- Title: Burnout Paradise
- Platform:Xbox 360
- Publisher: EA
- Developer: Criterion
- ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
- Genre: Racing
- Pros: The races are fun; nice presentation; great online play; just driving around aimlessly is fun
- Cons: Showtime mode is a poor replacement for Crash mode; Stunt and Marked Man events kind of suck
The biggest difference between Paradise and past Burnout games is that you are now free to explore a large city. And rather than choosing races from a menu, events are scattered across the map at stoplights. Hidden around the city are jumps, billboards, and shortcuts you can crash through and all of these objects reward you with achievements when you find them all. Exploring the city is a lot of fun and is enjoyable all on its own.
Where Paradise starts to stumble is in the events you have to choose from. Races and Road Rage events return and they are fine. But the beloved Crash mode has been replaced with a new feature called “Showtime”. At any point you can press the LB+RB buttons to enter Showtime mode where your car blows up and you can bounce it along the road to try and hit civilian cars and try to rack up points. This is sort of interesting the first time, but it loses its luster very quickly. Another lackluster event type is the Stunt events. You have to jump and spin and boost and do other tricks to try to meet point goals. The problem is, though, that depending on what part of town you are in it can either be very difficult or very easy. And either way it just isn’t all that fun.
The events are a bit hit-or-miss, but the gameplay in Burnout Paradise is pretty darn solid. The races and Road Rage events and everything else are a little different from previous games since there isn’t ever any assigned course and you are just trying to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, but it still retains the same fast paced, accessible, and addictive feel from past Burnouts. It does take a bit of getting used to in order to learn the maps, but the game gives you a couple of visual and audio cues when you should be making a turn to keep on the right track, so it isn’t too bad. Paradise also does a good job of rewarding you with new cars at fairly quick intervals, so you always have new toys to play with.
Graphics and Sound
The sound is a bit of a mixed bag. The crashes, engine sounds, and squealing tires all sound great, but the rest of the game isn’t so hot. The soundtrack features a couple of decent songs, but also a lot of tracks that seem out of place. Thankfully, you can use custom soundtracks on the Xbox 360 version. The announcer, DJ Atomica, will definitely rub some people the wrong way and tends to repeat things quite a bit, but I personally wasn’t ever too bothered by him.