Renderware has proven that gaming ‘remasters’, when done correctly, result in games that look and feel just as current-gen as some of the games that are developed specifically for current-gen platforms. Burnout Paradise Remastered is a complete testament to that. If anything, whilst playing through this incredible racer, I often felt that the original release was ahead of its time. Burnout Paradise was made for current-gen platforms. This is EA’s best racing game, and I’d go as far as stating that this is the best racing game on offer on any current-gen platform. Those who are veterans of hardcore racing simulators will completely disagree, but no other racing game has kept me off the edge of my seat more than BPR. Ultimately, that is what I want in a computer game. It’s packed full of content too. There are hundreds of gates to crash through, 50 super jumps waiting for records to be broken and over 100 billboards to tear down. I played Burnout Paradise more than any other racing game on Xbox 360, and I have a feeling that I will be playing BPR more than any other racing game too (unless another Burnout is in the works!).
BPR is the most thrilling racing game of them all. Surprisingly, it still requires a lot of focus, perhaps more than the average racer. It is a game that celebrates the most vicious of car crashes by rewarding you for causing them. It is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, through its cheesy soundtrack of songs that everyone is aware of. It is extremely fast-paced, and more often than not requires you to dodge traffic just as much as other obstacles in your way. In today’s world, if there is a way to ‘grief’ your online opponent, you will. In BPR, griefing is celebrated. If someone causes you to crash, you will make it your business to get revenge. Winning a clean race is exciting, but winning a race after having caused another racer to spin out of control and crash into another racer is where the real thrill is at.
I have seen the state of some of today’s serious racing gaming community. When they play the likes of F1 or Forza, whilst those games are superb at what they do, the gamers who take the games seriously, often race in very stressful conditions. The fear of turning a second too late and losing a quarter of a second on the clock is everything in those games. They provide different types of thrill, however BPR is just purely, fun. The more chaotic a race, the better. If you see two cars colliding in front of you and you manage to dodge them with just an inch to spare whilst in boost mode, those moments are not reproducible in any other game.
BPR also provides true free-roam. Even if you’re in a race, you can just decide that you want to bail and drive off somewhere else. Sure, you will lose the race, but this level of freedom is what makes BPR such an incredible experience. You don’t need to go into any menus to bail. Just stop racing, and go off in your own direction. Criterion wants you to forget that this is a racing game. Instead, it wants you to celebrate driving cars around beautiful scenery, and just cause chaos wherever possible.
There are some very hefty, and welcome changes to the game too. In BPR, you can participate in a mode that encourages you to crash. The larger the domino effect of your crash, the better your score. The game expertly illustrates the length and magnitude of the crash you have caused. Once you’re happy with it, you can always just do it again.
If you’re not a fan of speed, then this isn’t the game for you. BPR focuses on scenarios where you can just put your foot down and hope for the best. Yes, your car does have brakes, but they’re rarely used. Perhaps you might want to drift using the e-brake, but other than that, I didn’t find myself using the brakes. The city of Burnout Paradise is full of areas to carry out crazy stunts, jumps and races. If you don’t like the look of somebody else, just ram them off the road.
When racing, there are only 8 finishing points, one representing each corner of the compass. Despite the map being very large, all races will end at one of these points, meaning that you quickly become familiar with the shortcuts you need to take in order to win. The game doesn’t tell you what directions to take. You can plot out whatever route you want, even if it means you’re sitting in 8th for a while, only to emerge victorious in the last turn. Every single intersection is an opportunity to carry out an event. Whether it’s a race, marked man, stunt run, the possibilities are endless.
As you complete events, you level up. This allows you to gain more experienced driving licenses, which means that you can participate in old events again, but against tougher opponents. Of course, you also get to drive faster cars, or ones that are tougher to ram off the road. You won’t be able to appreciate the land of Paradise quite as much as what is depicted in games like Forza Horizon, however that’s only because Burnout Paradise’s city is designed to be a playground. It isn’t a game that wants to encourage you to stop and admire the scenery, but instead always wants you to be travelling at 100mph and if you see a stunt jump up ahead, even if you had no intention of using it and even if it jeopardises your race, you cannot help but go full throttle and fly.
As far as pricing goes, for a remastered game, this does feel a little too steep. Remastered games are usually around the £20 mark, if not less. EA is charging closer to £30 for BPR. If you have never played Burnout Paradise, £30 is money definitely well spent. However, if you already played the original, being asked to spend another £30 to play the same game but with smoother framerates and upgrades visuals is asking for a lot. The benefit is that the DLC is embedded into the game, and you have access to the DeLorean, a new island and other exciting vehicles.
Despite all of this, is Burnout Paradise Remastered worth the money. Absolutely. In fact, EA perhaps missed a trick with the pricing model. I have no issues with them charging £30 for the game, however it should result in you being able to play the game online with another friend, or perhaps even a party of four. Burnout Paradise is a great game, but enhanced only when you are roaming in Paradise City with other friends. It will be a very tough ask to get my friends to shell out £30 each to play the game. At £15 each, this would be an absolute steal and the perfect casual racer to enjoy. Unfortunately, Burnout Paradise Remastered is not really designed to be eSports friendly. Without the likes of spectator modes and enough controllable options to balance the races, it cannot take off as a competitive title. Does that change the way I feel about BPR? Not a chance. This is the most fun racing game that exists on current-gen consoles, and quite possibly one of the best remasters I have ever played to date.