Burnout Paradise Remastered is back on our modern supercharged consoles with 4K visuals and a blistering 60fps, however is it enough to get your motor running?
Burnout Paradise was developed by the amazing team over at Criterion Games who brought us the entire Burnout series. I remember playing the first Burnout title on the day the Nintendo GameCube launched back in May 2002, it was absolutely mind blowing. The sheer speed of the racing combing with the best crash physics at the time made for a true showcase for my friends every time they came around. Since then, Burnout spawned many sequels across many platforms and the last title I actually played in the series was Burnout Paradise for the Xbox 360 back in 2008 which was both a reimagining of the traditional burnout formula as well as one of the best looking racers at the time.
Fast forward to 2018 and we have a remastered version of Burnout Paradise to explore, this time on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. For the purposes of this review, I was playing on an Xbox One X console. Essentially Burnout Paradise Remastered is an open world racing game that is set in the fictional city called “Paradise City”. Here in Paradise City you can compete in a number of races, both online and offline, different modes such as cops and robbers. Also, it’s important to note that the remastered version includes all previously available DLC packs which are all completely unlocked from the moment you turn the key, so that includes motor bikes for those wondering.
You begin your adventure with the basic tutorial of the city that shows you the basics as you begin to explore. The map is pretty bare with only 2 or 3 waypoints to begin with that strategically take you through a gas station to refill your boost, to a garage that allows you to change and repair your rides. It eases you in nicely to the Paradise City formula which I like just as much today as I did 10 years ago. After all there is nothing worse than a cluttered map that can give you the feeling of being completely over run with choices that can be made. The simplistic start encourages you to explore the map and enter races or events, jumps and stunts as you please.
To find a race all you need to do is head to any intersection and rev your engine by pressing both the left and right triggers simultaneously. Sometimes you won’t know what’s there until you try which mixes up the formula a little. You cannot set way points to specific events via the GPS like most modern games. Instead you have to rely on your memory which is not a bad thing as the city is not massive or the size of Hawaii from Test Drive Unlimited, it’s bearable. Having no GPS makes races and events that little bit more interesting as there are multiple ways you can get to the finish line, utilising short cuts and jumps where possible, but what the game does is use street signs to indicate where your next turn is. If there is a right turn coming up, the street sign will encroach from the right side of the screen towards the centre as you approach the turn. It’s a good alternative to a GPS, but honestly a GPS option would be far better given you’re travelling at blistering speeds one doesn’t have time to look at a map or street sign.
The vehicle choices here are extensive given all the DLC is already unlocked, so there is no need to grind for better rides. Essentially you can select the cars from the garage and get racing quickly. Burnout Paradise Remastered is also that of an arcade racer so don’t expect to have cars handle with precision. This is all about high speed, fast turns and lots of nitrous oxide to cause that speed blur on screen and it’s all executed extremely well.
Some of the drawbacks with Burnout Paradise Remastered are things that simply weren’t part of the original game, however a decade later seem to be the staple of most racers. The first is the lack of the GPS system which I discussed above. The second point that I must make is the lack of a rewind feature. Miss a turn, crash your ride, bad luck. It makes events that little bit more challenging without any second changes. Again some gamers see this as a positive, and was worth noting.
Burnout Paradise Remastered succeeds with its exploration and vast array of collectables, road signs, secret pathways and more. Half the fun comes from launching your car off a bridge, barging over signs and skidding through gates and secret areas. It’s more than just point to point racing which is broken up with the exploration here as well, which for the time was a great addition and one of the biggest changes to the Burnout formula. The more you race the more your rank will rise, exposing you to more difficult races and challenges, so hopefully you won’t hold that learners permit for too long.
All in all there are over 150 vehicles from over eight expansions available here, not just cars, but bikes too as well as additional tracks. There is a tremendous amount of value to be enjoyed and it can easily chew 40 hours of your time or more should you let it.
Graphics & Sound
Visually Burnout Paradise looks sharp and crisp at 4K resolution and exceedingly fast at 60 frames per second which is key when playing fast paced shooters and driving style games. Given the sheer speed of Burnout Paradise Remastered, anything less than 60fps just wouldn’t have felt right at all. Part of my mind thought that this was how it always looked, however I had access to the Xbox 360 version as well thanks to backwards compatibility and instantly I could see just how thick those rose tinted glasses were that I was wearing.
Although the visuals look great, you soon realise just how far other racing games have come since 2008, especially when comparing these to the likes of Forza Horizon. There is only so much sharpness you can add to a remastered title, as the original game simply lacked a lot of the details that newer titles included. This isn’t a bad thing, it just shows its age a little when compared to newer open world racing games.
In terms of the games audio, the commentary still reminds me of a radio host after one too many buzz cola’s so to speak, but is still tolerable. The music sound tracks that play through the game are great and a flashback to the music from a decade ago. Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’ still reminds me of 2008 in many ways and the tunes felt like a trip down memory lane which was great.
Burnout Paradise Remastered made some great design choices back in the day that hold true today. The open world city design is fantastic, as is the tremendous value with all the previously available content included here in the package. It’s priced right at $59.95 RRP and will give you a solid amount of playtime as well. It’s no Forza Horizon 3, but in many ways its very similar and was a pioneer in terms of open world racing titles. My advice, pick it up and have yourself some high octane racing and silly amounts of fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s what makes this game so special.
Thank you to EA and Digitas for providing a copy of Burnout Paradise Remastered for review purposes.