Burnout Paradise Remastered Review

Richard Walker

It's hard not to feel a bit of a tingle down your spine when those first few noodlings of Guns n' Roses' 'Paradise City' kick in the moment you fire up Burnout Paradise Remastered. Not only a great rock song, it signifies an invitation into a world of relentless racing fun, all flying sparks, twisted metal and retina-searing speed as you quite literally burnout down the streets of the eponymous Paradise City. It's arcade racing nirvana and now it looks even prettier.

But despite the boost in resolution and the lovely 60 frames per second slickness, is Burnout Paradise as inviting as it was ten years ago? There are still fundamental problems with the open-world structure of the game, the speed at which you travel making it tricky to navigate, especially during a race when you're tearing along at 200 miles per hour. The game has flashing road signs to indicate when you need to make a turn, but you need only blink to find yourself clipping the scenery and wrecking your ride. Hence, taking a split second to look up when you need to turn can be perilous.

The beauty of Burnout and its three follow-ups (the most fondly remembered being Burnout 3: Takedown) was that you could race from A to B at ridiculous speeds without really having to worry about taking a diversion. Paradise demands sharp wits and even sharper reflexes, especially as the difficulty ramps up. If you've already played Burnout Paradise (it's already backward compatible on Xbox One), then you'll know this. You'll also know that it's one of the most enjoyable and exciting arcade racers there is.

Remastered offers a perfect opportunity for newcomers to discover its myriad racing delights for the first time, but with the likes of Forza Horizon arguably doing the open-world racing thing much better, Burnout Paradise doesn't seem quite so novel. That's not to say that Criterion's 2008 effort isn't still a great game – because it is – it's just not the watershed moment that it felt like for the series at the time. And the majority of fervent Burnout fans – myself included – prefer the likes of Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge for offering the same kind of thrills without the open-world fripperies.

Of the game's Race, Road Rage, Burning Lap, Stunt Run and Marked Man events, Road Rage remains the purest Burnout experience, which is why I'd find myself actively seeking them out and ignoring the others. Being able to hold both bumpers/shoulder buttons initiates an instance of Showtime, the game's version of Crash Junctions, which aren't nearly as fun, due in part to being unable to unleash a destructive Crashbreaker, blowing everything up within your immediate vicinity. It's an omission that makes Paradise feel like it's really missing something quite integral.

Burnout Paradise has its fair share of frustrations too, like not being able to easily restart a botched race or having to find a junkyard when you want to switch vehicles. Little niggling things that don't detract from the overall experience, but do tarnish it somewhat. If you loved Burnout Paradise to death ten years ago, then Remastered is only going to enhance that love even more. The game looks stunning in its new remastered clothes and overall, it all holds up rather well a decade on.

Smashing billboards and tearing through crash gates injected collectibles into the formula, while racers roaming the map waiting to be taken down gives you something to work towards. The online component is sizeable too, offering more than ample opportunity to party up or compete with other racers in a variety of multiplayer modes. And when you factor in the scope for simply messing around within Paradise City and Big Surf Island's sandbox in a range of insane cars and motorcycles, there's a lot to still love about Burnout Paradise Remastered.

Yet this re-release really had me longing for either a remaster of the original Burnout games or a completely new entry in the series. Burnout Paradise Remastered is still colossal amounts of fun, and is undoubtedly a definitive version of the game with the Big Surf Island and Cops and Robbers DLC alongside all of the other content in one place. But is it worth buying again if you've already played it to death? Not really. Criterion has carried out a fine remastering paint job for Burnout Paradise Remastered, but unsurprisingly, it's the same old engine chugging underneath it all, adding nothing new beyond the obvious visual enhancements.

Burnout Paradise Remastered

Burnout Paradise Remastered represents a more than welcome comeback for a series that's been away for far too long. Given a lustrous new coat of paint, Burnout Paradise still looks the business then, but now it's got us yearning for a whole new Burnout.

Form widget
75%
Audio
70%

A great soundtrack paired with the dulcet tones of DJ Atomika and cars that sound like a hive of angry bees, Burnout Paradise still sounds good.

Visuals
70%

Smooth as silk and looking showroom fresh with a lick of high resolution paint, Burnout Paradise Remastered looks the business. But then, it already looked pretty good.

Playability
80%

The reason to pick up Burnout Paradise Remastered. It still plays wonderfully and serves as a welcome reminder that Criterion and EA really need to bring Burnout back.

Delivery
70%

An arcade racing classic looking its best with all of the content included. At the price, it doesn't really represent great value, unfortunately.

Achievements
70%

The same old achievement list, albeit one that worked well enough back in the day and still fits the bill nicely here.

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