As an avid racing fan, I was eagerly anticipating Burnout Paradise. I played on Burnout 3: Takedown for what seemed an eternity online, it was sheer racing bliss. The likes of which i had never seen before. So i was eager to see if Burnout Paradise would live up to my expectations. I was wary since i wasn't overly keen on some of the features added into Burnout Revenge.
It is however, amazing. This iteration of Burnout has taken a huge leap from older burnouts in alot of ways, most notably, that it is now an openworld city. But the cars (which consist of over 70) come in classes of speed, stunt and aggression. And each of these classes utilise the boost formats from Burnout games 1,2 and 3. Speed class cars use the boost system from burnout 1, whereby you have to fill your boost bar entirely before using it. If you use the whole bar in one shot, you'll create a 'burnout' and the boost will fill the bar again. Boosting properly will create chains where you could boost endlessly. The stunt class cars boost system is simply fill the boost bar by performing dangerous driving and stunts. And the aggression class cars have boost systems which have 2X, or 3X (for instance) stamped at the end of the bar. This was seen from burnout 3 whereby sections are added to the boost bar to enable you to boost longer. The aggresion cars can also traffic check, which is a feature I’m glad Criterion dumbed down in Paradise. Overall the variety in the boost system makes this Burnout feel fresh and it works really well. Thumbs up Criterion
They've worked the race mechanics into the map well. At every road intersection there is an event. So you are never too far from a race. I have heard people complain about how there is no 'restart race' button. Well...so what? That hasn't annoyed me at all. If you've lost a race, just drive down the road a bit and do a new race. It really is a simple concept. There are no main menu's to speak of when you start the game, the city is your menu. So you will have to drive to your destinations. And I've played it for 15 hours total and still love just driving places.
'Showtime' is a new edition to this new instalment of Burnout. It is in a word, 'mental' and takes the Burnout experience even further. At anytime, even during a race, hit the L1 + R1 buttons and your car will flip. You can now guide your car in any direction to hit oncoming traffic as your score goes up. Using boost will make your car travel further and hitting a bus will increase your multiplier. You can continue this across the entire city if you so wish and/or can.
As for the online, I've never seen it brought into a game so simply. Simply one touch of the right d-pad button and a small online menu appears. If you choose to 'freeburn' you are instantly brought online with no loading screens. The online aspect, (which for me is key in burnout) works really well. When starting a race online in BP, it will show the car line-up on the road and will zoom to 3 cars which will tell you to watch out for. The screen will focus on one car and state one of his most impressive stats, and then the race starts. A brilliant little touch. The open-world city makes racing online in this burnout a brand new experience, and a very pleasurable one.
As for music, I’m half pleased and half disappointed. What I’m namely disappointed about is Criterion said they were including music from Burnout 3. And they have, but what it actually is, is the little organ tunes you get when you win a car and so forth, not the proper music. In fact I’ve turned the music from Burnout 1,2 and 3 off. But the real music is great, it fits the Paradise city well. The ps3 edition doesn't include custom user play lists, however i see no reason that this can't be added later on with an update, just like Super Stardust HD did.
The physics in this game are superb too. Booting it down a highway and misjudging a corner, i came careering into a concrete wall whereby the camera hits 'slo-mo' and shows my car crumple up into something so distorted, it looks nothing like the car I pulled out the garage with. Some cars crumple up better then others, notably cars that have the engine in the back. Because....dayum, if you crash, your headlights will be kissing your face
The idea i think Criterion were trying to create was to make this whole map a burnout racers paradise. The roads are all designed to simply enjoy driving down. Corners have been designed so you can properly drift round them while sending by passers number plates spinning. It really is a joy to drive in. When properly racing, the outside view is usually my view of choice, however the inside view has a much greater sense of speed. It always brings a smile to my face when i hit the inside view.
Summary: If you're vaguely interested in racing games, buy Burnout Paradise. Whether it's the PS3 or 360 version, just buy the game, it really is that good