It has been just over a decade since Criterion Games unleashed Burnout Paradise
However, Burnout Paradise Remastered isn’t a simulation, nor is it bogged down by issues, DLC or anything like that. Instead, the game is simply put, pure, vehicular mayhem that delivers a feeling unlike any other racing game out there.
Take me down to the paradise city
When I first booted up Burnout Paradise Remastered, I couldn’t help but sing along to the game’s main theme song from Guns N' Roses, entitled Paradise City. The feeling of excitement rushed over me as I, once again, took to the streets of Paradise City, a place of fast cars, insane roads, stunts, and most of all, total vehicular mayhem.
It is here where I would spend the next 20 odd hours pushing myself, the cars and the environment to the limit, all while progressing throughout the campaign by unlocking new license levels, roughly 150 vehicles and having the best time I have had in a racing game this generation. Atomica from Crash FM gives you tips on what to do over the radio, but it never feels forced and the whole thing is portrayed with a sense of freedom in mind right from your first moments in the game.
It is that freedom and exploration that makes Burnout Paradise Remastered such an exhilarating and addictive experience. I spent my time racing at top speeds, crashing through billboards, doing barrel rolls on the beach and hunting down other racers’ cars by crashing into them and adding them to my collection, then testing out the new car by simply driving into a junkyard and switching my ride, or repairing my vehicle without even stopping just by driving through auto shops. Handling and even the amount of damage a vehicle can take, as well as the top speed and boost mode, differ from vehicle to vehicle, but each and every one of them is a joy to drive, even the toy cars.
You can spend hours upon hours just exploring, or participate in a variety of activities, from a standard race (where you have the freedom to get to the finish line any way you see fit) to performing stunts to gain a certain amount of points, to becoming the hunted and having to reach a checkpoint without getting decimated by powerful AI opponents.
Speaking of the AI, the game delivers some of the best AI I have recently seen in a racing title and it almost felt like I was playing against human players. I could just do whatever I wanted to do and the AI would react, chase me down or take their own route. Burnout Paradise Remastered not only has a massive collection of overpowered vehicles to boost to no end, customize with different paints and crash into just about every object you can think of, but it also has some powerful superbikes to ride.
Using one of these, a whole new set of challenges open up and the handling felt just as good as that of the cars. Everything in Burnout Paradise Remastered just works like a well-oiled machine, it is as simple as that.
Under the hood
The Burnout Paradise Remastered package comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect, including all DLC, the Big Surf Island expansion as well as bonus vehicles. However, the latter does create somewhat of a problem, as you can use these powerful bonus vehicles to take away most of the early game challenge. Even so, it is up to you and the game still remains a whole lot of fun even if you pick one of the overpowered vehicles available. Burnout Paradise Remastered is exactly the same game content-wise, but it looks absolutely stunning in 4K on the PS4 Pro.
What’s even better is that it runs at a gloriously smooth 60FPS in 4K on the PS4 Pro, producing a feeling like very few racing games can even attempt to offer. The game looks awesome with all the beautiful lights, day/night cycle and the variety of buildings, roads and locations, my personal favourite being the stadium and the beach area. However, the biggest highlight for me has to be the new graphics combining with the slow-motion camera that shows the magnificent crashes in all their glory.
You will crash a lot in Burnout Paradise Remastered, but every time you do, it will put a smile on your face instead of an expression of frustration due to the sheer awesomeness of how everything looks, as the cars get deformed and glass splinters into the air and onto the road. The game has been wonderfully remastered to take advantage of current-gen hardware and leaves nothing to be desired, apart from a few glitches here and there. The aforementioned crash camera does choose the wrong angle once in a while and I did find a couple of small graphical glitches, but those are very few and far between.
In over 20 hours with the game, I saw only six minor graphical glitches and absolutely no FPS slowdowns whatsoever. The game also has an excellent draw distance and unlike many other racing games I reviewed this past year, there were no texture pop-in issues. To drive through the streets of Paradise City with the glorious soundtrack, graphics and sound is pure joy and one that is best shared with others. The only thing that I found throughout the whole experience that I disliked is how high I had to turn up the volume to hear the intro properly. It isn’t a big deal, but it is something I would have thought the developers would have been able to pick up on.
Playing with friends or random others in a multiplayer match is the best possible way to experience Burnout Paradise Remastered. Since I play from South Africa, I would normally expect some form of visible latency during a multiplayer match and more often than not I see rubber-banding occur in fast-paced racing games. Not with Burnout Paradise Remastered, not even in the slightest. I do not know how the developers did it, nor do I really care, but the multiplayer experience of the game is in my opinion, without equal for racing games when playing from South Africa.
I simply felt no lag and didn’t see any of the other players’ vehicles jump around. Collisions felt instant and I could just enjoy the experience without worrying about lag at all. The whole Paradise City becomes a playground of vehicular mayhem for you and up to seven other players to enjoy.
You set challenges, from seeing who can get the most “near misses” to taking down other players or jumping a certain distance to name but a few. And I really do mean a few, as there are 500 challenges to complete, over 50 billboards to smash, a tonne of jumps and the opportunity to just let go and mess around at the highest speeds possible.
You can rule the road by beating friends’ records in a certain event or challenge on specific avenues, which is absolutely fantastic as it gives you a sense of pride and gives others just another reason to put the pedal to the metal. It was also very clear to me when I played the game this past week that many gamers are excited about their current-gen trip back to Paradise City because the wait time for finding a multiplayer match never went past 30 seconds.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is a testament to how remasters should be done. The game stays true to the original in every way possible and delivers stunning visuals, the definitive package including all DLC and glorious 60FPS performance. There is no denying the fun to be had with the game and the freedom it offers is liberating. Sure, there are some minor graphical issues and one sound issue I mentioned briefly in this review, but apart from that, I could find no fault with the game.
It is a complete package, there are no extra costs, and it will keep you busy for many, many hours and keep you smiling all the way. If you played the original to death, I would still recommend picking this up as even though I played it back in the day, the remaster 10 years later feels like a breath of fresh air. If you are looking for an action racing game with fast-paced, chaotic gameplay, stunts and the freedom to do whatever you like, then look no further than Burnout Paradise Remastered.
For those who never played the original, the remaster is a must-play. For those who did, why not revisit Paradise City in this masterful remaster. Best of all, the asking price is roughly 1/3 lower than that of a new AAA title and there is simply nothing that can go head to head with Burnout Paradise.
This review was based off a review copy of the game provided to us by Electronic Arts
Available On: PS4, Xbox One and PC | Reviewed