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Burnout Paradise

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Burnout Paradise

Post by Guest on Fri May 30, 2008 9:59 pm

PLATFORM: XBOX 360







QUICK THINKING
his is one of those games that is heartbreaking to review. That’s not because it’s bad; Burnout Paradise features some of the fastest and most thrilling racing I’ve ever encountered. No, the tragedy here is that, with just a few errors in judgment on the part of the developers, what could have been the year’s greatest racing game settles for being merely good.
Now, “merely good” is something that most games on the market don’t even come close to achieving. I do not want to understate this title’s accomplishments. While we’ve all loved the Burnout series, it’s never been the deepest experience. Not content to rest on a familiar formula, Criterion has made Burnout Paradise a total reinvention of the franchise, a strategy that makes this at once the most compelling and most frustrating entry in the series to date.
Burnout Paradise is an open-world racer in the truest sense. After you load in, everything you want to do both online or offline is available to you in the massive overworld. The map has numerous dots, each of which is a unique event, whether it’s a race, Road Rage (where you must cause a set number of opponents to crash), Marked Man (running a gauntlet filled with aggressive enemy cars), or various other contests. Just pull up, hit both triggers, and you’re in. This holds true for the online mode as well, allowing you to seamlessly set up and send invites to a variety of events all while tooling through the landscape. The sheer scope of what’s available to you at any one time is impressive, and evokes a more user-friendly version of Test Drive Unlimited.
The racing itself, both online and off, is also top quality. This game moves fast – shockingly fast at times – and you’ll hardly ever see a skipped frame or a trace of pop-up. That’s really something when you consider just how detailed this world is. Even after a few days, I was still uncovering hidden areas, routes, and jumps. The driving mechanics are in the classic Burnout style – just realistic enough to give it a sense of verite, but more concerned with delivering speed and thrills than accurate physics modeling.
While there’s so much good to talk about with Burnout Paradise, it’s not hard to spot its flaws. For reasons I’ll never understand, there is no “Retry” option for races. That means that after you’ve lost a race in the last seconds, you’ll have to trek all the way back across the map, go to the intersection you began at, and restart from there. This is highly annoying and often confusing, as it’s sometimes difficult to remember at which of the myriad dots you began. There’s also no “skip to” option, so you’ll spend far too much of your time aimlessly wandering the countryside. For me, this robbed the game of a true sense of progression, as I would often just lose a race and then randomly take the next event that I came across rather than making the effort to restart the last one.
This is especially frustrating because, as a result of the poorly designed on-screen map (which doesn’t orientate to your position) and vague navigation system (which uses only street signs and a general compass), you’ll frequently lose races simply because you took a wrong turn in the huge maze that is Burnout’s roadways. After playing this, you’ll really appreciate just how good a job the Midnight Club series has done at making open-world racing as intuitive as a traditional driving title.
Finally, I fear many fans will bemoan the lack of Crash Mode, a favorite from games past. It’s been replaced with Showtime Mode, which allows you to start crash sequences anywhere by clicking the top shoulder buttons. In this mode, you can bounce your car and “steer” the crash at will, crushing cars that are suddenly streamed into the environment. While it’s fun at first, it quickly feels too artificial and gimmicky, and lacking in the “puzzle game” element that Crash’s preset levels provided.
So, it’s not often that I can say that a game is both a disappointment and a must-play, but Burnout Paradise certainly fits both of those descriptions. What’s here is nothing short of amazing, but I can’t help but wonder what could have been. I will say this: I cannot wait for a sequel. -MATT HELGESON






MATTHEW KATO 8.5
You won’t like some of developer Criterion’s design decisions for Paradise City, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like the game. Criterion’s stubborn refusal to allow event restarts or quick jumps around the world map may keep the integrity of its open world format intact – and what a gorgeous, chock-full world it is – but this breaks the seamless feeling it has worked hard to create. I spent too much time checking the out-of-game map and not enough time exploiting the crumple zones of foes’ cars. In spite of some of these bad choices, there’s a very fun game here. One of my favorite features are the Road Rules, which not only show off some of the sick speeds this title hits, but also give some meaning to the otherwise silly Showtime events – which is still not a substitute for the choreographed madness of Crash mode. Criterion has created a huge world with a boat-load of fun things to do in it – particularly if you play online – and working through the kinks to get to them is worth the effort.






















8.5


CONCEPT:
Burnout Paradise takes the series’ over-the-top racing to a vast open-world environment


GRAPHICS:
Quite simply one of the best graphics engines I’ve seen to date – an open world that’s faster and more detailed than most closed-track racers


SOUND:
The audio hints are welcome, but the soundtrack is an odd mix of classic rock, techno, and fly-by-night pop artists that doesn’t really gel


PLAYABILITY:
The actual racing is excellent; it’s too bad the navigation and career structure is seriously flawed


ENTERTAINMENT:
Design mistakes hamper what could have been an all-time classic. But what’s here is a whole lot of fun


REPLAY:
High
Above is the exact game review from Game Informer. Please post what you think!

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Re: Burnout Paradise

Post by x12ag3x on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:01 am

I love this game. You all should too. Thats what I think Smile.
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Re: Burnout Paradise

Post by Spork201 on Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:27 pm

i love smashing people its so fun
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Re: Burnout Paradise

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