Burnout Paradise Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Burnout Paradise box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Criterion 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Electronic Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jan. 22, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 (8 online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Despite the open world format of Burnout: Paradise, the core gameplay remains along with some interesting new features. Road Rage has been expanded from three objects to as many as six. This makes for even more hectic take-down fun. The addition of Stunt Runs to the game is welcomed. This mode of play really incorporates the Pro Skater elements into the franchise. You'll have to use ramps, gates, the E-brake, barrel roll jumps, and the turbo boost to your advantage in order to keep your Stunt Run alive. As you become familiar with your surroundings, you will find a multitude of lines that will produce great combo opportunities. This element of play alone will keep you playing for hours. I also really liked the Marked Man scenario that has you racing for the finish line while opponents try to wreck you before you can reach that goal. Avoiding a seemingly well-timed challenge from an opponent and watching them careen into a median is a thing of beauty.

Burnout Paradise screenshot

Sadly, Crash Mode has been spurned for the somewhat mediocre Showtime mode. Gamers will be able to enter Showtime at any time by simply depressing the shoulder buttons and watching their car barrel roll into oncoming traffic. You'll gain points and multipliers for the amount and type of vehicles you are able to hit while controlling your crash. Keep a look out with the right analog stick for larger vehicles as they have the highest values. The similarities of Showtime mode to Katamari Damacy are myriad; however, the overall quality of the experience is decidedly less than rolling around the Prince's star-cradle. Nevertheless, ruthlessly taking out a sea of busses, limos, and hybrids is still decent fun.

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The online play incorporation into the title is seamless and definitely next-gen. Instead of being confined to a lobby, you can actually select online play modes on-the-fly by way of the directional pad. This is known as the EasyDrive system, and man does it work. Once activated, a little onscreen menu will appear with a list of your options. From this menu you can setup races and invite friends to join you or you can enter into the Freeburn challenges. There are over 300 challenges in all depending on the number of people with whom you are racing. Talk about near limitless content!

The visuals are stunning. The sense of speed is thrilling. All of the original cars have a glossy sheen (until you take a T-bone or two) and cruise the streets without a glitch or a shutter. Of course the game outputs at 60 fps which helps tremendously. The detailed environments, destruction physics, compounding vehicle deformation, tire tracks, weathered signs, and corner stores all come together in a way that will suck a player right into the game. My only gripe with the graphic quality is that it doesn't output in full HD. The highest resolution I was able to achieve was 720p. This is a minor issue, however, as most gamers won't even care because everything runs so smoothly.

Burnout Paradise screenshot

The sound quality is exceptional. The music selection is excellent and very appropriate. Gamers will find an eclectic mix of bands including Guns 'n Roses, Jane's Addiction, and Alice in Chains just to name a few of the more popular artists. Unfortunately, an Avril Lavigne tune sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise proven musical selection. The occasional commentary is made by a tutor disguised as DJ Atomika every so often. He drops hints and tips and generally helps to familiarize the player with the world. Unfortunately, this concept seems a bit borrowed and often contrived. There are no real sonic missteps, however.

Finally, controls are perfectly forgiving. I love the arcade feel of the title that is extremely well recreated through either of the 360 or PS3 controllers. I'll have to give the nod to the PS3 however, as the L2 and R2 triggers feel superior to the RT and LT buttons. Both systems' analog controls are identical though and perform admirably.

To sum it all up, this is a great game that is worth your gaming time and money. This title will appeal to wide variety of gamers regardless of preferences and preconceived notions. Burnout: Paradise has gotten the series back on track by forging a new path. Look for this game to serve as a fun alternative to the lot of racers that crowd the gaming roadways.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
The visuals look great at 60 fps, but I wish full HD at 1080p was supported.
4.8
Control
The controls are excellent. Hugging curves while racing and pulling off doughnuts, E-brake turns, and power-braking are all effortlessly executed.
4.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music selection is great and appropriate! DJ Atomika is a nice touch, but at times it seems a bit contrived.
4.3
Play Value
You're going to blow through uncounted hours cruising around Paradise City without even realizing it.
4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Explore Paradise - From big-surf beach to downtown gridlock, there's over 30 square kilometers of the ultimate driving playground to explore from the get-go. Nothing is blocked off.
  • Burnout Your Way - Just pull up to over 120 stoplights and spin your wheels to start one of five different events - the classic Race, Road Rage and Burning Route, and the all-new Stunt Run and Marked Man games.
  • Instant Online - Burnout Paradise sets the new standard in online social gameplay. See your friends online with the EasyDrive Friends List and connect with them instantly without having to wait or exit your game.
  • Team up or Takedown - Join forces with up to seven of your buddies to beat hundreds of online FreeBurn Challenges together or heat up the competition and go head-to-head in user created race routes.
  • Road Rules - Make and break the rules of each road by setting speed and destruction records all over town. Track how many you own against your friends!
  • Mugshots - Track the length and breadth of up to 2,500 online rivalries. In your moments of victory, grab mugshots of opponents who have connected PLAYSTATIONEye and Xbox LIVE Vision cameras. Gloat over them even more in your trophy room or export them for ultimate bragging rights!
  • Speed, Speed, and Even More Speed - The rebuilt, race-tuned Burnout game engine delivers intense speed boost gameplay at a super-smooth and super-fast 60 frames-per-second.
  • Showtime: Crash Anywhere, Any Time - Feel like bringing chaos to the streets of Paradise? Set your car wrecking, spinning, and scraping down the road, smashing through traffic and leaving a trail of expensive wreckage in your wake.
  • Crash Deformation - Burnout Paradise features an all-new deformation technology that gives players an astounding close-up and slow-motion view of super-real destruction.
  • Cars - Muscle cars, exotics, hot rods, and even supercharged SUVs, engineered to look beautiful whether they're brand new or mashed into scrap. Choose from stunt, speed or aggression car classes, each built with their own unique boost ability to give you the upper hand for specific challenges. Shut down roaming rivals and rack up wins on your license to strut the streets in a wide selection of unique rides.
  • Take it Aerial - Go airborne and pull boost-earning barrel rolls and spectacular mid-air spins. Find the hidden jumps to reach secret rooftop routes and 120 smashable Burnout Billboards.
  • Driver's License - Start with a Learner's Permit then rack up wins to progress all the way up to a Burnout Elite Driver's License - the ultimate accolade for any safety-unconscious motorist.


  • Screenshots / Images
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