Burnout Paradise – the PS3 Attitude Retro Review
Welcome to the PS3 Attitude Retro Review, where we take another look at titles that were released at least six months ago and discover whether they still ought to garner your attention. This time, it is the turn of Burnout Paradise.
Two years ago this week Burnout Paradise landed on the PS3, and after numerous new features and downloadable packs, we take another look at it and see if it is still worth your money.
Burnout has always been one of Electronic Arts’ key franchises since it acquired it a few years ago. When it made the leap onto the PS3 and Xbox 360, it took a very different route from anything seen in the series before.
The creative director Alex Ward at the time called it a “complete reinvention” of the series as it adopted the popular open world style of gameplay.
Expectedly, many people were unoptimistic on where the series appeared to be going, and whether gamers would simply reject it with their wallets. But it was instantly successful with a Metacritic score of 87/100, and sales currently standing at 1.25 million – and that’s just at retail.
From the very beginning the whole city is available at your disposal. The beaches and mountains offer a diverse range of locations to explore with a challenge to complete at every junction. These challenges include Stunt Runs, Races and Road Rages that help you earn new licences and most importantly cars.
Online is a key feature for this game too as you can play against up to seven other people in general Freeburn or timed challenges. Additionally you can choose to just casually explore Paradise City in your own time and takedown your friend or foes whenever you feel like it – unless they get to you first!
The downside of having an open world environment is that you have to drive to every challenge location, which can take a few minutes. And up until recently you couldn’t even restart an event, but because the city is filled with ramps and obstacles, the journey to each place can be as exciting as the challenge itself.
Lots of features have been introduced for Burnout Paradise since release, making it a game that has probably changed more than any other title. Changes include the introduction of bikes, custom soundtracks, night and day, new Freeburn multiplayer modes, an in-game store, a new menu presentation, and more.
In addition to the free content, there have been a lot of downloadable items released over the two years. You can now buy a pack for cop cars, for toy cars, for legendary cars and for boost special cars. Furthermore, there is a party pack for local multiplayer and the Big Surf Island map expansion, both offering even more hours of enjoyment. However, with the introduction of purchasable content came our pet hate of annoying reminders in the game about buying new upgrades. For example, Criterion insists on adding a vehicle screen that lists types of cars that you haven’t even bought yet.
Although they want you to feel that you are missing out if you don’t purchase these packs, for most gamers the additional content is not required: Burnout Paradise is a big game that will last you many hours, and is full of things to do and play with. The add-ons don’t really enhance the gameplay in any significant way. If anything, they make us feel that Criterion Games are simply falling too far away from what Burnout should really be about: fast racing with takedowns, drifting and some spectacular crashes. Luckily the main game does achieve this goal, with gameplay that doesn’t become boring so easily.
Burnout Paradise deserves the high praise that it got from the press, but the developers have really taken the game as far as it can go. Even now we highly recommend buying this title, especially because it can be found for a very cheap price these days (TheHut.com), and it’s still one of the best games on the system.