International Writers Magazine: Games
Developed by Criterion Games
Published by EA Games
Jack Clarkson review
the Xbox 360 and PS3.Yes! After a long hiatus. Its time for
another episode of "Jack tells the readers of Hackwriters about
videogames they never heard of!" Hold on to your hats! Its
time for me to review Burnout Paradise!
For those of you
not familiar with the series. Burnout is a racing game about dodging
traffic, drifting, and driving on the wrong side of the road in order
to fill up your boost bar in order to go even faster and
make it even harder to dodge the traffic before you screw up
when you do screw up its okay, because good lord those car crashes
look cool! You, the player were always treated to a full action replay
of the pileups and carnage you wrought upon the crowded road while the
other racers sped away in front of you
Burnout Paradise, the newest addition to the series is no exception.
Driving like a lunatic rewards you with more driving like a lunatic,
and this time theyve added stunts like jumps and flips, and bonuses
for ramming other cars into each other.
Unfortunately, for everything thats been added to this game, something
equally important has been removed as well! Instead of driving laps
with force fields to guide you around the improvised track and only
having to worry about reaching mach three without hitting a misplaced
bus, you now drive aimlessly around a massive city being given places
to race to every now and again. Unfortunately, Criterion Games did not
seem to realise that Burnout is about speed and pushing your reflexes
to fighter pilot levels and rendering yourself a quivering mess. Not
map reading! Sure, the game does tell you which turning to take next,
but the on screen prompts are so small and hard to notice when youre
too busy driving into oncoming traffic in order to fill your boost bar
up quickly that you frequently find yourself accidentally on the motorway
in the wrong direction and no choice but to do a U-turn and find your
way back to the road you should have been on in the first place!
What makes things seem even sillier though is that you can take a spiralling
route through the city and unless youre actually near them, the
enemy racers all seem to slow down to a glacial pace that allows you
to catch up easily
you can practically take the scenic
route to your destination and still have time to stop and reverse over
the finish line!
And secondly, the stunt and aggression modes are fun and all, and the
online multiplayer is great. But wheres the bloody split screen
multiplayer? That was the best part of the original games, trying to
ram each other in front of nearby bollards just to watch them shatter
into a thousand pieces, and then find yourself succumbing to the same
fate when you were too busy laughing at your friend! Why Criterion?
Why did you honestly think it was a good idea to get rid of it?
Half of this game is about exploring Paradise city (named as such just
so they could use the Guns N Roses song as the theme tune.) Except
you are exploring what has to be the most terrifyingly weird city I
have ever seen! When was the last time you ever saw a ramp in the middle
of the road in real life? And since when were billboards supposed to
be routinely destroyed? And how many drive-through mechanics does a
single city need?
of drive through mechanics
One thing it takes a while for
you to ask is. Where are the humans? There are no pedestrians, no
human characters to interact with, and get this, NO DRIVERS! If
you break the windows of your car and go into reverse, you will
notice that there is nobody inside the car! Sure, there are human
sized doors on all the buildings, and stairs outside some of them.
But nobody is there to use them! The city is inhabited entirely
by sentient cars!
This must be what
resulted from our cars becoming self-aware and realising they didnt
need us anymore!
This is not a driving game! This is a dystopia about the rise of our
When youve realised this, the way you unlock new cars suddenly
takes a far more sinister light! After winning a pre-determined number
of races you are informed that a new car is driving around the city,
if you "shut it down" you can have it
it down" they mean ramming the poor living-car-beast-thing off
the road! Leaving it a crumpled, mangled wreck that you have just realised
probably feels pain! If it werent for the triumphant "you
unlocked a new car" message the unfathomably annoying commentator
gives you every time. You would probably hear it begging you to end
its agony, to make the pain stop once and for all!
But do you stop it? Do you buggery! When you drive to the nearest junkyard
you are given a cut-scene of about ten seconds showing a flashing neon
"NEW WRECKS HERE" sign. Yes, not only have you crippled the
poor car to little more than a broken husk of its former athletic
self, you have now forced it into slavery under your command for the
rest of its life, only to be repaired if you actually want to
use it, if its unfortunate enough to have been born a "speed"
class car, it will spend the rest of its life imprisoned within
the confines of this automotive graveyard for all eternity, or at least
until the sequel comes out
But despite these misgivings I had with this game, the tainting of the
purity of its predecessors, the unnecessary navigation in the races
or the horrific implications of a human-less society. I enjoyed the
hell out of this game!
The controls are extremely tight, allowing both delicate manoeuvring
in tight spaces and accurate car dodging while driving at about six
hundred miles an hour. There is always something to do at any one time,
and the very prospect of more driving is enough of an incentive to keep
playing half the time, which is always a good sign with a game! I played
this game round a friends house, handing the controller to my
host whenever we crashed, and we did, a lot. And true to Burnout tradition,
the crashes are half the fun! The addition of "Aggression"
mode which is purely about crashing other competitors has to be the
most fun Ive had in a game in years! Seeing a car fly off a cliff
and landing in a crumpled ball of metal is amazing!
And then I remember that Im actually killing sentient beings and
have to kill some more of them to cheer myself up!
If youve played previous Burnout titles. The lack of helpful magical
arrow-shaped forcefields will annoy you at first, but you will be having
too much fun to care after a while. If you like driving games and are
wondering what you should be buying next then Burnout Paradise might
well be what youre looking for!
Clarkson March 11th 2008
Jack is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth UK
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Review by Jack Clarkson
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imagination that Terry Pratchett used to make Discworld so popular.
The characters were likeable and hate-able in all the right places.
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