Burnout Paradise

Review

posted 2/21/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
The best part of this new Burnout is that when you get sick of hanging out with computer-controlled vehicles, you can always jump into an online game without leaving your position in Paradise City. You see, in Burnout Paradise you don't have to exit the main game to jump into the online mode, all you have to do is push right on the D-Pad and get seamlessly transported into an online lobby. Unlike most racing games, Burnout Paradise does not have you go into some weird lobby where you pick races and events. Instead the entire city is the lobby and you just wait for the host to start up a challenge and give you something to do.

There are 350 different multiplayer challenges. You read that right; there are 350 ... that's more than twice the number of actual events in the offline mode. The events are split up depending on how many people are in the room, so you'll have 50 two-player events, 50 three-player events, 50 four-player events and so on so forth. Unfortunately not all 350 events are worth talking about, most of them involve you meeting someplace on the map (in no particular order), making a certain amount of jumps, hit some of the billboards and so on so forth. Thankfully most of the missions are fun and this is definitely a nice way to spend the afternoon with people online. The problem is that I would liked to have seen some of the offline stuff featured online, especially things like Marked Man and Road Rage. Having said that, Burnout Paradise certainly has enough online content to keep you busy for days (if not months) to come.

This is a game about small (but amazing) moments, be it narrowly missing a five car pile-up or slamming into a bus and flying a hundred feet into the air. The truth is that there are almost too many amazing moments in Burnout Paradise to talk about, I would have to spend the next ten pages just hyperventilating about how cool all of the different cars are, or how I love the three boost types (each taken from an older Burnout title), or how I love that you can use the Xbox Live Vision camera online to take pictures of yourself whenever you get taken down, or how I love being able to drive through a gas station to fill up my boosts, fix my car or give my ride a new paintjob. It's not any one of these things that makes this game awesome, it's all of these elements put together.

One of the reasons I was excited about a next-generation Burnout game was because I couldn't wait to see what Criterion could do to the graphics, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Not only is Paradise City one of the best looking fictional locations ever created for a video game, but it's full of small little details that make it look even more realistic. On top of the amazing background graphics, the actual cars all look stunning (especially in HD). The game is full of "HOLY CRAP!! DID YOU JUST SEE THAT?!?" moments that will entertain both you and your friends.

The audio is also good, but I personally can't stand the announcer and the music selection. Outside of that the sound effects and ambience is nice, even if the EA Trax (Electronic Arts' radio) is on the annoying side. Thankfully Xbox 360 owners can substitute their own music, which is the only way to go.

Now that I have put dozens of hours into Burnout Paradise it's hard to remember just why I was skeptical about the game in the first place, this is a phenomenal racing game that I can't imagine not having in my collection. If you're a fan of the Burnout franchise then there's no reason not to own this game, this is one of those games that actually feels like a real sequel, not just an expansion pack with extra levels. While I'm disappointed that some of my favorite features from the previous installments were cut from this game, I feel that I can safely say that this is the best Burnout game in years.


A-
Don't be afraid of the different route this sequel took, Burnout Paradise is every bit as exhilarating as you could hope for. With its amazing graphics, great sense of speed, fantastic level design and fun events, this Burnout game is one of the best racing games to be released in recent years.



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