Burnout Paradise was one of the most innovative and genre changing racing games at the time of its release, which is why it’s not a surprise that fans were exceedingly excited by the prospect of a HD remaster of this classic racer. There was one big question going into this review, which was, is the game just as good as we remember, or is it another case of out of control nostalgia?

Impressively, this question was answered even before the gameplay started, just at the main menu screen. With a crisp and eye-catching menu design, all played to Gun and Roses’ excellent Paradise City, it reminded me of the game’s stress free charm that had originally won me over. A lot of this charm came from the way the game was presented, with clean menus, beautiful graphic design work and a fantastic DJ that accompanied your experience throughout.

Having an event to play at every intersection is just as impressive as it was initially, making it so that you can jump right into a race, takedown, stunt run, etc… all at the turn of a corner

The game is easily one of the best remasters that I’ve played, with not only an improved mixture of resolution and textures that make everything look clearer and clearer, but subtle changes have been made with the lightning and reflections as well, making light bounce off pavement more realistically whilst darkening the contrast between shadows as well, making them stand out more. When I mention that it is one of the best remasters, I truly hope people won’t confuse that term with a remake where you can expect a much more drastic change in quality. This is a remaster through and through and considering the small generational leap between the consoles, it does feel justified.

Having an event to play at every intersection is just as impressive as it was initially, making it so that you can jump right into a race, takedown, stunt run, etc… all at the turn of a corner and a quick spin of your wheels. The game is littered with various races and challenges that kept me occupied for hours. What really helps with these races is the simple progression system that not only asks for a specific number of wins to advance in the game, but does so with convenience where any race that you may have completed gets reset, allowing you to replay some of your favourite races without having it feel as if you are not getting anywhere.

The legendary vehicles are especially interesting as they feature cars inspired by popular properties such as Ghostbusters or Knight Rider.

Cars still feel smooth and responsive to control, with a variety of them available to the player. In fact, the remastered version of the game not only includes the big surf expansion, but all the vehicles that were released via updates and DLCs as well. So, once you finish the introduction, you will be able to choose from legendary cars, special boost vehicles as well as the bikes. The legendary vehicles are especially interesting as they feature cars inspired by popular properties such as Ghostbusters or Knight Rider.

Now some of the cars mentioned above are really fast, which can give you an unfair edge early on in the game, but the way Criterion has balanced their speed with handling is what still makes you drive with care, as the faster the car, the easier it is to veer out of control and demolish yourself. Certain events are also exclusive to certain vehicles so the game does encourage you to mix and match your cars. The takedown acquisition mechanic is still present where a car is let loose on the streets every time you progress to a certain point, and taking it down adds it to your collection.

The takedowns feel just as satisfying as I first remember, not only due to how they look as I have mentioned but also due to the excellent audio mixing where you can really hear the car scrape and splinter.

The main focus of the Burnout games has always been the game-changing destruction, where one calculated takedown can result in beautiful slow-motion shots of damaged cars flying through the air or grinding on the pavements, soaked in bright sparks. The takedowns feel just as satisfying as I first remember, not only due to how they look as I have mentioned, but also due to the excellent audio mixing where you can really hear the car scrape and splinter.

An interesting thing about this is the fact that I learned a lot about car licensing in videogames due to the Burnout series as to how they modelled and created their own cars to get away with destroying them. Obviously cars like the Nakamura SI-7 are based off on the Japanese Mitsubishi and Hyundai lines, such as the 2005 Tiburon, which gives them a bit of an anchor, making them both look and feel like real cars.

I am happy to say that all the best songs are still available without compromise, backed by one of the best playlist systems in racing games

One of the things I was curious about was whether or not they had altered any of the classic songs from the soundtrack due to license disagreements, but I am happy to say that all the best songs are still available without compromise, backed by one of the best playlist systems in racing games where you have the option of filtering songs so that they either don’t play or play during specific events as set by you.

There were a few things I would have liked to see in this update that would have made it more approachable with some of the mechanics seen in games today, such as navigation capabilities that draw a route on your map or even quick play where you can quickly jump into different modes and maps without having to drive around first, which would have given it a pick up and play edge. It would have been especially great to have a photo mode, as some of the destruction can be stunning enough to warrant a capture. Even with that said however, there is still a certain charm due to these limitations serving us a throwback to the PS3/Xbox 360 era.

Burnout Paradise can take me down to the paradise city where the cars are fast and the destruction is gritty anytime.

After playing the game, it is absolutely insane to think how far ahead Burnout Paradise was for its time, pioneering quite a few mechanics that would come into play in several different racing properties from EA and other studios. It is still a pity to think that this may have been the swan song for Criterion, and we may not get another Burnout game for quite some time. It is also baffling that we are lacking in arcade racers with Need for Speed being the only consistent blockbuster franchise to release periodically, and even then they are missing some of the best features from Paradise especially in regards to the playlist and charm.

If you are a fan of Burnout Paradise and are on the fence about buying the console remaster, I would say go for it, as even if you feel not a lot has changed, chances are that this may be the first time you will get to experience the expansions and vehicles that you had not before. Besides, it is just a really good game to replay, especially with the essential face-lift. PC gamers will have to wait for a bit as most of the improvements can be seen in the PC version playing at a high resolution already, so EA probably wants to add more to the mix. All in all, Burnout Paradise Remastered can take me down to the Paradise City where the cars are fast and the destruction is gritty anytime.



Author

Haris Iqbal
Haris Iqbal

I am a guy who loves anything with a powerful storyline, whether it be a game, book or movie, it doesn't matter. Just so long as it hooks me in and keeps my imagination captive till the last word/scene! Also, I am huge Silent Hill fan, so I love all things Silent Hill... and anything horror. Huge horror fanatic!