I love the Burnout games, theyíre always fun and theyíre always frenetic. So I was pretty stoked to find out a new one was on the way in the shape of Burnout Paradise. When it finally arrived for me to review (a bit late we know) I was still fairly stoked. This promised to be the Skate of arcade racers, the tip of the iceberg of automotive mayhem!
I was somewhat let down in a way, not by the graphics or the huge free-roaming city thatís unlocked right from the start. No, it was the fact that for all the graphics power and push of the 360 it felt like a bit of a step backwards in terms of the gameplay. I happened to like Crash Mode for instance, with the good old Crashbreaker and various combo icons.
The ĎShowtimeí mode is fun, for a while, and then it quickly becomes nothing more than a whee-whizz-bang exercise in trying to rack up points to beat the best point score. Thereís no real rhyme or reason to it. Youíre left with an empty feeling since the old Crash Mode maps took some skill, you had to time your jumps just right and they were great fun to just let off steam.
Itís not to say that Burnout Paradise isnít fun, the chance to go online with people and friends at the drop of a hat, the join-in-progress system is seamless and activated with the good old right D-pad, itís great in that respect. Except most people online are idiots and trying to get anyone to do the copious amounts of free-burn challenges with is tricky at best.
Get a take-down and youíll send a mug-shot of your picture to the guy you just took out. The same happens if youíre taken down, youíll get a mug-shot of the guy who made you eat wall. If you have a Live Vision Camera then the game will take a picture of the look on your face as it happens. Itís quirky, not enough to save Burnout Paradise from being just another run-of-the mill version of the game with all the individuality of the previous games taken out.
Perhaps Iíve been watching too many Zero Punctuation reviews, or perhaps Iím getting jaded in my old age but come on. No replay camera like in Burnout Revenge, that loses cool points right away. I want to be able to record those spectacular crashes, not just watch them and then theyíre gone. And donít give me any BS about there being not enough memory, this is the age of the next-generation console, if you feed me that line Iím going to find you and make a telephone cable out of your small intestine.
Also, another major gripe, why is there no way to restart a race you just lost? I have to drive all the way back to a junction, canít automatically navigate by the map. I like to be lazy like that, adding false hours of gameplay onto a game where you have to drive back along the same stretch of road and try to remember the junction where the challenge was, is just annoying. Thatís not fun, thatís frustration. Skate got it perfect, Skate was awesome for being able to either free-roam or zip right to something you wanted to do.
The gameplay has been sharpened though, there are a lot of new things added to the Burnout experience, like custom paint shops where you can drive through and get a new colour as you go. Repair shops where you drive through and get repaired during a race, allowing you to go that extra mile. Gas stations that give you full boost. There is also around 70+ cars to unlock by either beating challenges or taking down the custom jobs that you see driving around the city.