Burnout Paradise was a big deal back when it first released, not only was it a follow up to the successful Burnout Revenge and the even more so Burnout 3: Takedown, it was an open world racer, something which was still in the early stages of coming into their own. No longer were you left to just drive from point to point, taking part in a closed off race, you were given the freedom to explore and race how you wanted to, even to this day, there are no other games that offer that. Of course, what was presented, at least in the initial version was a little rough at times, if you wiped out so bad that there was no chance you could win your race, all you could do was wait at the side of the road for a few moments, the game would cancel the race and then you would have to drive all the way back to the start point. Over time though, the game evolved and features were changed, so that the game was more accessible to players, even with all the DLC added, there was quite literally so much content, that most players never touched it all.
Of course, with any good remaster, in the video game world at least, the visuals are enhanced, sure, but the game is also tweaked, improvements and refinements are added where needed, giving players the ultimate version of the game. This is not the case here, yes, the visuals are incredible, but Burnout Paradise was no means a visual slouch when it first released, but now on Xbox One X, in 4K and at 60fps, the game looks amazing. Sure, the visuals are dated by their design, lots of angles and rough shapes, but they still hold really well and of course, as you will normally be blazing around the map, you won’t notice most of that. The gameplay is still the same, you start out on your learner’s drivers licence, after a few quick and easy wins, you move up to a D class, score more wins and you move up again, you repeat this process until you get a Burnout licence, which in all honesty requires a lot more time than most people will want to donate to the game.
Driving is still as solid as ever, going full speed down a street and then tapping the break will send you skidding around the corner and if you feather the gas pedal, you can score some impressive drifting yards. The events are the same, you have the races, stunt events, takedown events and marked man events as your main bread and butter, but there are also time trials for each car, but you need to first locate them on the map, then have the right car to compete. Speaking of the map, it still needs you to drive everywhere to fill it up, no event, junk yard, auto repair or anything appears until you have found it first. Given the amount of content to do outside of racing, billboards, gates and more, there is always something to do, however if you wanted to live out your little dream of just ploughing into traffic at top speed, pressing the two shoulder buttons triggers crash mode and while some people will try to convince you its not the same as the old school crash, it can still be a lot of fun.
Sadly though, while the visuals have gotten an increase and the game still performs great, there is not a change elsewhere to be seen, which is a shame. I would have loved to have see an option in the map to help you track the burning route events, because they can be quite a pain to find at times. Warping around the map would have been nice, though not as fun as driving, but for the love of all that is good, a GPS to help guide you to the obscure stunt event you need to complete for that final win would have been a godsend. The problem is, all the little flaws from the original that never got fixed, still have not been touched, there are still random little bumps in the road that can send you flying if you happen to move over it at any sort of speed, a lot of the final billboards are almost impossible to claim, they are possible, it just takes way more time than I shall ever admit to and finding the final 10 gates to smash through is a nightmare, no matter who you are. The problem is, these are the sort of things that should have been fixed, an in-game checklist at least, but nope, what you get here is a polished version of the one that Criterion released with the 1.8 update.
As I stated before a good remaster will always look at the visuals and improve them in some way, here is no exception, EA promised 4k and 60fps and they delivered. The game is just stunning at speeds, there are some sections of the map, usually in the city itself, where the effects can be a little much, but that minor and no impactful in anyway. What does impact the game though is the random pop in that can happen, tress, buildings, guard rails and other items will pop in in the distance, which is distracting, but cars have a habit of just appearing and when that happens at speed, it can be a little annoying. The most annoying part of the presentation though is the soundtrack, no Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses is a classic and all the instrumental tracks and classic Burnout tracks are welcome, but Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend was not a good choice back in 2008 and today its even worse and a lot of the other tracks, like Epic, Friction and Rusty Cage could have been replaced. DJ Atomika is still entertaining at times, but when he opens up with ‘Fresh from Radio Big’ meaning SSX series, it loses all credibility when the last time we heard that was well before Burnout Paradises’ original release.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is a fine game, it takes when was great about the original release and brings it to current platforms. The inclusion of all the DLC is great as is the online modes, Freeburn being especially fun at times, but the lack of tweaks and improvements is a letdown, they had the chance to improve the game for the better here, but they did not even try and that is perhaps the biggest shame.
Review copy provided by Electronic Arts