Burnout Paradise Remastered is the same exact game it was back when it launched on Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2008, with all the included DLC, and some higher resolution visuals. While playing the same game with higher quality graphics might sound nice, it still has the major issues that puts this game as one of the more boring Burnout games made.
I know a lot of people loved this game, and rank it as their favorite Burnout game… and I never have understood it. Back when it was originally released in 2008, I tried loving it, and for several reasons, I just couldn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else seemed to. I never even finished it, something that was unheard of for me with a Burnout game. Even after trying to get into it on the PC years later, and even with the Remastered version, I just couldn’t understand why everyone thought this was the best Burnout game in the series.
The game itself is just a repackaging of the original game, with all the DLC cars and even the Big Surf Island map bundled all together. On the “newer” consoles (Xbox One and PS4) it was released near the end of the consoles life, and it obviously did look much better than the 360 and PS3 versions… but on PC, it literally is just a DLC bundle, with PC you already get all the higher resolutions and framerates unlocked… so yay for DLC! At least it was only $5 since I already had the original game.
Taking the Burnout games, and removing the menus might have been new and an interesting idea in theory, but in practice, all it does is make you waste time. Doing the main races, Burning Routes, Road Rage or other events become a constant hassle, as you now have to go searching for them. Sure you might stumble on a new event, but you have to stop and spin your ties just to start the event… something that isn’t easy since you are usually going around 150 miles per hour down the road. Since you passed the event, because you were driving, you have to slam on your brakes, flip a U-Turn, and drive back to the intersection, stop, and then spin your tires… just to start the race.
Once you do eventually get to the event and start it, you are forced to sit through a small intro movie of the map, and the DJ telling you where the start and ending point of the race is. Then you get to get back into the game, and wait for the green light, and then you can finally start driving. It just takes too long and instead of a simple menu, you get this extremely tedious and clunky system of game mechanics to do a simple task. This also comes at a cost if you end up losing a race or event, or just plain want to restart.
In the original 1.0 version of the game, I do not recall any way to do a simple restart. If you ended up losing, you’d have to drive all the way back to the starting point (usually a few minutes, because you are now clear on the other side of the map) just to restart the event. You are able to bring up a submenu ingame, with the press of the right D-Pad and you can go down and select Restart Last Event, and then confirm your choice. There are a few issues here. Like I said, I don’t recall you being able to do that on launch day of the game, and it was really frustrating having to always drive back to the start just to restart a race because I lost it. If that submenu was in the game at launch, I never knew about it, because even though the game loves making you sit through about three minutes of unskippable tutorials at the beginning of the game, I never remember hearing about this submenu. If it was added later on as an update, it was added way past the time I stopped playing.
The other huge issue is Crash Mode. I remember, when the game was getting close to release, hearing that they were doing away with the much beloved Crash Mode. An offshoot of the main game, where you were given a simple task, crash your car into traffic, and see how much damage you can accumulate. It was pure unadulterated fun. These events were designed, and almost like setpieces, where everything was lovingly crafted for you to make a huge mess. Instead of a new high def version of that, what we got was “hold down the bumpers and make your own fun”. It wasn’t. Partially because this mode, just like everything else was never explained properly, and even if it was, it just wasn’t fun. The magic was gone. The city didn’t lend itself to great crashes, it just wasn’t interesting at all.
The open world city did however have some fun collectable achievements in it though. Big red billboards were scattered all across the city, giving you a chance to go search for ways to crash through them. Some were obvious and easy, somewhere much tougher, requiring you to drive around spots for a bit, looking for a way to get enough speed off a distant ramp to crash through it. Along with the billboards, were smashable fences that usually led to shortcuts during events and races. These broke up the monotony of events and gave a larger sense of scale to the game.
While finishing events and races, you’d unlock the chance to get a new car. I say chance, because they basically dropped a new car to get, but you’d have to drive around finding it. This new car would be somewhere driving around the city and you have to crash it to add it to your garage. I thought that was really an innovative way of unlocking new cars. Sometimes it took a while to get a new car, and some would just take so long to crash, that I eventually gave up or lost them as they were pretty squirrely on the road.
The DLC cars are worth talking about even if just for a moment. They added a lot over the course of the year the game came out, even including motorcycles, but my favorite was definitely the Legendary Movie cars. Ecto-1, The General Lee, Kit from Knight Rider, and even the Delorean were all given Burnout style treatment, and using the Delorean, with its hover mode and flaming tire streaks sealed the deal for me as my go to car for the entire game.
The Soundtrack for the game could be love or hate, depending on how you feel about mid-2000’s EA licensed music, but I enjoyed most of the songs, Maxeen’s Block Out The World became a regular staple on my ipod back when the game came out, and I still have it in a Spotify playlist even to this day. Even the cover of Cities In Dust by JunkieXL got me to check out more of what they did. I loved the included bonus songs from the past Burnout games as well, even if they are all just generic inhouse produced instrumentals. Little touches like that, mean a lot to me, as it costs them nothing since it’s their own music, why wouldn’t you put it in there?
Some events were only locked to a specific car, and changing out cars is the ultimate hassle in this game. Changing out a car requires driving all the way back to the junkyard, and swapping out cars. It’s such a pain to drive across the map, that I basically stuck with a single couple cars the entire game. Changing out only when I absolutely needed to. Each car takes forever to drop and load in the junkyard too, that it basically is again, just a hassle and frustrating.
Having the chance to finally play the Big Surf DLC got me excited, as I tried to play it years ago on PC, but with EA removing it from purchase, and it not being part of the “Ultimate Box” version of the game, it was sort of a hassle to set up, and I only played about 5 minutes of it back in 2015 and never returned. By the time I finished the actual game, getting the Burnout License, I didn’t really want to play anymore, even the DLC seemed like a return to something I wasn’t excited about to begin with.
The coupling of having to drive back and forth just to get to an event, and sometimes finding out that I didn’t have the right car, drive back to the junkyard, change the car, and drive back to the event just to start it, and then possibly losing, and having to drive all the way back to restart the event was too much for me to handle when the game originally came out.
The game just lost a lot of what made Burnout so fun. Gone are all the traffic checking, which would cause massive amounts of damage to other cars, and racking up insane dollar amounts and boost, but was incredibly satisfying as a digital version of crashing Hot Wheels cars together. Instead it was replaced with tedious, pointless and boring driving around. The sense of speed is still there, and the crashing is untouchable, even by today’s standard. The slow motion crashes still crinkle up and the metal twists in ways that make you squirm in your seat a bit. But it’s all very hollow now, especially when you know you have to now restart the event instead of taking it all in and enjoying the warping metal and rubber.
I wish I was able to walk away from this remastered version of this game and finally get what everyone else sees when they talk about this game, but it’s just a really boring version of an open world Burnout game to me. It replaced the chaotic fun of traffic checking and never stopping for a very bland racing game with cool looking slow motion crashes. Play the opening of Burnout Revenge and then play the opening of Burnout Paradise and tell me which game is better. I think it’s pretty easy to see which game will be more fun, and which game will just make you hate the best Guns N’ Roses song by making you listen to the intro every single time you launch the game.