I want to take you down to Paradise City, where the cars are fast and the girls are pretty. Playing Burnout will confirm all of the things mentioned inside of that song, and it will forever change how you feel about racing games. Well, minus the fact that there are no girls in Burnout Paradise. The cars? They’re very, very pretty…and they go fast.
As we begin our tour through Paradise City there are some things that I want to be certain to point out to you in hopes that you’ll decide to pack up and move from whatever you are playing now, and enjoy the high speed world of Paradise City. It has a lot to offer, in fact it almost has too much to even thoroughly discuss.
First on our stop is the obvious, Paradise City must be one of the most beautiful destinations on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. The developers over at Criterion not only had to use a lot of imagination to come up with this playground, but a lot of skill to make it look so good. From the sky above, to the buildings that surround you there is a feeling of actually being a part of this world. It isn’t that they took a really realistic route with the game, but that it is so alive that as you drive through you feel like you are a part of the magic. Great detail must’ve been taken to the design of every building, tree, statue, road, and sign. You don’t go but half a mile and see something new or interesting.
Each of the cars are equally incredible, each with a different design or color that makes them distinct from any other. Every type of car imaginable, and it is there. Each of the cars fall under a few different categories. There are stunt cars, speed cars, and then vehicles with a lot of endurance. Each of them are equipped with a different type of boost that changes the way you’ll race, take-down, and take care of the burning routes.
The single player in the game is alone worth the price, and gives a lot of value to an already quality title. When you begin the game in a car you’ll start out with a very basic stunt vehicle. With time and skill, you could complete every stoplight mission there is in the game, but you won’t want to try.
As you reach a stoplight, the single player game begins. It might just be a basic race from point A to B, or a round of take-down where you smash up as many cars as possible. The Burning route is basically racing against a certain time, with your only barrier the traffic in Paradise City.
While you complete these different tasks, your “Driver’s License” for the game will gain higher, and higher rankings. After you reach the next rank, you can do all of the missions again, plus a few more. Think of it as earning experience points, and leveling up…although that’s about as far as it goes.
One nifty thing about this license is that you’ll be able to use your Xbox Live Vision Camera to put your mug right where it belongs, otherwise you can throw up your Avatar, or other gamerpic up there of your choosing. The Vision Camera is also used during multiplayer. Every single time you take someone down and they have a camera, it shows their picture. Of course the same goes with you.
Paradise City is home to many other drivers who are absolutely crazy. On the single player side of things, you’re racing, and road-raging against some intelligent AI. More likely than not, you will lose some of the events you participate in. The challenge is great, almost to the point of frustration…almost.
The multiplayer on the other hand is a whole new world in and of itself. Once you connect to the internet, a whole new set-up is available for you to explore. How it works is unique, and addicting. Is it only you and a friend? That’s fine. You’ll be given a slough of two-car challenges to complete. From racing, to jumping, to twists, flips, and spins…you’ll be smashing through Paradise City with your friend of choice to the tune of destruction. Getting online is simple, and the integration if seamless.
Have two friends? Three? Four? Five? Six? Even Seven? You’ll be able to add to the carnage and come up with even more incredible stuns as you turn the city into your own playground. This challenge mode is only a small part of the multiplayer offerings. You can always spend hours taking down your enemies, or friends. You can race, or just see how many degrees of flat spin you all can accumulate. It does not matter, whatever you want. Paradise City is your playground.
Criterion has developed an amazing arcade racer, in fact it could be the best arcade racer of this current console cycle. With that said, they’ve taken advantage of the whole downloadable content phenomenon, and they aren’t taking advantage of you. Criterion has released multiple content packages to improve upon the quality of the game, add vehicles, and even motorcycles. While they are releasing some paid-for DLC, it is not their main focus. To watch a developer continue to support a game that is now only $19.99 is absolutely refreshing, and they should be applauded for it.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. Burnout Paradise is not completely perfect. The voice of narration throughout the game, DJ Atomica, is incredibly annoying. It isn’t that he sounds bad, but hearing him comment on everything you do gets annoying. While all the licenced music in the game is great, listening to Paradise City by Guns n’ Roses gets incredibly old after the 100th time of booting up the game. Those gripes are minimal, and easily ignorable. That’s what the custom soundtrack is for, right?
Burnout Paradise is an amazing playground. Remember the days of ramping Hot Wheels around your bedroom? Yeah, it’s like that…even better.
Reviewer’s note: The Xbox 360 version was tested for this review
It is almost flawless. Menus are a bit tough to navigate at times.
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So much to see and do, and amazing control over all of the cars.
The licenced music is great, but DJ Atomica and the theme song get old quick.
You can always come back to the city, and there always seems to be something new to play.
It's a must own, hands down.