Within minutes of booting up Burnout Paradise Remastered I was having grin-inducing fun. Ten years on from its original release Paradise can’t be the revelation it was then, but instead this remastered version acts as a wake-up call to an industry that seems to be resting on its laurels when it comes to arcade racers: how come a ten year old game has gone unchallenged as one of the best for so long?
And more worryingly, where the heck has Burnout been since 2008?
Paradise is a pure, adrenaline-fuelled ride from the moment you peel out of your garage for the first time to the final chequered flag on your road to your Burnout license. Set in the fictional and wonderfully realized Paradise City – a criss-cross of intersecting roads, manic shortcuts and giant jumps – your race to the top of the pack is a non-stop one.
Much like the Forza Horizon series that has since cribbed plenty from Burnout’s fantastic open-world title, Paradise City lets you cruise around at your leisure, picking up races and making your own way towards their destinations. But by smartly placing events at every intersection – all you need to do is spin your wheels to start – and having each and every event end at one of eight locations in the city, Paradise makes leaps and strides that have gone unmatched since its release when it comes to rhythm of play. Those designated finish-lines will become more familiar, as will the roads and shortcuts that lead to them, as you become organically acquainted with the city and start relying on your mini map less and less. And no matter where you finish, the next event is only a block away.
There’s a flow to Burnout Paradise which bypasses the usual ‘just one more race’ feeling the best racers give us. Instead, you’ll have so little downtime between races, marked man sprints, stunt runs and takedown derbies that you won’t even think about stopping until you look at your clock and its 3AM. It’s an unrelenting pace that’s as addictive today as it was ten years ago, and that’s saying something.
Some elements of Paradise have aged less gracefully of course – the rubber banding that’s so prevalent in these types of games is annoying at times and patronizing at others, but it’s not as egregious as the worst offenders out there. The internal logic of what dictates a crash and what doesn’t is still as hazy as it ever was, with full on collisions simply shunting you away harmlessly whilst other minor dinks will set in motion the full, time-consuming slow-mo crash cam.
These issues never got in the way of the fun, though, and once I threw a bit of well-deserved profanity at the screen I was away again and having a blast. After all, some of the best Burnout moments come when you’re at the back of the pack. Everyone loves a comeback kid.
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