berezov's Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360) review

*Paradise related cliché*

Burnout, never heard of it? it’s an aggressive, awesome full out in-your-face racing game that encourages trading paint. Let’s talk about Paradise, why is it Paradise? Is this really Paradise Josh? Is it?! Sure it is, Burnout Paradise gives you the ability straight from the start to explore the beautiful Paradise City, complete with the Guns and Roses song, stunt markers, fully featured online; everything! It’s really awesome.

Burnout has stuck to its roots very firmly by keeping the boost meter intact, but what they have removed though is Crash mode. “Oh my balls!” you say? No, no, no relax, Crash mode has been replaced by an all new mode: Showtime. At any given time you can simply press LB + RB on your Xbox 360 controller, to go into Showtime - whether it be in a middle of a race or online with your friends - tap the buttons and you’ll enter a mode where your car will go on its side and you can then blow up any car by simply guiding your vehicle into it. Signs will also crumble if you even slightly touch them, doesn’t sound realistic? Well did you even read the first part? The car will simply turn on its side, it’s quite hard to do that you know, with a van. Pressing the “A” button in this mode will use up your boost and push you forward a bit more to nudge you to the next set of cars but the catch is that the higher the score you have will result in the boost meter depleting faster.  

So we talked about the new mode but what about the core gameplay. You can play race mode - which is obvious, burning route, where you race a specific route built just for your car to unlock a “better” version, stunt mode, which is quite overwhelming at first since you have an entire city to choose your stunt place of choice and you’ll probably end up using the beach as it has a string of ramps and billboards which means a bigger multiplier. Then you have takedown mode where you…erm… takedown other cars. The most awesome feature on Burnout Paradise has to be the online experience. Instead of quitting out of your game you press right on the D-Pad and oh, another set of menus, how cool. Here you’ll get options to choose different modes. You’ve got Freeburn Online, where you can join in your friend’s city, invite him or her to your city or just join a quick or custom match with random strangers. Keep in mind this is all open world and there are no loading times, so pretty awesome. Another feature is that when you take someone down online you’ll receive a photo from the victim’s Xbox Live Vision camera, the downside to which is you may be treated to photos of sweaty ballsacks one time too many.

Graphically, Burnout Paradise is... well the city looks amazing. Even though a day to night cycle would have been nice it still doesn’t take away the awesomeness that this city radiates. The map size is about the size of Grand Theft Auto III back on the PS2; it can seem a little small but when playing online you don’t really want the map to be the size of a city like London. The cars look great, when beaten up you can see the car is struggling to move and it feels satisfying to get a repair… and then fuck it up again. The one thing that’s really irritating though, is that there is no driver in the seat of the car! What the hell, seriously? It feels like you, the player, are remotely controlling the car instead of driving it.  

In terms of sound this game can just suck my balls. Soundtrack and voice acting on each one; I hate the DJ and his dialogue… it makes me want to punch a baby in the face. The soundtrack doesn’t fit in theme with the game, I like a wide variety of genres myself but when racing down a street I don’t want to listen to Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne. The sound effects really do just like to rub it in when you crash and the game goes in slow motion showing the car break in appropriate places it’s an amazing experience and makes you think about what it would be like if someone you don’t like was in that car, which is always a plus. 

You’ll be getting a lot out of this game. You have a full single player experience with Burnout Licenses you need to get which allow you to progress. To get the Burnout Elite License though you’ll need to complete every event in the game. Then you have your online challenges which can be enjoyed with up to 8 people. With all these modes and such you start to realise that Burnout Paradise is almost unmatched in the racing genre, it provides hours of entertainment and will surely keep you engaged from being a D class driver to a Burnout Elite. All in all, Burnout Paradise has an open city which isn’t some gimmicky feature; it works and most of all it’s fun. Playing online with your friends is a blast and the exchanging of the old Crash mode for Showdown mode may anger some but it works. Burnout pros and novices will enjoy Paradise on different levels; I don’t know what category I fall under, but I sure as hell enjoyed it.

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