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Burnout paradise- what do you want from a racing game?

Content of the article: "Burnout paradise- what do you want from a racing game?"

I typically play a racer to have something calming and meditative to do with my hands, which is why I mainly stick to forza because of it’s rewind feature. I’m not looking for any frustration at all.

Burnout paradise was among the last of the arcade racers, before realistic racing became the norm. It treats cars the way a kid playing with hot wheels plays with cars, as something to be crashed and smashed and really played with, as opposed to how modern racers treat them as a beautiful thing to be fetishized and obsessed over. This is why there are no real brands and why the cars don’t have people in them.

It’s also open world, as in open world during a race, unlike previous entries and pretty much every other racer. You’re given a finish line and have to figure out your own route there.

The actual driving feels amazing, it really feels fast in a way no other racer does. It has a subtle screen shake that still lets you see everything that’s happening. I actually felt like I was pressed back into my seat by the speed at a few points.

Problem is, it prevents you from getting into a flow state with it because you find yourself pausing several times during a race to look at the map and be like, “Ok, I’ll take the next right then the second left…” which was interesting, for sure, but isn’t what a lot of people are looking for.

The map is very 3 dimensional, with a lot of hidden routes everywhere. The idea is, as you explore the map and find them your map knowledge makes you a better racer. Problem is, these shortcuts are unnecessary at best and unhelpful at worst. There are only eight finish lines that every race goes to, so even though they made this detailed map you race the same roads over and over. The shortcuts could turn in any direction. It’s much more reliable to simply use a speed class car, choose a familiar route with as few turns as possible, and hold the boost down all the way there. You’ll finish miles ahead of all the other racers who took a more interesting route.

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Also, it LOVES crashes. It loves them so much it films your crashes at loving camera angles, spending eight unskippable seconds watching your beautifully crumpled car flip and spin on your roof until you stop moving after you hit that tiny bollard. It continues doing this hours later for every single crash.

My favorite events were the road rages, where you just crash other drivers. Use an aggression class car, and just run into them from behind and often they’ll obligingly turn sharp left and do somersaults up against a wall, like an extra in an action movie getting shot and dramatically throwing themselves over a railing. Pure catharsis.

Overall though, it feels a bit like wasted potential. The map and it’s many secret routes are wasted by having the same finish lines for everything. I think back to midnight club 3, which had both races that took you on a predefined route, and races that just gave you a finish line and had you figure out how to get there. Paradise could have done this very well. Perhaps have player able to create their own routes that snake through the city in crazy ways.

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I liked it enough to finish it and get the burnout license, but I probably won’t be back. I like it’s game feel and it’s philosophy about treating cars like fun toys rather than consumerist fetish objects, but it’s held back in other ways.

Did it all work for you, or not? Was it exactly what you look for? It must be considered a classic for a reason.

Edit: oh yeah, and there is no way to mark a point on your map. Which is very annoying.


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