Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise

Overview

I have always been a big fan of the Burnout franchise, mainly just because it really has never taken itself overly serious, which really helps in creating an experience that allows you to let loose and just enjoy. It however has been a while since we have seen a Burnout title worth getting excited about, but could now be the time? We have seen one "so-so" offering on the next gen consoles but now we have the first "full-on" next gen installment for the franchise in Burnout Paradise. We are checking out of the game for the PS3, and the big question is, does the game go big, or does it manage to disappoint? Read our full review to find out!

Gameplay

I hadn’t done much homework going into Burnout Paradise, I am still trying to get my feel turning for the new year, and with that I haven’t checked very much into the game of Burnout Paradise. So going into the game I had a clean slate, very little to no prior knowledge, and an interested perspective as to where Criterion would be taking the franchise. And where they took the series is the complete opposite of what EA’s other arcade racing franchise Need for Speed changed to this year.

So if you haven’t played Need for Speed, you would probably not know that they had been using an open environment, sandbox style, and with their latest installment a few months prior changed to a more structured approach, something that the Burnout franchise has been using since its conception. However Burnout Paradise changes all that, as now you get to roam Paradise City as you wish, and given the freedom of choice that has never been in a Burnout game.

So with this new open style comes a lot of changes, and for a lot of the game this is a good thing and in some areas not so much. Burnout Paradise is full of content, and in fact Paradise City is sprawling with a variety of things to do. As you drive around town you will be able to seamlessly go into these different events. As you progress through the game you will unlock more events but the unlocking isn’t something that is necessarily apparent but just something that happens. One of the most unique aspects of the game is the ability to take down cars in order to acquire them, this may sound rather barbaric but it works really nicely.

The mechanics in this game are flawless, this is the Burnout experience that we all have come to know and love over the years. The controls are rock solid, and the car mechanics are beautiful and offer up a great degree of accuracy. I should say that the developers really managed to bring the online integration into the control scheme with relative ease, making an invite to friends even less clicks away and allowing even more reason to play online with the ease of access. Speaking of online play, this is by far the best online experience the Burnout franchise has seen bar none. The game runs extremely smooth, the competition is solid, and the amount of content is fantastic.

The only real drawback for me and I think for many Burnout fans is the lack of the true crash mode. There are still some fantastic crash animations and sequences, but just throw us a bone Criterion please. The crash mode never got old, it was the perfect escape from the game, and to not put it in is really a baffling decision. Does it really mend well with the sandbox style, probably not, but would it have been fun in pure HD glory, you bet.

However even with that one grievance, there is so much good content in this game that if you enjoy the Burnout feel, you’re going to enjoy this game.

Graphics

Visually, Burnout Revenge the first "next gen" version of Burnout was a major disappointment. However Burnout Paradise is an entire different ball game. First off the amount of detail that is placed not only the environments but the cars is absolutely stunning. Overall though the great design carries over into the frame rate and the excellent style. The blur effect is still in force at high speeds but you still get a great sense of speed while not loosing all the HD goodness.

Fun Factor

I have to admit, I really did miss a full fledged Crash mode. That is one of the best party style games to play with friends, and it’s a shame that the mode wasn’t implemented. However the game makes up for it in a lot of different ways, one of which being the shear amount of content in this game. I also would say that the biggest addition is the great implementation of both the online leaderboards/play, which really makes for an all around great experience.

Overall

Burnout Paradise is the first great game of 2008. It has all the makings of one of the best the Burnout series has seen, and if improved upon for next year could be the best Burnout yet. If you have a PS3 and are looking for something to spend your Christmas gift cards on, Burnout Paradise is the game to get.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.