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Still the best arcade racing game on PC 7 years after it's release
on April 21, 2015
Recently, I gave this game another chance and have since come to appreciate it a bit more than when I originally wrote this review. I think my initial disappointment was due to the lack of things that were missing from the earlier Burnout games. The lack of "Crash" mode where the objective is to create the biggest, most expensive pileups as possible, was an extremely fun mode. Plus, the omission of "Aftertouch Takedowns" in which you have limited control over the direction of your crashes and if you can steer your crash into another vehicle, you are rewarded with instant recovery and full speed. There were other small details present in the earlier games which are not present here.
Once you get past that however, you are left with a really capable open world racing game. The map is pretty large so theres a nice variety of inner city races, and rural mountainous races that give good variety. The gameplay is quite fun and is a refreshing alternative to the "street racing simulators" that the Need for Speed franchise has turned into.
The graphics also hold up pretty well. Considering this game was released in 2009 and I am writing this in 2016, the graphics still look pretty good. Sure, they don't have the hyper-realistic reflection and fog effects of modern NFS games with full DX12 support, but it doesn't need to. This is an arcade racing game that is meant to be fast. The biggest upside to this is that you can achieve very high frame rates on modest modern PCs.
Now that Criterion (the developer for this game) is in charge of the Need for Speed franchise, it is unlikely that the Burnout series will ever been re-visited, which is a huge shame in my opinion. This style of fast action arcade racing is a lot of fun, and as much as I like the NFS franchise, they all seem to feel the same. I dont want realistic physics or accurate handling. I want to go fast and see big explosions and thats what Burnout Paradise gets right.
If by chance, someone from Criterion or EA reads this, please bring this franchise back. And if you bring it back, keep everything thats already in Burnout Paradise, but add back many of the things that made Burnout 3 on the original Xbox so much fun!
I fondly remember the first Burnout games on the original Xbox and when I built a new gaming PC, I wanted to see if there were any fun arcade-style (not a sim) racing games. I was pleased to see that there was a PC version of the Burnout franchise, and even though its over 6 years old, it still had good reviews. Burnout Paradise has a lot of the same features as the original Burnout games, like the takedowns, and the various racing modes.
One thing they did very different with Paradise was make it an "open world" type concept, which sounds like a great idea, but the problem I have with it, is that I like arcade racing games, because they're quick to pick up, race a couple of times, and then move onto something else. In this game, you are in a virtual city and you have to drive from event to event. Many of the events are triggered by doing a burnout at a stop light, but its not always obvious where all of the events are. If you are in one part of the city and you want to do a specific event, you have to drive there.
At first, this isn't a big deal because the game is fun, but after a short while this gets old because you are just nonstop driving around trying to find events. Maybe I have a serious case of ADD, but I prefer the traditional way of game design where if I want to race a specific Takedown match on the beach, I just select it from a menu. I dont want to have to drive all across a city to that part of the map just to start a certain event.
Seeing as this game is 6 years old, I would like to see an updated Burnout game. Mostly just to take advantage of the latest graphics and PC hardware. By no means does this game look back, but it definitely looks dated. Overall, its a fun game, and it will bring back a bit of nostalgia if you remember the original Xbox game, but the tedious driving around the city looking for things to do gets old, and for me, this kills the replay value.