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Burnout: Paradise Review

September 30, 2008

Burnout Paradise is an open-world “racing” game, which shifts the focus more on taking out other vehicles rather than racing them. The franchise has been around for quite some time now, and this is the second entry into the next-generation systems by Burnout, and the first entry onto the PS3.

Story

Not much story here. You’re a guy in a car. You complete a variety of events such as “Road Rages” where you try to “takedown” as many cars as you can. If you’ve never played a Burnout game before, a takedown is basically just ramming cars into walls, knocking them into other cars, landing on them, anything to wreck their vehicle. This is kind of the staple gameplay mode for the franchise and where it became a hit.

There are a multitude of other modes too such as Races, Marked Man (where you are the target of takedowns and need to reach a finish destination), Stunt Runs where you try to rack up combos by chaining stunts together, and Burning Routes & Time Trials.

Along the way there are gas stations to refill your boost, repair shops to fix your vehicle, junk yards to switch to different vehicles you’ve unlocked and more. If free-driving, there’s gates to smash, parking garages to jump off of, and billboards to smash. All of which are fun to look for.

Gameplay

The great thing about Burnout Paradise is the now completely open-world environment. This means you can drive anywhere you want, anytime you want, and do anything you want. The way you begin challenges is by pulling up to stoplights and holding L2 & R2. This engages the challenge that is displayed on-screen. This approach is a nice alternative over the previous Burnouts in that you get to choose which events you want to try, rather than repeating the same event over and over.

Graphics & Audio

The graphics in Burnout are very good overall. The lighting is excellent, the environment changes with the time of day, and the car detail, including damage, is very accurate and looks great. The animations are fluid and the crash sequences look great in slow-motion.

The one complaint I do have in the graphics department is that at high speeds, it is very difficult to see what lies ahead. This leads to a frustratingly high number of crashes/wrecks whether it’s rear-ending someone or crashing into a median at a T-Intersection you didn’t see ahead. There is a small map that shows locations and streets but it’s in the upper-right corner, forcing you to take your eyes off the road. At high speeds it isn’t pretty. Other than this, the graphics are great.

The audio is sound also (no pun intended). It features a great lineup of background music that fits the game well and the sound effects are excellent. Everything from starting the car, to squealing tires, to crashes sounds great.

Extras and Online

This is the department in which Burnout really shines and well. Since the game has been released, it has been updated with so many different features that it’s hard to keep track of them all. The most notable have been the inclusion of bikes and trophies in the most recent V1.5 patch. In addition, many online modes and challenges were added.

The bikes are a nice addition to the gameplay as they are much quicker than the cars, and allow for some new gameplay methods. It’s easier to hit some of the billboards now and perform some different stunts.

The trophies are a great addition, however, I feel a lot of them are a bit too easy to obtain. In fact, there’s some very simple trophies to achieve that give you silvers. Either way though, the trophies are a great addition.

As far as online goes, it is extremely easy to invite friends and race up. You simply press right on the d-pad to access any friends playing Burnout and you can invite them. If they accept, you seamlessly sync up in the open-world of Burnout with no load screens or anything. This is a GREAT addition as it makes the online mode very inviting to users.

Once online, there are absolutely tons of game challenges you can compete and co-op for. There are challenges that require you to take eachother out as well as challenges where you need to work together to achieve them. Overall, the online mode is very well-rounded and a great addition.

Note: Just recently Burnout Paradise has been available to download off the PSN instead of purchased in disc form.

Conclusion

Let me start off by saying that for the low price of $29.99 and all of the free extras that EA has constantly been adding to Burnout, it is very hard not to recommend this game to anyone. The game itself is extremely fun to play and there’s something for just about everyone here. There’s not much to complain about in this title, however, it’s not quite a “must-buy”. With that said, if you’ve ever had any remote interest in checking out Burnout, now is a very good time to do so and you won’t be disappointed.

Great

Great

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