Home / Featured / Burnout Paradise, Reviewed [Xbox 360]

 

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Burnout Paradise developer Criterion has given you the key to Paradise City, where traffic is appropriately paranoid and nitrous boost is the primary export. While initially slapped behind the wheel of a “beater” for a muscle car, you’ll work your way up the racing ranks through a series of events that stray from traditional three lap tracks in order to progress through this free-roaming, do-what-you-want racing game.

Access to Stunt Runs, Road Rages and Marked Man events – bank points for doing crazy tricks, take out all opposing drivers and surviving a race where you’re the only takedown target, respectively – is granted via city traffic lights. With over 200 intersections, you’re not exactly strapped for things to do, and the events, including the aforementioned regular races, are a ton of fun.

Unfortunately, always having something to do is Burnout Paradise’s biggest problem.

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After a brief introduction by the likable guide to Paradise, DJ Atomika, Burnout Paradise gets down to business without an explanation as to what the hell is going on.

You’ll find yourself aimlessly wandering the gigantic miles-wide city – which is open to you in its entirety from the start – looking for something to do. Your map is cluttered with unexplained colored icons that you’ll soon realize represent various events.

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But without any guidance, exploration and self-teaching is necessary to complete events, which upgrade your license class and unlock sweet new rides, of which there are more than 70.

While you’re completely overwhelmed at the start, Burnout becomes an intensely fast and fun racer once you learn how it works. Boosting around the city with your nitro (quantity varies per vehicle), avoiding traffic and hitting the hundreds of beautifully placed jumps in this gorgeous world is seriously awesome. As mentioned, though, it’s an extremely frustrating experience as well.

Crashing often results in an immediate loss of an event, though it doesn’t actually end. You’re forced to drive the last few miles to the end, despite all of your opponents having finished minutes ago. Taking a wrong turn will be the end of you as well. It’s simply too easy to lose, and there is no second best – it’s first or last in Paradise with no in between.

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A touchy physics engine will have a slight bump with another vehicle result in what appears to be a splitting atom in your undercarriage. Kaboom. There’s no trading paint this time around – only the car-crunching takedowns, which are always displayed in annoyingly unskippable slow motion. Worse yet, bystander-traffic is apparently out to get you, what with their swerving directly in to you all the time.

Failing an event (which you will), forces you to drive all the way back to the lights where you started if you want to do it again. There are no reset or retry buttons to be found here. Fortunately, you will always finish an event on or near another so it’s easy to keep a consistent flow of uninterrupted events, but it’s aggravating to fail and not be able to simply start over.

Where single player offers a gigantic city full of things to do, two to eight player online multiplayer further deepens the game. Accessing online play is as easy as tapping the d-pad a couple times and it runs as silky smooth as the single player: no hiccups, ever.

With fifty events for every amount of online racers (two, three, eight racers etc.), you’re never bored with all of the team based “Freeburning”.

It’s disappointing that Stunt runs and Marked Man are absent from the multiplayer, but the Crash Mode replacement Showtime– tap two buttons and hurl your vehicle in to dense traffic to get huge points and carnage filled combos – is in full capacity if you tire of crashing in to or leaping over your buddies.

Everything in Burnout Paradise is incredibly entertaining, but requires patience. Learning the city, the races and the hundreds of meta/mini-events like shortcuts, smashing through billboards and leaping from gigantic jumps takes a lot of time but the payoff is great if you’re willing to give it the time it deserves.

Unfortunately, this just won’t tickle the die-hard’s fancy as much as a “regular” Burnout would have. But if the idea of doing what you want for hours on end (think Crackdown with cars) is appealing to you, then Paradise is self-descriptive.

[Rating: 5/5]

 

About the author: Mitchell Dyer

 

Mitchell Dyer is an Alberta, Canada-based Reviews and Previews Editor for Nukoda.com, as well as a freelance videogame word typer with Official Xbox Magazine and OXMOnline.com where he writes reviews, features and more nonsense.

 

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7 Comments

  1. So far, my major gripe with the game is that i’m always starting events i’ve already completed. Would have been great if they had removed those races from the map until you get your next license…

  2. That’d be nice – even on my HD TV I can’t see the little white checks. No biggie, but it’d be convenient.

  3. Oh, i’m referring to the offline races. I’ll pull up to an intersection and hold the gas and brake and wait for that damn DJ to tell me i’ve already completed this event…

  4. If you look carefully on your map you’ll see little white checkmarks on completed events. That’s what I mean – it’d be super duper if they were bigger.

  5. Wow, the maps small enough as it is…i would have never noticed that. Even though i know it’s there now, i still likely won’t see it when glancing down. Thanks though, at least i can focus on that more before starting a race.

  6. I have a filthy habit of drifting by holding both triggers – I frequently activate events I don’t mean to. And I can’t quit.

  7. I think that’s a filthy habit most of us have considering how easy and awesome it is to drift that way.

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