A departure from the previous Burnout that pays off in the end
So let's talk about what's different. Burnout Revenge was an arcade racer that simply had you completing event after event, be they Road Rages, where you take out as many target cars as you can, or crashbreaker races, a race where you blow yourself up in the case of a crash to take others down with you. Burnout Paradise on the other hand, takes place in an open world, where every traffic light is an event. There are a ton of shortcuts to find (marked by yellow fences) and Burnout Billboards to smash. The world is quite big, and at the start of the game, winning races will require alot of opening up the map in order to plot out your route. That's probably the biggest change when it comes to races in this new Burnout, you can freely choose your own route to the finish line. However, trusting purely on the compass, which is quite useless will lose you many a race. It can be annoying to constantly have to open your map after each turn, but finding a huge shortcut can be very satisfying. If you just stick with the game for a while, you may just fall in love with its freedom.
There is plenty of stuff to do and find in this game. 120 events are there to be found. The singleplayer centers around completing these events. You start out with a Hunter Cavalry, that the game's DJ Atomica of Crash FM gives you, as well as a Learner Permit. Completing events will give you your D-licence, at which point all the completed events reset, and you can start the whole thing over again for the C-licence, and so on. Eventually, you'll get your Burnout-licence, and if you complete every event after that, you'll get the Elite Licence, which is no easy task.
Events come in a variety of flavors, like Road Rage, Marked Man, plain Races and Stunt Runs. Road Rage should be familiar to Burnout fans, as it simply requires you to take out a certain amount of other racers. It's quite fun, but it does have one flaw; after you take down enough cars, the event doesn't stop. The timer simply keeps going, requiring you to crash until you're totalled to finish the event or wait several minutes for the timer to run down, which isn't viable at all. Marked Man is really fun, as it requires you to get to the finish line while some really heavy and fast cars attempt to take you down. It's quite easy with one of the early heavy cars you get, but later on, the AI
gets really aggresive, which makes for some tense moments as you scramble for a drive-through repair shop. Races can be just as hectic as in Burnout Revenge, but as mentioned before, their pace is broken up a bit by the constant looking at your map. Still, races are great too. Stunt runs are a first for a Burnout game, and they require you to score points by landing barrel rolls and the like from the many ramps that are littered all over Paradise City.
The singleplayer will keep you busy for quite some time, with it's 120 billboards to smash, 400 fences to run over and plenty of opportunities to mess around with jumps and your cars speed. Two cool additions are the road rules. You get four road rules per road. Online and offline Showtime rules, and online and offline time rules. Time rules simply require you to drive the entirety of the road faster than somebody else, which can be quite fun if you face off against friends in it. Showtime mode however, is ridiculously awesome. You simply start it up, and you hit a car.That wil take you into a neverending crash roll where you hit A to bounce of the ground using Boost to launch yourself into other cars and buses. Buses are your main targets, as they add to your multiplyer. This mode really shows off the game's damage model, as your car will deteriorate rapidly during the slamming around. It's really awesome.
However, that's not all. Criterion has decided to be really nice to the Burnout fans and release a free pack, designated as "Pack 2" on the GB main page. The biggest additions are bikes. Yes, you heard me, bikes in Burnout. Don't get too excited about sending riders flying for hundreds of feet though, because as soon as you crash, the rider disappears. They also haven't built in a damage model for bikes it seems, because the moment you crash a bike, the bike just slowly tips over as though you hadn't just hit a car at 250 miles per hour. It's decidedly unepic, especially when you compare it to the awesome crashes that Burnout is known for. Other new features include a day-to-night cycle, which is really customizable. I personally found races harder to do at night because it was harder to see ahead, so I simply set it to be constantly midday. You can also choose how long a an hour for example, and calibrate the time to your local time. There are also some bike events, as well as Burnout news. Overall, the bikes are not as fun as the original vehicles, but the fact that its free makes it still very awesome.
Multiplayer is easy to jump into, simply hit right on the D-pad and a menu will pop up that will get you right into multiplayer. It's pretty slick, and you can get right into freeburn, where you just drive around Paradise City doing whatever you and other players want. The host can the races and challenges. Challenges bring an extra social aspect to freeburning, as everyone has to participate in them. Sometimes they're individual, at other times you need to work together to complete them. There are 250 in all, so doing them all will take some time. Overall, online is great and lagfree.
The world is pretty well-designed, but the left side of the map is a little short on events. When you finish a race, you have to drive all the way back to the main downtown area to find most of the events. Some great ramps fill the void in that area though. For a first in the franchise, the overworld is well done.
There is no restart, which sucks. At first, you don't really mind because if you fail an event, you'll just drive around the corner to a new one. However, as you start completing events, you may have to drive around quite a bit to find a new one, and you'll start wishing for a restart. It's supposed to be added sometime in the future though, so I've been told.
Burnout Paradise is a great game. It's fun to mess around with and will keep you entertained for a long time to come.