Burnout Paradise is a new concept for the brand that some gamers have kept an open mind about, and others have staunchly resisted. That new concept is taking the eye-blisteringly quick game full of single races, challenges and crash junctions, and turning it into an open world where you decide where to race, how to reach your goal or just drive around taking in the nice series. Does it actually work? Well let me tell you.
At first you’ll think you’ve maybe been given a little too much freedom as you’re plonked into paradise city and just left to get on with it. You’re told to find a garage you can drive through to instantly repair your car, then a fuel depot to give yourself more boost. If you want to take part in a race you go to one of 120 junctions, spin your wheels and the race is explained in terms of start and finish lines.
You then race the other cars and try to get from A to B without crashing. Of course that’s just the simple races covered and, at least for me, there’s one fundamental flaw with this new open game world. That being, it’s so damn quick which is a great thing but when you combine this speed with trying to glance at a map and concentrate on not taking a wrong turn, you crash more than ever before and with no aftertouch to scupper your opponents behind you it’s just not as much fun turning your car into scrap anymore.
Of course, in time, you’re supposed to learn the city and its landmarks by memory which will help matters and in that respect this game gets better the more you play it.
As you drive around the 30 square kilometres you can choose from three car classes, those being speed, stunt and aggression cars. Speed cars are great for races, aggression cars are good for slamming opponents off the road in takedown challenges or for staying alive in the new marked man races where you must get from A to B without being wrecked by your pursuers. The new stunt car is great for all the little challenges scattered all over the map for you to find. There are super jumps to fly over, billboards and shortcuts to smash through, and you can now go into flat spins and barrel rolls and link these together to max out combos.
Instead of working your way through classes and unlocking new tracks, you now have a driving license which gets upgraded when you complete a certain amount of challenges as you aim to get the Elite license, a nice touch on the PS3 is the ability to import a mugshot of yoru face to stick on your licence. 360 owners will need to use their vision cameras.
So, there’s lots to do in this game and it all runs very quickly but there’s a couple more annoyances in this one that leave me a bit puzzled. If, for instance, you decide you’re doing so badly at a race and want to quit and try something else, there’s no reset. You have to cross the finish line before you can move onto something else. Also, some races need certain cars and instead of being able to switch at the loading screen, you have to go back to the scrapyard to change cars by driving through the city. Luckily there’s no traffic jams or things would get really bad.
Oh, and I forgot to mention how great this game looks. It never slows down, and the scenery and car damages is spectacular, that is if you slow down enough to take in the sights be it the built-up streets of the East or the rocky mountain roads to the West.
Finally, there’s just time to mention the new multiplayer mode. Instead of being a totally separate game, they’ve integrated it into the single player mode. Press a button and you’re instantly connected to friends on the same map where you can set challenges for longest power slide, most air or race them on burning routes of your choice. Again this is different to the norm but still great fun.
When all’s said I still prefer Burnout Revenge where I could concentrate on just driving as fast as I could without crashing. This one gives you too much to think about at once but as they say, practice makes perfect. Burnout Paradise gets an excellent 8 out of 10.