10 years ago, Electronic Arts’ Criterion Games studio did a little experimenting with the Burnout series. They placed their exhilarating arcade racer in an open-world environment, littered with jumps, shortcuts, destructibles, and lots of traffic. Rather than be a continuation of Revenge, Burnout: Paradise was a retooling of the Burnout formula, but also retained the intense sense of speed and humorous crashes the series is known for. Does it still get the job done in this 2018 remaster? I’m pleased to report that it’s still as fun today as it was in 2008.
The grass is green and the cars are pretty
If you’re unfamiliar with this somewhat-polarizing racing game, allow me to provide the synopsis — You drive like a b-hole around the fictional Paradise City, compete in numerous events, break records, bust through billboards, land Stunt Jumps, and smash private properties, all while trying to dodge the slowpokey traffic in your path. Each event you win is recorded on your license, which increases in rank as you rack up your wins. Some races are lap-based and others are point-to-point. However, being a Burnout game, there’s a lot more than just standard races. Road Rage mode returns, in which you must perform as many Takedowns as required before you run out of time or total your car. Thankfully, you can now perform T-Bone Takedowns, refill your boost at gas stations, and repair your car at auto shops. Sadly, Traffic Checking has been nerfed big-time, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
Crash, Burning Lap, and Eliminator events are not found in this installment, but there are some new event types to make up for their absences. Marked Man events require you to get to your destination without your car being totaled by the mob cars. Burning Route is basically an open-world Burning Lap, and you have to go to the nearest junkyard to get the car that is required. Stunt Runs are possibly the toughest of all, in which you must perform stunts and rack up multipliers in order to reach the required number of points in time; If you don’t have steady hands, this type of event can be very frustrating. Crash Mode has been replaced with Showtime Mode, which you activate when you’re free-roaming around the city; While your car is bouncing like a rubber ball, your goal is to rack up the damage bill. It might be a turn-off for fans of previous Burnout games, but at least the mode works.
Car insurance? What’s that?
In terms of its garage, Paradise offers the usual sets of wheels, ranging from pickup trucks to sports cars, and even some vans and race cars. There are also some police cars, radio-controlled cars, cars that can hover, and even cars that can have their boost type changed on the fly (Stunt boost, Aggressive boost, and Speed boost). And if you feel like riding on two wheels instead of four, there’s a handful of motorcycles to take for a spin.
Not only does this remaster improve the resolution and framerate, but it retains the same fantastic audio as the original 2008 version. DJ Atomika and the CrashFM radio station give you a massive jukebox consisting of classical music, original music, and record-label songs ranging from up-and-coming bands to well-known artists like Guns N Roses, Faith No More, Soundgarden, Twisted Sister, Jane’s Addiction, Junkie XL, N.E.R.D., Avril Lavigne, Seether, Jimmy Eat World, and Sugarcult. You’ll probably have “Paradise City” stuck in your head for a long time.
Arcade racing without multiplayer would be a huge sin, and Paradise Remastered delivers fun multiplayer in spades. Up to eight players can play a hotseat party full of wacky challenges, and drivers can hop online to race, help each other complete goals, and compete against each other in both default and customized events. Cops-and-Robbers is exclusive to online, in which a team of robbers steal an item and take it to their hideout while avoiding a pack of drivers that try to take them down and protect said item. This mode can lead to some colorful language and loud laughs.
This is my paradise
Ports and remasters have always been very hit-or-miss, but this remaster is an adrenaline-pumping jam well-deserving of a checkered flag. It may not be a direct sequel to Burnout: Revenge, but it never needed to be. Whether you’re a fan of arcade racing or open-world multiplayer, you won’t regret shelling out your hard-earned money for Burnout: Paradise Remastered. Maybe you’ll run into me zipping through the streets at ludicrous speed, not that I’ve ever tried playing this game and watching Spaceballs simultaneously; That probably wouldn’t end too well.