At the start of this year the first true “next-gen” Burnout was delivered to us. Anyone familiar with the franchise knows what to expect from Burnout, but for the newcomers here’s a rundown. Burnout Paradise places you in the fictional Paradise City, home of Burnout driving. The game is essentially a sandbox, a first for the series, and the entire world is open from the start of the game.
Throughout Paradise city there are 120 events, these events are triggered by pulling up to a stoplight and revving your engine. This provides the ability to find a challenge anywhere, a nice change of pace from other racing games. The five types of events create a nice sense of variety, coupled with the fact that the route you blaze during the event is entirely up to you. There are three types of event styles, the point to point where you race from you stoplight to one of eight finish lines in the city, one for each of the eight compass points, either racing other cars or trying to reach the end without being destroyed, and trying to beat a certain time with a certain car. The other style is a score type, where you either rack up points by doing tricks or have to take down a certain amount of drivers. This sounds like every other Burnout game, with the exception of the free roaming of course, but that’s the point, if you fail an event just pull up to the next light and start a different one, there’s no pressure to try and try again to beat a specific event.
When you win events you get a mark, these marks upgrade you license and unlock cars to receive at the junkyard, when you upgrade your license the event list is cleared, opening every event for you to tackle again, with a slightly harder difficulty of course. One of the new additions that is particularly amusing is, certain races release new cars into the city, if you want that car you have to take it down, creating a new way to add cars to your inventory that feels refreshing from the slandered either buy it or it’s just given to you ways of unlocking. There is one other thing, possibly the biggest and most loved part of the game is the crash mode. Sadly the old puzzle style of hitting the right point at the right time to cause maximum destruction is gone. But why you might ask, how is this is a good thing? The answer is that crash modes replacement, Showtime mode is even better than the original. Now you pick your street, the press L1 and R1 at the same time, this activates Showtime mode, your boost meter is filled half way and you begin rolling down the road, hit traffic to gain points and boost, hit boost to keep rolling, it’s simple, it’s also quite possibly one of the best parts of the game. Trying to beat online scores or developer scores is addictive and challenging it’s the perfect crash mode replacement, I tip my hat to you Critereon, you have achieved the unthinkable, you made a mode even better than crash mode.
But wait there’s more, not only do you have this giant world to explore and conquer, but you have the ability to do it with seven other people. At any time seven other people can pop-in to your game at their leisure, leave at any time, and do whatever they want. Do you want to work together and create a Showtime score of unthinkable proportions? Done. Do you want to be an ass and attempt to sabotage anything that your friend is doing? Done. And the nice added bonus, if you have a USB camera hooked up to your PS3, when you get taken down, it snaps a picture and sends it to that person, letting them bask in the glory of seeing your downdraught, frustrated face, or if you want use the time to pose in whatever way you want (please obey the unspoken law of the internet, no genitalia).
Burnout Paradise is the best Burnout to date, the only problem I had was its menu system even though it’s barely used, it still felt confusing, but the amount of content packed into this game, and the quality of said content gladly makes up for this small flaw. The game is beautiful, the sound effects are high quality and the soundtrack is large and diverse. If you like Burnout, buy this game.