By SimonM7 1 Comments
I gotta admit Burnout games kinda started ringing in my ears with, and after, Burnout Takedown. Burnout combos with their addictive arcadey multipliers and score system was wonderfully satisfying to me, and to have that ripped away and replaced with Mario Kart style takedown stupidity had me fairly enraged. No longer was the ability to avoid crashing as played up as boost would almost immediately refill, nor was clean, daring racing in any way encouraged, with obliterating competitors giving the biggest boost.. er.. boost of all.
So yeah, I zoned out a bit, and the MTV top 10 music listing certainly didn't help me pay attention either. I still gave each entry due time to present its case and I did find Revenge's core racing more rewarding and less frustrating than Takedown's simply because you could check traffic which made the speed increase slightly less unforgiving, aswell as the Revenge system that actually lended the chaos some reason and strategy. Even then, the progression system for the career mode itself in Burnout Revenge was borked beyond repair, and forcing the now bloated crash mode down your throat to even proceed was even more insulting to someone who still mainly got a racing game to.. you know.. race.
So when Burnout Paradise came out in a climate where open world seemed like the most canned thing you could possibly do - and with EA already applying that to their Need For Speed: Most Wanted - it just seemed like Criterion were more confused and hopelessly lost as to what to do with the franchise than ever. I played the demo briefly - and in retrospect it really isn't the kind of game that demos well - and I pretty much dismissed it outright.
Enter bargain bins a year and a half later though and it was difficult to not just grab it already, along with Pure and Samba de Amigo, incidentally. It sat on my shelf for yonks but eventually I was running out of low investment games to play in the run up to SEPTEMBER OF EFFING DOOM, and Burnout Paradise kind of became a viable choice. I popped it in and here I am pretty much loving the damn thing.
It's really not Burnout 2 anymore, I wager it never will be - with Dominator being the closest to it and mostly just proving that nah, it's never going to be - but it's something new, something else, something that for me gels for the first time because it marries ideas from all over the course of Burnout history in a surprisingly successful way. The Burnout combos are back from 2, the Boost system from Burnout 1 and 2 is implemented in the "speed" boost type cars, there are remixes of old Burnout music, the intersections and different areas of the city are more reasonably laid out and more reminicent of 2 than the absolutely rediculously crowded streets and evil sharp, narrow corners of Takedown. It flows incredibly well, allowing for your own personal pace and preference in what you wanna do in what order, and it shoves the crash mode back into being a neat fun distraction - the way it should be.
So yeah, I'm really loving Paradise, and if you can identify with my reluctance to play anything following Burnout 2, I suggest you pick it up cheap and give it an honest chance because while it's not all of what you used to love, it borrows elements of old, blends them with far greater success than either Takedown or Revenge, and becomes something confidently new and great in its own right.