|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.
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.
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.
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.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director