10 years ago I was obsessed with Burnout Paradise. I’d taken 1st in every race, cleared all super jumps and smashed all gates and billboards, looking for those glorious Xbox achievements. I even tried my hand at ranking high in the online global community, but those guys were truly something else.
With no new Burnout game in sight, publisher EA remastered Burnout Paradise with a range of technical enhancements like 1080p resolution and 4K at 60fps on the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. I couldn’t be happier.
Burnout Paradise Remastered feels relevant in 2018 because it set the standards for today’s open-world racing games and social features. With every stretch of road offering a unique challenge of speed, skill or destruction, it’s immensely satisfying hitting your goal, only to be prompted that you beat a friend’s best time. If not, it’s easy to get caught up repeating an event over and over until you have a reason to gloat.
The fictional open world of Paradise City (Cue the Guns n’ Roses) offers one helluva good time. It’s easy to ignore the racing and just explore the 350-odd kilometres of roads at high speeds, seeking jumps and shortcuts, forcing head-on collisions and enjoying or loathing the soundtrack (cue the Guns n’ Roses).
The tunes aren’t all bad: there’s Jane’s Addiction, NERD, Killswitch Engage, Jimmy Eat World and Faith No More to name a few. Perry Farrell singing “Here we go” timed right at the start of a race is more encouraging than any green light or scantily-clad flag bearer. Overall, it’s the same soundtrack from the original game minus a few tunes removed for what I assume are expired licenses.
If you missed Burnout Paradise the first time around, the game has no set racetracks, only finish lines. So after pulling up at the lights and spinning your tyres, you launch into a race and fend for yourself throughout the open world. The freedom of choice can be overwhelming but rewarding when you discover a shortcut only to see your rivals cluelessly speed passed in another direction.
Burnout’s charm has always been its speed and spectacle of crashes. Crashes don’t look as impressive as they did in 2008, but still sound amazing. The sounds of shattered glass and crushed metal warrant excessive volume and surround sound. The joy I take from the destruction makes it easier to understand how people can get behind the NASCAR.
Road Rage is still the game’s best mode. It’s not about racing, but seeing how many opponents you can force off the road within a set time limit. Across modes like Race, Stunt Run, Burning Route and then the jumps and destructible items to find, Paradise City will occupy completionists for dozens of hours.
Burnout Paradise Remastered includes all of the downloadable content from the original game which added some of its best features. An online cops and robbers mode for instance, which expands the vehicles roster with 33 police variations.
Big Surf Island was a new region of the map that added 5-7 hours of gameplay. Motorcycles were also included. Sadly they don’t have crash animations, but it’s probably for the best. The game would end up with an R18+ classification. There’s even Doc Brown’s Delorean and the Ghostbuster’s Ecto-1.
Party Pack is where multiplayer is at. It’s a local play pass the controller HORSE-type game about challenging your friends over specific jumps or stretches a road. It caters to 8 players and is perfect for a late night with a few beers. It’s a nice touch considering most multiplayer in 2018 is exclusively online.
All up Burnout Paradise Remastered has around 150 vehicles and motorbikes, none of which are licensed by real motor brands, but you can recognise their inspiration.
So what’s new? Not too much really. Slightly improved graphics and frame rate. It’s certainly not on par with recent releases like Gran Turismo Sport or Need for Speed: Payback but I don’t think anyone will or should care. It’s still excellent a decade on, and you can’t say that about many games.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for RRP $59.95 A PC version is expected at a later date.
Man of Many received a copy of the game courtesy of the publisher.