b urnout paradise remast ered
Riotous redux pulls a fast one
In real life, driving isn’t that glamorous. I recently passed my test at the grand old age of 32, and let me tell you, repeatedly performing parallel parking manoeuvres or reversing into a bay is more Fussy & Fastidious than Fast & Furious. Thankfully, Criterion’s take on driving is a hell of a lot more fun than the real thing.
The original Burnout Paradise first hit Xbox 360 over ten years ago. I now feel so disgustingly ancient, I can feel the cartilage in my knees disintegrating with sadness. Not that you’ll feel like you’re playing a decade-old title when you boot up this surprisingly spry remaster. With its breezy open world, addictive event structure, cute online challenges, and plethora of horribly moreish shortcut gates and billboards to smash,
Paradise feels like every inch the modern racer.
While the car-wrecking, blisteringly quick 60fps action is still fresh, visually you won’t mistake Criterion’s riotous road trip for a 2018 title. Even though Stellar Entertainment has done a fine job reworking road and building textures, as well as notably improving smoke and spark effects, this clearly remains a last-gen game with an extra shiny paint job. If you own an Xbox One X, the bump to 4K makes the searing sights and sounds sumptuous, but if you’re playing on an S or the launch model, the 1080p results aren’t nearly as impressive.
Takedown and out
Not that you should be stopping to admire the roadside textures down at Harbour Town. Burnout Paradise isn’t a game where you pause to smell the nitrous-boosted roses; it’s an experience of constantly escalating speed and car-crumpling carnage. Whether you’re fending off attacking motors in desperate dashes in Marked Man, or racking up slo-mo, fender-bending Takedowns in Road Rage, the sensation of speed is never less than startling.
Paradise has been constructed so expertly, it’s damn difficult to put the pad down once this open-ended racer sticks its spokes into you. Almost every junction spread across Paradise City offers up an event to tackle. Some may see you bombing through the waterside promenades of Palm Bay Heights in vanilla races, others will ask you to get from ludicrously quick A to preposterously speedy B in Burning Route events, while you’ll never find yourself far from a suspension-ruining Stunt Run – remember, the E-brake is your best friend! Holding down both triggers to instantly slip into these challenges make progress in Paradise both super welcoming and gracefully intuitive. Considering it first launched in 2008, this giddily daft racer was structurally way ahead of its time.
Sadly, some design choices haven’t aged nearly as well as these quickfire challenges. For one thing, changing cars is a needlessly ponderous hassle. Rather than being able to switch vehicles on-the-fly
through a menu, you instead have to manually drive to one of the game’s annoyingly sporadic junkyards. This process is made even more irritating because Paradise doesn’t let you lay down custom waypoint markers; instead you’re forced to constantly pause the action to check your map. It’s a finicky design decision that really does go against the spirit of searing speed that lies at the heart of Paradise.
Map of honour
During Burning Routes, you’ll also find yourself constantly checking the map because there’s no predetermined ‘right’ way to go. While an onscreen compass tries to keep you on the best route, it’s easy to take a wrong turn and end up slipping from first to eighth in an instant. Turns out, navigation is a teensy bit difficult when you’re travelling at around 180mph. Where’s a speed-of-sound Sat Nav when you need one? Is it easy to get disorientated because the game makes you plot your own impromptu routes? Sure. But unlike the laborious junkyard trips, being forced to make split-second navigational decisions adds a welcome tactical layer to the action. As a package, Burnout Paradise
Remastered ultimately feels a little unbalanced. At £30, it’s not quite cheap enough to fall into impulsebuy territory, especially when you can pick up a copy of the original 360 game – which will work just fine on your Xbox One thanks to the console’s back-compat features – for as little as £6 online (I checked). Yes, the remaster includes the Big Surf Island DLC and all toy and legendary vehicles unlocked from the off, but despite this content being welcome, it does make progression a little hollow when you know you already have killer cars waiting back at a junkyard.
Despite the fact it remains an excellent game, if you’re using the base Xbox One and a 1080p TV,
Burnout Paradise is unlikely to knock your speedster socks off. But if you’re lucky enough to have an X and a 4K set, the ramped up resolution makes this sunkissed playground a fabulously fast treat. Start buckling up now.
“The sensation of speed in Paradise is never less than startling”
The game looks especially stunning on an X and a 4K TV . Races against others are one of the options.
Road Rage offers carcrippling fun. Enjoy writing off your motor!