Car games are everywhere, so why dig up one from the past for the spit and polish treatment? Because it’s Burnout Paradise, one of the greatest racers ever made, that’s why. But does it still hold up 10 years later?
If you’re in a hurry, the short answer is “Yes. Yes it does”.
As kids, we could never understand why boys would get beautiful, shiny new Matchbox cars, then proceed to smash them all up. Burnout Paradise helped us get it.
You’re dropped into Paradise City, given an old clunker to drive and let loose on the streets. It’s a respectably sizeable open world, from city to country, with all manner of obvious and hidden areas to explore. Most every intersection houses an event, be it race, survival or otherwise, and the more of these you tick off the quicker you’ll graduate to the next license – and better vehicles.
While most car games tend to go for a certain realism, Burnout Paradise Remastered is all about the fun. Destroy billboards because fun (and, often, puzzle solving). Careen through gates that give you handy shortcuts, because fun. Get airborne over insane jumps and try to land them successfully, because super-fun. Slam the accelerator to the floor and see how long you can avoid hitting oncoming traffic or brickwork, because – yep, you guessed it, fun. Or just crash for the heck of it – there’s no real penalty. Fun!
The inherent fun factor is bolstered further by the inclusion of all the content DLC from the original game, right from the start. A garage full of vehicles that would have the Top Gear team envious includes everything from Back to the Future and Ghostbusters ripoffs, to a bunch of cop cars, other specials and even cutesy, Chibi-styled toy cars. Then there’s Big Surf Island. It’s a whole new area to explore off to the east of Paradise City, with its own set of billboard, gate and race challenges, plus even crazier jumps to conquer.
It’s not just a chuck-in-the-DLC-and-chuck-it-into-the-shops affair though. The sprawling Paradise City has been given a now-gen makeover that’s impressive, while still hinting at its roots. The likes of Forza Horizon 3 may have it over the game visually, but that’s to be expected – and it isn’t all about looks, of course. Just ask anybody who’s bought one of those freaky-looking new Honda Civic Type R things… If you are totally into the aesthetics though, Burnout Paradise Remastered totes 4K support on both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. We’d dearly love to tell you what it’s like, but Father Christmas totally dudded us on both fronts.
Multiplayer online support remains, as does the original, now rather legendary soundtrack, which includes the obvious Gunners track along with the likes of Faith No More, Soundgarden, LCD Soundsystem, Depeche Mode, The Pigeon Detectives and yes, Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend. As for the game’s audio, every crash, smash and application of boost delivers pleasing subwoofer thump. Playing it in hoon haven Oakleigh with the balcony door open even gave us bonus surround effects, above and beyond the stellar ones in-game.
A couple of quibbles remain from the original, although they’re quite piddly. When you’re racing across town bonnet-to-bonnet with others and happen to stack (subtle plug…), you’re not always returned to the road facing the direction that you were heading, plus night driving can still be a bit murky. HDR enhancement would have been nice, and would definitely have helped the latter.
It’s truly been a blast reliving the joys of Burnout Paradise, as well as introducing it’s insanity to a new audience. Prising our almost seven-year-old nephew from the controller for dinner proved challenging (while making us feel like we’re ably fulfilling our aunty duties – the ‘M’ rating for violence is rather OTT, as it’s so cartoonish. We’ve seen much worse in kiddie TV shows).
If you want a spectacular motoring blast that delivers all the thrills without taking itself particularly seriously, Burnout Paradise Ramastered is the classic arcade racer that you deserve.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.