innerblueabyss's Burnout Paradise (PlayStation 3) review

Burnout Paradise (PS3, PC) - Review 2009

Review from

I am going to just straight out say it: Burnout Paradise is the best Next Gen game to come out on any platform yet.  There, I said it.  You can now stop reading this and go buy it if you haven’t.  If you have not bought this game yet, go do so, THEN read my review.  I don’t care what console or PC you buy it on, just buy the damn game already, nothing im about to say is going to sway your opinion otherwise.  If you consider yourself a gamer, or even a game enthusiast and are not a brainwashed Nintendo-Applesque’ hardcore remote waggler, its your duty to purchase this game.

Story: Your a driver, you like to win, you like to crash, and you like to unlock cars.  There is a crazy annoying DJ calling himself Atomica, who will chime in any chance he gets to annoy you and make up tales of stunts and accidents he has made up in his own head.  The city is based on Los Angeles and some outlining county’s of California, and is HUGE.

Presentation: Everything about Burnout is clean and pristine.  The cars (Before you thrash them) have clean lines, clear vibrant color’s, and shine and reflect like a newly polished mirror.  The City is a modern metropolis with no signs of age or wear at all.  I guess the lack of pedestrians occupying the sidewalks and buildings, as the city seems to have been built by the cars themselves, would lack a used lived in look.  Humans would dirty up the place, and that’s no place for a society of KITT type living vehicles.  Although humans appear on Motorcycles with the free patch (Included on the PC), the cars remain human less, supposedly to keep the game rating down.  You Cant have an E game with mangled bodies from the many many crashes you will experience.

Burnout Paradise is a very cinematic experience, as with every crash, the camera will move into optimal position while slowing the animation to show you just how bad you fucked up a turn, or how fast you plowed through an intersection and were unlucky enough to miss anything that wasn’t a fellow race car.  This will both excite you and infuriate you, depending on the situation and event.  The outer city remains my favorite parts of the game.  There’s nothing quite like hitting one of the Super Jumps, watching the camera pan out, as you see your car fly across canyons and ridges.  its also alot of fun to watch your car fly over and drop into the depths in what can be only imagined as thousands of feet of cliff face.

Burnout also provides something no other game does, a sense of real speed.  When you have unlocked class A vehicles you will know what I mean.  Even the intro vehicles are fast in their own right, but nothing compares to a burning lap in the F1 car along the White Mountain.  Its the sort of sensation that kicks in adrenaline.  And when the clock timer is ticking down and your 100 yards from the finish with your boost at full and the world around you seems to be leaning horizontally just before you dash across the finish line, you ll understand what im saying immediately.  The same effect goes for slamming into another vehicle at 200 miles per hour, watching the mangled body of your car flying across the pavement dusting the ground with flecks of paint and sheet metal.  there is nothing else like it.

On a side note in this particular category, the DLC “Big Surf Island” add’s a third more of the size of the map to the main city, via bridge on the east side of downtown.  This island is completely stylized to remind you of Hawaii, along with some mainstays of Los Angeles (The Donut in Compton for example).  Whats best about this map is the sheer design has been configured as a skatepark for your cars.  Their are ramps and jumps and drops everywhere you go.  You’ll find yourself spending more than your fair share of time on this game on the beach barrel rolling over fellow cars on the big ramp.

Gameplay: If you have played Burnout, expect similar driving mechanics but without the barriers of a linear race course.  It is not a sim by any means, these cars control like an arcade racer and is easily accessible by anyone.  My first immediate impression with the lower tier vehicles was Sega’s Daytona USA on the Sega Dreamcast.  All cars have their own physics, which is instantly noticeable in anything you drive.  Some characteristics you can expect reside in the class of car you choose.  Their are three classes of car to choose from, Speed, Aggression, and Stunt.  Stunt cars are the easiest to manage, having the best all around turning and speed.  Aggression cars all control like tanks with shitty steering, but this is made up with how easily they pulverize through opponents whom are dumb enough to get in their way.  Speed cars are light, fast, and cant take a hit for shit.  Speed cars boost is determined by how well you drive: Missing other cars, driving on thw wrong side of the road, burning through your boost all at one time and making good time.  Aggression cars primarily gain extra boost on how much damage they inflict on opponents and the environment, which is backwards thinking for this sort of game based on how easily you can wreck.  Stunt cars being all around gain most boost by jumps, drifting, and all around trick driving.

Burnout has always been a game about patience when having wrecked your vehicle.  For some waiting for the animation to finish reminding you this game is ABOUT crashing, is more than they can handle.  Some will need to get used to the game taking the regins from time to time when it enters this mode, as when control is returned and your not prepared, it can cause confusion.  However there is a timing to how long the camera takes to show your crumpled mess, which becomes instinctual.  Seeing as im reviewing this game long after its release I will mention originally you did not have the option to pause and restart the race/event you may have just failed, which in reality was never to much of an issue.  Every street corner has an event you can start, and there are so many that its really unnecessary to race back to a location to start one single event until all 100+ others have been completed.  Also with the latest patches, the introduction cars have been made less prone to spin outs and grip in turns more making it less liekly to turn out into a wall or lamppost.

Motorcycles were added as a free patch (THANK YOU CHRITERION GAMES!) with their own set of challenges.  The Bikes all handle like you may expect a Ninja type motorcycle to handle.  If you have yet to unlock the class A license and hence the class A tier cars, you are immediately given a motorcycle that is nearly as fast as the fastest cars in the game.  That can give you a taste of what to expect when you’ve unlocked the super cars later

in the main game.  My only gripe with the bikes is they are not allowed to race with the main cars.  First I understand this is due to the limitation on the games rating, and also how unfair it could be in a race as well, but I wish the option was available all the same.  Still, a free pack is nothing to complain about, especially when its been done so well.  The most surprising part of Burnout Paradise is its robust Online system.  Not only is it fast to create and join a match, its nearly Lagg free.  On top of that, there are 500 challenges you and your friends can complete together, some requiring multiple success to complete.  The challenges also vary on the amount of people in your session, making the game seem even more dynamic.  The online portion of this game almost requires a review in itself to do it justice, but this is getting wordy already.  Safe to say you’ll spend an equal amount of time crashing online.

Special: There is a ton of DLC for this game, every bit of it worth purchasing.  There is too much to mention here in one review, but Big Surf Island and the Legendary Car pack are the top things to get besides the game of course.  the Delorean-type car is in my opinion the best car in the game.  The PC version does look a bit better on decent hardware than the PS3 version, and also has support for multi monitor panning.  Some more DLC is on the way, which I may review separately if its substantial enough.

Conclusion: Burnout Paradise is my game of this  Console Generation, nothing has topped it in its scope, replayability, and over all polished and genius technical design.  I cannot recommend it enough, see you all online!

Burnout Paradise is a ***** out of 5

By: Bobby Major

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