Open-world and sandbox, these are two new words that are currently very cool in the development community. Criterion Games is also one of these developers, as they want to give the player more freedom in their newest game Burnout Paradise. The question is of course if this was the right move for this franchise as not enough variation in a gameworld can be a gamebreaker.
For the people who have been living under a rock, here’s a small introduction to the Burnout series. In these racing games only one thing matters. Being first at the finish line, whatever the cost. If you need to crash your competitors in some cars or drive them apart at the side of the road, all the better!
As you could read in the introduction, the game is no longer being played on some pre-set roads. You now have the freedom to explore a complete city. Paradise City as this magical town is called consists out of five districts which all focus on a specific theme. For example, White Mountain has giant windmills running, and it only has a couple of roads. Downtown is the complete opposite, full of small roads and hidden shortcuts. The other ones focus themselves on the beach or harbour.
Discovering a complete city is nice, but of course you also need something to do. You will have the option to participate in 120 events spread over the entire area. These go from regular races, to stunt circuits or being the prey for other cars. The big difference with the races from previous titles is that you decide yourself how to drive from point A to B. You can for example take the tunnel or take the freeway and jump off it halfway to win just by a second! Of course you’re not the only one that thinks like this, because your competitors will also take different routes to reach the finish line. There are a total of 8 ending locations which coupled to the numerous events will give you plenty variation.
Next to the normal events, you also have a mode called Showtime. Here, you need to make as much damage as possible as long as you have some energy left. The more cars you can crash and explode, the more points you’ll gather. Destroying specific vehicles like a bus will act as a multiplier. Along the roads you also find several gas- and repairshops for your car. The beauty of these is that you just need to drive through them to get the benefit without leaving the race or whatever you’re doing at the time.
All that crashing might be fun, but you still need some wheels to do it with. In the game you will be able to choose out of 75 different cars. These are split up in different categories like speed, strength and stunt. At the beginning of Burnout Paradise you only have one car, but by winning the events or finishing other elements of the game, you’ll receive new ones in the junkyard. Sometimes they will also drive around the town and then it’s your job to give them a ‘gentle push’.
Besides the events and showtime, you also have several secondary activities. There are no less than 120 Burnout billboards and it’s your job to find them all and fly(read: crash) through them. Besides this you’re also able to destroy 400 ‘private property’ fences and do 50 superjumps. Also there are numerous normal hills and other structures to do the most crazy stunts with.
Burnout Paradise is a true crash heaven and this you just have to share. The multiplayer supports up to eight players and the transition from offline to online gameplay is seamless. You’re also able to experience the complete freedom of the city, but there is less traffic on the roads. Besides the normal crashing and numerous races, you can do 350 player driven events. These go from drifting 10 miles, to letting one player jump over all the others at the airport.
The graphics are very nice, throughout the whole game you’ll find yourself in the middle of the summer. The cars also look fabulous, both as a whole and in pieces. A negative point is the missing of a driver in the car, which is sort of a bummer for a game of this caliber. Another disappointment is the missing of a speed indicator. You can sense that you’re going fast as hell, but some indication would’ve been nice. On the department of sound the game has several of the latest hits from almost every genre, as has been the case with several of the latest Burnout games. The sound effects of the cars are also beautiful, you can really hear the raw power of the muscle cars. From time to time, DJ Atomica will also speak on Crash FM to give you tips about the latest events or locations.
If you are a big fan of Burnout games, then this latest one will surely be to your liking. Complete freedom, different events and a beautiful multiplayer make this game a definitive buy. Sadly it can’t be considered a classic because of some minor negative points, but still these are luckily no game breakers