
What is most impressive about Paradise’s visuals is the insanely detailed car deformation. As you crash, your car will realistically deform in real time based on a highly complex physics engine. The brilliant camera angles and effects accentuate the crashes, allowing for some jaw-dropping moments filled with warped steel and shattered glass. We would have loved to see a system that let you save your greatest crashes in the wake of the 'Skate.Reel' feature seen in EA’s recent ‘Skate.’ Perhaps in the next Burnout installment this absence will be filled by such a system.
At any time during a crash, or actually at any time whatsoever, feel free to enter “Showtime,” a mode in which you control your crashing car and attempt to huck the barreling steel body at anything destructible you lay your eyes on. Namely other cars are your targets, but you’ll also take out signs and poles in an attempt to cause as much damage as possible. We say ‘huck’ to illustrate the lack of reality this mode entails. It seems invisible forces are prodding at your car whenever you use boost, gained by hitting things, as you careen it along searching for targets (hint: go for the buses over anything else, as they act as multipliers). As for duration, it’s technically possible to travel the entire length of Paradise City in a single bout of Showtime. One of our chief complaints with this mode is it relies too heavily on luck – sometimes buses show up seemingly every fifth car, while sometimes you’ll go a mile without seeing one, or many other cars for that matter. Although too over-the-top, Showtime remains enjoyable, but the Crash mode seen in last-generation Burnouts is far superior.
The only missing element in Paradise City is, well, a population. You won’t see a single human being anywhere in this entire game. We understand that Criterion didn’t want this to turn into a ‘run over random civilians’ style Grand Theft Auto experience, but even your car lacks a driver. Perhaps the machines have gained enough intelligence to wipe out all the humans and rule Paradise City themselves, often partaking in high-speed joy rides and intense Stunt Runs. Perhaps not. We will never know.
Ignore that latest hypothetical, and indulge yourself in listening to Guns N’ Roses’ song ‘Paradise City’ as you read from here on out. Really, listen to it right now. Think it would work well in Burnout? Well, ... (continued on next page)