Burnout Paradise Remastered Switch Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Racing
 
Rating: M15+
 
Release Date: Out Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


 

Positives


-A well-optimised and well-put together port of Burnout Paradise
-Consistent 60fps framerate
-Plenty of content within Paradise City

Negatives


-Far from the best the Burnout series has to offer
-Design has aged by today's standards


Posted July 13, 2020 by

 
Full Article
 
 

I love Burnout so goddamn much. It’s a human tragedy that the series hasn’t made any kind of return in the decade since Burnout Paradise was released, because Criterion had distilled the perfect arcade racer formula in the precision, spectacle and destruction of Burnout 3: Takedown. Since that high watermark, the series never quite recaptured its glory, but since then the only real kind of attention its received has been in re-releases of its last major game, Paradise. This was the game that took the series from individual races and crash puzzles and transplanted it into a full open city, and now it’s finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch. It’s also a full $30 more than the other Remastered ports on PS4 and Xbox One, but at least you get a damn good port for your money.

The Burnout series is all about going against every road rule and being rewarded for it – so long as you have the skill to match. Driving on the wrong side of the road, into oncoming traffic and narrowly avoiding cars as they zip centimetres past your own, all of this fuels your car’s boost meter, which in turn lets you go even faster and drive even more dangerously. And when you mess up, you pay for it instantly, with gloriously realised crashes that end your path of destruction suddenly (although Paradise made these more forgiving with the inclusion of certain ‘Driveaway’ conditions). Of course, you want to avoid this as much as possible with your own car, but encourage it with other racers, and slamming them into traffic or grinding them along the side of the road to take them out of the race is immediately rewarded as well. The central gameplay conceit is immensely fun across the series, and something which even now still feels unique to Burnout, as it encourages you to become better and better at driving horribly.

Burnout Paradise isn’t quite as pure a Burnout experience as the other games, although it has cool intentions that were ambitious for the time. Paradise City is an open world, with events lining its many intersections that you can stop and participate in as you level up your license and gain access to bigger and better races. There are several areas to the city to explore, from open freeways to tight forested roads around an observatory in the hills, to scenic harbour-side streets. However, this still boils down to maybe six or so areas that look relatively similar, which lose a bit of variety as you get further and further into the game and start playing through the same routes over and over. The guidance and GPS system to find your way around Paradise City is also very basic compared to what we would consider acceptable in open world games today, and it can be hard to figure out where exactly you need to be going in a race without having played through it before. While there are plenty of event types, this was also a game that kind of lost the magic of the ‘Crash’ mode featured in previous Burnout titles, where you would intentionally crash your car into a busy intersection to create maximum damage and expense. Now called ‘Showtime’, it can now be activated at any time at any location within the game. While novel, it eliminates the puzzle element that was present for this mode in other games – having specially crafted traffic scenarios that you have to figure out how to exploit to get a high score – and doesn’t offer a lot of depth or replay value.

Burnout Paradise Remastered includes all of the content and DLC from the original Burnout Paradise releases last-gen, which includes all the ‘Big Surf Island’, a small but welcome addition to the game map, Legendary Cars (like knock-off versions of Back to the Future‘s flying DeLorean and the Ghostbusters car), motorcycles, a dynamic weather system and day/night cycle. All of this content is unlocked from the beginning as well, which is worth keeping in mind, because it makes a lot of the original progression of the game kind of pointless (that is, racing and upgrading your junkyard cars to better levels as you rise to the top of the Paradise City scoreboards) given you have a lot of excellent DLC cars available to you at your garage at any time. The soundtrack is decent, although not as memorable as some of the previous entries, and is obsessed with playing Guns N’ Roses ‘Paradise City’ (do you get it?), which while a good song, does tend to wear by the 10th time you’ve heard it in a session.

Fortunately on Switch, it all runs wonderfully at a blistering 60fps. I never encountered any major dips, and it’s encouraging to see that even though Paradise is a 12 year old game, the Switch can handle it very ably, especially in docked mode. In handheld detail does tend to be lost as you get into busier areas, but it’s certainly a far better portable option than Burnout Legends was back on the PSP (despite the immense love I do have for that game).

Burnout Paradise Remastered on Switch runs really well, and if the price doesn’t bother you it’s easy to recommend on the system if you have a love for the game. For me, while it’s well made and I appreciate the care with which the remaster has been done, Burnout Paradise Remastered can only be as good as the original Burnout Paradise was, which is to say it’s only an OK Burnout game. It’s a more forgiving, less structured and replayable Burnout, that while ambitious for the time, lacks modern conveniences like fast travel or the ability to easily swap cars, that make it somewhat frustrating to play 12 years on. However, even an only OK Burnout game is worth checking out by everyone at some point, and Burnout Paradise Remastered is a solid and comprehensive translation of the original.

Burnout Paradise Remastered was reviewed on a regular Nintendo Switch with a review copy provided by EA.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.