If the world were to come to an end and I was given only one last week to enjoy a select group of video games Burnout Paradise would be my second choice with Donkey Country 2 being my number 1 game of all time. That’s how much I love this game and will continue to love it.
It’s been 10 years since it’s release on Jan 8, 2008 yet it still remains my all time favorite racing game. The racing games genre may have improved greatly in the pass 10 years with more realistic graphics, handling physics, and customization as far as the eye can see. Still Burnout Paradise remains my all time favorite.
Recently Criterion Games shock the world by announcing a remastered version of Burnout Paradise for PS4 and Xbox One. The Remastered version would feature updated graphic running at 60fps and come with ALL the DLCs and game modes that were released for the game. This incredible package is selling for just $39.99 and is worth every penny. I brought the PS4 version and to review, the game is still as fun and addicting as it was on the older consoles. In fact, other than the updated graphics and billboard advisements, everything is very much the same. There is some lagging for a few milliseconds between car selection where the game leave the junk yard and places the car on the road to drive but the game is still as good as it was back in 2008.
The only time it becomes clear that this is on the PS4 is when you hit the share button on the controller and take a screenshot, or record a awesome crash or want to broadcast the game. Otherwise, everything that made this game so great is still there. The insane crashes, the traffic filled streets, DJ Atomica, super jumps, marked man, the awesome sound track, freeroaming online, freeburn challenges, takedown battles.. etc. It’s all still there and its still fun and addicting to play.
The included DLCs, game modes, and map expansion are the icing on the cake allowing players to access them immediately. So you can have toy car races, pop a wheelie in a motorcycle, blast the sirens in a P12 cop car, and catch mad air on The Island in a dune buggy all from the moment you put in the disk.
Perhaps then this freedom to have fun immediately and whenever way you want is it’s biggest fault. We have become use to new games with holding content and charging a ridiculous up front prices for every little thing in the game. We have also become use to waiting for games to download and install and then wait even longer for servers to connect only to have them crash moments later. We are use to gaming being slow and grinding with little payout for our efforts. We have become use to all these things and as such when we encounter a game like Burnout Paradise that is ready to play from the moment the disk is loaded and offers ALL it’s extra content along with the game for just $30.00, its a bit weird.
I think its fair to say that if Burnout Paradise was made in today’s gaming market, everything that made it great would be carved away and be charged a ridiculous price. It’s DLC put into a season pass, while the cars paint schemes and driver outfits would be sold as a Loot Crates. The arcade handling and insane crashes would be replace with newly acquired licensed cars tuned with realistic car physics that can only sustain minimal damage.
The more I play this game the more I realize just how much has been taken away from the player for the sole purpose of making more money. Even more shocking is that if we were to take away the 4k graphics and ability to raise you spoiler 2.1 vs 3.5in, these current racing game titles don’t really have much else to offer. The only “fun” that can be had is when the cars are all maxed out and driven by either The Stig or Ken Block. Multiplayer can be boiled down to just a hand full of cars that are the best in every tier. worse of all is when you finally do want to race with players you need to set aside a minimal of 30 mins so they can tuned and tweak there cars to insure perfection is achieve during every the event. This doesn’t include the racist, sexist, and dickish hatred that comes with online gaming as a whole.
It’s no wonder why the casual audience has left the racing genre and why since the new console generation every racing game is basically the same. Its either Forza or Mario Kart and those are your only two options.
Burnout made it so much easier to play online and crucially provided a means to control the atmosphere of the room. Host can start challenges, start events, create races, or do nothing and allow players to freeroam at their legislature. If there is a player causing problems the host can kick them out the room. They can also choose a car for everyone to drive during a race and create custom checkpoints for drivers to follow during the race. The Freeburn Challenges bring players to together and forces them to work together to achieve a goal especially the timed challenges. This allows friendship to form and allows players to see each other beyond what car their driving. I liked the color coded names and how no car is better than the others as every car even the GT Nighthawk can be taken down.
My most recent time in paradise was a multiplayer takedown battle. These are impromptu brawls where players battle within an intersection in a effort to take each other down. It’s a freeroam thing that happens at random and can last from 5 minutes to almost an hour (no seriously an hour). This takedown battle however was with toy cars and for 25 minutes I was laughing my ass off from the hilarious chaos these toy cars were causes on the screen. At one point me and another player driving toy cars ganged up on a GT Nighthawk which a fictional car base off the modern reboot of Steve McQueen’s Night Rider back in the early 2,000’s. It also happens to be the strongest, fastest, and best handling car in the entire game. Still, here in this takedown battle, it has getting whip by a Tonka Truck and toy van that looks like a washing machine on wheels.
In many ways that’s how I would describe Burnout Paradise to someone who has never played it . “It is a Tonka Truck crashing into a Ferrari”. The Ferrari representing the norms of the racing game genre; where graphics and realism dominate the market while the Tonka truck representing Burnout; is a kid who doesn’t really care about how realistic the dump truck looks or however accurate it’s tipping bucket functions but rather how much fun he’s going to have while playing in this sandbox with this Tonka Truck.
In that regard I think Paradise will continue to be one of the all time greats in the racing game genre even after another 10 years have passed. The Freedom it offers to do whatever, whenever, and how ever the player wants is a welcomed relief to the current norms of repetitive gameplay, endless grinding, fees for every piece of content, and server nonavailability due to corporative nonsense.