Burnout has been around a while now – building on a successful series of games on earlier consoles and Burnout Revenge on the current generation, the Burnout games are famous for high-octane racing at ridiculous speeds and huge crashes. So to bring out another updated version with the same old formula would no doubt shift copies but Burnout Paradise has taken a new approach with a sandbox world. Does it work?

Well at first it seems easy enough -you are introduced to the layout and the game play by Crash FM’s DJ, Automica. He takes you through the Junk Yard where you are given your first beat-up wreck to start you off on the mean streets of Big Surf Island. You don’t immediately get put into a race but are instead given the freedom to drive around the city at your leisure. When you come across a race you want to enter (these are found at crossroads dotted around the huge map) you press a button combo highlighted on screen and away you go.

There are a number of different race types to enter ranging from the standard race challenges to Stunt Runs, where you have to perform jumps and smashes to meet a score requirement, to our favourite – Road Rage, where you have to take down as many cars as you can before the time expires. Each type of race is better suited to a different class of car and each class of car has its own pros and cons. For example, a speedy car will help win a race but is light and can get bumped off the road for a Takedown easily whereas a heavier car can battle against other racers but is a bit slower. A delicate balance that means you will eventually find your favourite Burnout car and probably stick to that class.
Burnout Paradise game review PlayEject
More cars are awarded to you as you win more races and progress your rank while other cars can be found when free-riding in Burnout Paradise – if you see a car gunning past you while you’re minding your own business, its a good idea to boost after it and try to Takedown the car so it gets added to your Junk Yard.

The main downside of Burnout Paradise was that you can’t just select a race and get on with it – there is a bit of driving around to get to where you want. So if you were after a certain event like a Burning Route, for example, you’d have to find it on the map and then head on over. That can be quite tedious as the map is huge but, having said that we found it to be one of the best ways to learn shortcuts and find the collectable gates and billboards that are dotted around also.

As Burnout Paradise is an open-world, so too are the races. That means that if your target is to get to say the Naval Yard from the Observatory, you aren’t given a circuit to follow – you can go any which way you please. That opens up a lot of competition, especially on the multiplayer, but its easy to take a wrong turn or miss an exit because of the lightening speed and lose a race because of it. The only guide you are given on these races is at the top of the screen where the ‘best route’ flashes up and beeps, signaling which road to take.

Aside from that, we thoroughly enjoyed playing Burnout Paradise. Collecting the cars isn’t as addictive as in other racers as some of them are the same but with a different paint job, but there’s a great sense of accomplishment when you’ve just found a few more gates to smash through which lead to a billboard or when you’ve just earned a Takedown Rampage mid way through a race and nipped into 1st place.

Add to all that some fantastic free DLC to create the Ultimate Box, including Burnout Bikes, Cops and Robbers for online mulitplayer and an option to get the second Island events and cars and this shows how much Criterion Games and EA have put into this Burnout franchise – superb.

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