10 years ago Burnout Paradise was a fantastic game. The speed, the handling, the fun, the addictive “one more race” nature of gaining your license, the online modes that meant you could spend two hours just mucking about with your mates, it was superb.
But 10 years has passed. Racing games have come and gone, gaming tastes and styles have changed.
And Burnout Paradise Remastered? It’s still a fantastic game. The glasses weren’t rose tinted after all. The memories weren’t clouded by nostalgia and the hope that another Burnout game was on the horizon. it turns out that the reason so many people still talk about Paradise and wax lyrical about how much fun it was is because nothing else has appeared to fill the void. Yes there’s been plenty of high speed racers such as the Need for Speed series, but nothing has hit the heights of Burnout, and there are so many reasons why.
Even forgetting about the online multiplayer modes for a moment, you’ve got your licenses to earn by winning events around the city. Not that you know where the races can be find, you need to cruise round to discover the events at the various intersections scattered liberally around the place. Winning won’t just upgrade your license – every few events (be that a stunt challenge, standard race or something else) you’ll either earn a new vehicle or be told about one cruising round the streets of Paradise City. In such a case you’ll need to find it, chase it, and take it down to win the car in question. Before long you’re already accruing a healthy range of vehicles in your garage, and with the full DLC included in this version there are a huge number of cars, bikes and trucks to find or unlock.
So the levelling up and car earning is addictive. Really addictive. But then you’ve got the rest of the city to play around in. Billboards to smash, yellow barriers to drive through and send spinning, time records for each road to try and beat, all things you can do without actually touching any of the main racing events. There’s the quarry and the airport, areas tucked away that open up huge chances for triple barrel rolls, fancy stunts and spectacular crashes. Each vehicle has a time trial associated with it somewhere on the map – head to that junction, rev your engine and you set off half way across the city, taking whichever route your see fit, trying to get to the other end in time. Doing so gives you an upgraded version of the original vehicle with that little bit extra when it comes to speed, stunts, or strength. It’s easy to forget just how much there is to do.
And then you go online with a few friends (or just random people) and everything changes again. There are dozens of challenges, preset races and other things to set up and try to do. Challenges that need 8 players, some that only need 2. Who can pull a wheelie the longest on a bike? Who can do the most barrel rolls? Who can do the longest jump in the time scale? Can everyone get from A to B in a certain time? You can even set up your own events, create races that zigzag across the map, take you all the way round the city in a 15 minute epic race. You can set specific cards, use only bikes, or let people pick and choose. And it’s all so easy, so intuitive, and so familiar to anyone who spent hours playing first time round.
You could argue that the remastered version could’ve added a little bit more – the game cries out for an offline photo mode for example – but there’s no denying how well Burnout Paradise has aged. The feeling of speed and danger, nipping between two slow moving cars at breakneck speed while chasing your friend in the hope to shove them into a parked bus, the joy of smashing through a long series of bright yellow gates as you take a huge detour half way across the map in an amazing shortcut that puts you into the lead moments before the race ends, the time spent at the beach trying to nail that double barrel roll with a 360 degree spin, messing it up and trying again repeatedly while your friends all do the same.
Burnout Paradise Remastered has done two things, then. It’s not only reminded us why it was so easy to spend so many hours just mucking about without actually making any game progress, but also reignited the argument that we’re really sue another new Burnout game. Not a Need for Speed that’s a bit like Burnout, but actual proper Burnout. And if they can update Paradise with the original Burnout crash mode and a few modern extras we could have something very special on our hands. As it is, with Burnout paradise Remastered, we’ve already got something very special.
Reviewed on PS4