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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Criterion

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

January 21, 2008

 

 

 

- A Burnout fan’s dream with a large racing environment, plenty of red-hot events, and excellent online play, which is much improved from Burnout Revenge

- Ridiculous sense of blazing-fast speed, especially when you’ve reached burnout behind the wheel of a super-speedy racecar

 

 

- Showtime doesn’t satisfy the same way previous crash modes did

- Can’t restart races, particularly annoying after crash and burns when there’s no chance for a win

 

 

Review: Burnout Revenge (360)

Review: Need for Speed ProStreet (360)

Review: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)

 

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Burnout Paradise

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Now, this is paradise. What already was the best extreme racing game around has undergone a massive overhaul under the hood in Burnout Paradise. Expanding on the already winning “burn, baby, burn” racing formula with tons of spectacular vehicle violence, a much more open and huge roadway environment to tear up, shiny new graphics, a ridiculous amount of challenges and races, and improved online play, Burnout Paradise is a heavenly dream come true for extreme mayhem racing aficionados.

 

burnout paradise          burnout paradise

 

Paradise City is the open environment that serves as the streets and roads that gamers will travel, and it’s impressively big. All kinds thoroughfares, including cities, mountains and industrial complexes, are part of this massive city. Gamers can literally spend all their gaming time just driving though Paradise City if they so choose, trying to find the hidden roads and smash the 400 gates blocking their path. Burnout Paradise is objective-based, and along with the gates, there are also dozens of billboards to smash through. But the main gameplay is found at the 120 stoplights on the streets. Pull up to a light, and “peel out” to activate an event. Once gamers complete a certain number of events, their license is upgraded until they become the ultimate Paradise City driver.

 

These events aren’t just mere scorching speed races, which are ridiculously fast 60-frames-per-second velocity thrill rides. There are also smash ’em up, mash ’em up events that have come to define the Burnout franchise: Road Range,

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where gamers must thrash other drivers with vicious vehicular takedowns; and Marked Man, which turns the tables on the gamer – every other car has the gamer’s car in its sights, intent to wreck and ravage it before it reaches the finish line. There’ also a Burning Route challenge, each one specific to a particular car, that requires a driver to beat the best time on a 

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specific route through Paradise City . The only negative surrounding the challenges is that gamers have no way of backing out of one. Once a gamer’s in an event, he’s in it till the finish. There’s no way to restart an event, even when it’s apparent a gamer’s not going to finish in first place. An overwhelming amount of challenges (and an abundance of new cars to unlock), though, will keep gamers happy cruising the streets of Paradise City for a long, long time.

 

So, the trademark slamming and twisting of metal is again in Burnout, but there’s a change to another signature Burnout mode: the crash mode. In previous games, the crash mode was one of the game’s best features. Gamers picked an intersection, and by ramming their car into the traffic flow, attempt to start the most spectacular, points-generating collision involving as many cars as possible. Crash mode was the most enjoyable guilty pleasure one could find in a “racing” game.

 

burnout paradise          burnout paradise

 

But in Burnout Paradise, the crash mode has been transformed into the still fun, but less enjoyable Showtime. Yes, cars still are crashing, but instead of whacking into the traffic and watching the destruction take place, in Showtime (which can be activated simply by hitting the left and right top controller buttons at the same time), gamers must use the boost button to “bounce” their cars into traffic, with each vehicle having a dollar amount posted above it. As long as a gamer has boost left, they can continue to ricochet their car into as much traffic as possible. The best bet is to find either tunnel or city intersections to rack up the points. Showtime is still a good crash mode, but it somehow isn’t as exhilarating as previous Burnout crash modes.

 

Online gameplay via Xbox Live is much better than previous Burnout titles. Getting online requires only a simple flick of the D-pad to launch. The setup is much easier to navigate through, with numerous customization options at a gamer’s disposal. Gamers can even buddy up with fellow online drivers to take on one of Paradise City ’s challenges, too. As much exciting gameplay as there is packed into the single-player game, there’s just as much crammed into the online play.

 

Despite a somewhat-less-satisfying replacement for previous crash modes, fans of the franchise will find this Burnout to be their idea of paradise, with red-hot racing in a large environment that provides plenty of asphalt-burning events to keep gamers putting the pedal to the metal for mile after scorching mile.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(February 18, 2008)

 

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