Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Burnout Paradise - One of the Best Car Game to Play

Burnout ParadiseBurnout Paradise, Probably One of the Best Car Games to Play 2008.

The star of the show is Paradise City itself. Coming complete with the titular Guns 'N Roses song (because Burnout: Night Train or Burnout: Mr. Brownstone probably wouldn't have been as catchy), Paradise City is, at first blush, a pretty standard car games to play city, complete with all the usual landmark locations and boring background traffic. But it quickly becomes evident that Paradise City is meant for a greater purpose than just being a simple city to race around in. In effect, the city is a blank slate, a pristine canvas on which to paint your own obliterative masterpiece. The simple act of driving aimlessly around the city constantly presents new roads, shortcuts, and destructible objects for you to experience and, often, destroy. Nearly every intersection of road hosts a new event of some kind, and even after you've worked your way through the game's progression of driver's licenses (the only specifically linear portion of the game design), you'll still be finding new things you didn't even know were there.

Burnout Paradise screenshot 2It's a strange design to get used to initially, but once you do, it becomes incredibly rewarding. You can spend hours at a time just dawdling around the city and still make forward progress within the game. Don't feel like racing? It's probably one of the best games to play! Just go break through shortcut gates or bust up billboards, which are tallied up as you break each one. Or, track down one of the cars you unlocked on the road and take it down to add it to your collection. Or, you can opt to pick a road and attempt to "own" it. There are two types of events associated with each of the major roads in the game. Time trials are as you'd expect-you simply start at one end of the road and start driving down it, attempting to get the fastest time you can. Secondly, there are showtime events, which are the game's effective replacement for the crash mode found in previous installments of the series. Whereas crash mode was sort of like a puzzle mode in the way it made you create elaborate car crashes out of painstakingly built traffic designs, showtime is the polar opposite. These are elaborate car crashes born from little more than a bunch of nearby cars and your ability to control what is, in essence, a sentient car wreck.

Burnout Paradise screenshot 6The racing itself is as exciting as it's ever been from all of car games to play. Standard races are intense and thrilling, road rage events are full of wreckful delights, stunt runs have you jumping, barrel rolling, and flat spinning all over the place, marked man races are tense fights to the finish line as multiple enemy cars bop you around trying to wreck you be yond repair, and burning routes have you taking on challenging time trials to earn new cars. If there's any flaw to be noted with the core game design, it's maybe that there aren't enough event types. There's no shortage of events and random stuff to do, but running the same event types, and even some of the same specific events again and again, can grow a bit tire some after a while. After each license upgrade, all the events you've raced (except for burning routes) reset, so you end up doing a lot of them over and over again. This wouldn't even be an issue if there were a greater variety of event types, but as it stands, there are only those few, and you may wear out on doing races and marked man events again and again.

Burnout Paradise screenshot 8If you do get a bit bored with the single-player action, you can always hop online and race against others. Doing so is quite seamless. Simply press right on the D pad to bring up the online menu, and then decide if you want to join up with ot her existing games or create your own. Online in Burnout Paradise is quite a different animal than that of previous Burnout games. You don't just hop into a lobby menu and pick races to engage in. Instead, the city itself is the lobby, and while the host decides what he wants to unleash upon you, you can just mess around and do whatever you like.

Burnout Paradise screenshot 9When hosting, you have the ability to both race and take on challenges. Races are of your own design, with you setting the beginning and ending points anywhere in the city. Challenges are set, and there are literally hundreds of them. The trick is that there are a limited number of challenges depending on how many players are in a group. There are 50 challenges for two players, 50 for eight players, and 50 for each denomination in between. This means that once you've exhausted all the challenges for two players, you'll have to get three, then four, and so on and so on if you want to complete them all. That might prove unwieldy for those who don't have a lot of friends online to play the game, but at least the challenges themselves are creative and fun. The challenges range from competitive bouts of drifting, crashing, and jumping to cooperative versions of all the same stuff. It's an inventive mode to be sure and an exceptionally fun one when you've got a good crew of friends to play with.

Burnout Paradise screenshotIt also bears mention that while online, you can use the PlayStation Eye or Xbox Live Vision Camera to take shots of your rivals online. When you take down a rival player that has a camera hooked up, the cam will take a mugshot of that player's reaction. It's kind of a neat feature that, unfortunately, will probably be abused by all manner of nudity over the course of the game's lifespan, but that's inevitably what happens when you let people do things with cameras. Visual presentation is precisely the kind of top-notch work you've come to expect from the series. Once again, the game sets a standard for how a sense of speed should feel in an arcade racer. This game is lightning fast, and the frame rate in both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game holds up regardless of the chaos onscreen. The car crashes in this game are absolutely fantastic, thanks to some dynamite particle effects and camera work in each and every mangled wreck. Cars deform to wonderful effect, scrunching up like an accordion in head-on collisions and bending and twisting nicely in other situations.

Burnout Paradise gameplay screenshotIf you're looking for differences between the two versions, you won't find many. The PlayStation 3 version looks maybe a hair crisper than the 360 version, but that's about the only visual difference to speak of. On the flipside, the 360 version has a slight edge in that you can use custom soundtracks to drown out the miserable collection of songs EA has amassed for the game. There are a few highlights that fit well with the theme of high-energy racing, but the vast bulk of the music consists of irritating modern rock that's about as ill-fitting as humanly possible. Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" might, itself, be a car wreck of a song, but it doesn't fit the vibe of the game at all. Add in the collection of original Criterion-produced guitar rock tracks from previous Burnout games that sound like they were culled from Joe Satriani's nightmares, and you have a pretty unpleasant musical experience all around. The annoying radio DJ who pops up now and again to give hints, mock you obnoxiously when you fail, and make one glib comment or another about something going on in the city doesn't help matters. He's merely an annoyance that probably wouldn't even be worth mentioning save for the fact that you cannot turn him off. At least the sound effects are still top-flight in every regard. Crashes thunder, engines roar, and tires screech with terrific clarity all throughout the game. If you've got a surround-speaker setup, it's all the better.

  • Racing and wrecking is as thrilling as ever
  • Open-world design creates a great sense of destructive freedom
  • Showtime mode is a hoot
  • Online functionality is seamless and addicting
  • Superb visuals
  • Probably One of the Best Car Games to Play.
  • Based on GameSpot review.

    Recent Posts