Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty! Welcome back Burnout…
If you’ve been left cursing at the disappearance of the Burnout series in recent years, then the announcement of Burnout Paradise Remastered would have been one that left you seriously excited. Yep that’s right, Burnout is back and whilst it’s not a new entry for the beloved arcade racing franchise, those with fond memories of their time in Paradise City can now get back into the smashing, crashing and high-speed racing that made those memories so fond in the first place. That said, it’s been nine years since we last took to the streets in Burnout Paradise – is it still the crowning arcade racer it once was?
That’s a trick question really, because yes, of course it is! Burnout Paradise was a damn fantastic racer and this remaster just highlights many of the reasons why it did so well first time around, whilst also managing to reignite that desire for more from the Burnout universe.
For those who missed out on one of the greatest racers ever first time around, Burnout Paradise drops you off in the high-octane streets of Paradise City, a fictional world that brings racing to an all-new level. For every street there is a race, for every race there is a shortcut and for every shortcut there is a chance you could end up a crumpled smouldering pile in the middle of the road… but it could also see you pinching the vital seconds needed in order to inch ahead of the other racers for the win, as you build ever closer to the coveted Burnout Elite license.
Earning your Burnout Elite license is the main goal within Burnout Paradise, but for the vast majority of your time in Paradise City that will just be something that’s progressing in the background – there is so much to feast your eyes on that it doesn’t take long to get lost in the winding city streets and the many events that beg for your attention.
All in all, there are 135 events to take on in the single player side of things. These events range from typical point-to-point style races, time trial events, marked man events which in simple terms offer a race for your life as you try to reach the finish without being destroyed, road rage events which require you to takedown a certain number of opponents and stunt races that ask you to accrue points from fancy skills and tricks out on the street.
On top of that there are also 120 Burnout billboards to hunt down, tons of jumps to find and a seemingly never-ending amount of gates to smash your way through – somewhat close to 500 – that are spread out across the city, not to mention every road holding its own competition to see who can reach the end in the fastest possible time.
Along the with fresh lick of paint that accompanies Burnout Paradise on Xbox One – which looks incredible on Xbox One X – is all of the wonderful content that was available for the original via way of DLC. That means Big Surf Island, Burnout Paradise Bikes, and the many cars that arrived after initial release are all included from the start this time around. With that then comes the additional races, jumps, shunts and bumps that come with the Big Surf Island extension, as well as an extra bike license to obtain, and some specific challenges to master for fans of the two-wheeled machines.
Burnout Paradise Remastered isn’t just a closed solo experience though, and should you prefer to sit side by side on the sofa and go up against your friends, then a local multiplayer option is present for up to eight players to take on some party play madness. It’s fair to say the challenges it offers in Party mode are certainly a blast. But for many out there I’m sure getting enough players together at the same time can be a real pain, especially with life often getting in the way of gaming opportunities.
Fear not though as online multiplayer is present in Burnout Paradise Remastered, and the chance to go hammer and tongs with others will surely be one many will wish to dive into frequently in the coming months. It allows the already shining spectacle that is Burnout to gleam even more and it all starts from the moment those wheels first touch the city streets.
Accessing the multiplayer isn’t as simplistic as most games these days though and I must admit that it does take a little while to understand just how to access it, given that it’s done through tabs on the pause menu. When you work it all out though it’s not so bad and with options for Freeburn Online, Player match and Ranked match, there are certainly enough options to get stuck in to. Freeburn Online acts as the freeroam aspect for the online in which up to eight players can come and go as they please, racing around and causing chaos on the streets. The host of the lobby is the one with the overall power though, choosing what the group do next, whether it be a race or one of the hundreds of challenges that are available.
It’s hard to honestly say which of the two is better, as even though the racing is both tense and enjoyable, transferring the fine single player experience wonderfully, the challenges provide a fantastic one-off event that really changes up the pace of the game.
Unfortunately, whilst it’s fantastic to see the exhilarating Burnout series arrive on modern consoles, it’s not quite a 100% polished experience online and even though the issues present don’t affect the gameplay or performance in any way, it would have been nice to see them fixed before we took to the streets once more.
See, most of the issues in question are focused around the online statistics, and as a big fan of all things numbered, I love to check out the amount of Takedowns, Rivals, Wins and more. Even after just a few races the statistics seem to be completely wrong, with excessive numbers in every category. For example, at the time of writing my online wins currently sit at 61, despite only managing a couple of outright wins. Of course, this is sure to be fixed with an incoming patch, but it’s hard to see how things like that slip by unnoticed.
There is also a lengthy time needed to actually get into an online race. Whilst there are no issues at all when you actually get going, the start of each is marred by every single driver requiring a stat showcase – an incorrect one at present – before you can actually get underway. Of course, this is only really in place as a crafty attempt to hide what is obviously a loading screen, however it would be nicer to get into the action a little quicker, especially given how seamless the rest of the online experience is.
Finally, and this is once again only a small and niggling issue that really does bear little importance, but as someone who likes to look out for Achievements within games, seeing certain Achievements struggling to unlock, despite fulfilling the criteria, is something that’s currently a problem. Whilst this issue won’t bother many, it would be nice to see everything tied to the game run as smoothly as possible. Oddly this problem is only present within the multiplayer achievements and whilst the online community is certainly an active one at present, meaning gathering players together to try again for those not unlocking shouldn’t be difficult, it’s certainly not something you should have to do.
Overall though, Burnout Paradise Remastered is a fantastic experience and a welcome remaster to have. Whilst there is nothing new for those who have already mastered everything the original had to offer – besides a fresh lick of paint to enjoy – the lack of quality arcade racers on modern consoles means seeing Burnout return with no changes is really not an issue at all. It’s fun, it’s wild, it’s a classic returning with a fresh lease on life and it’s one that any true racing fan should be getting involved with at the earliest opportunity.
And that’s without mentioning that the soundtrack brings enough quality to see you singing your way across the finish line race after race, now where was I…
Take me down to Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty, oh won’t you please take me home!