Boom, smash, thunk. Boom. Boom. Bo-“Come ON!”-om, smash, thunk. That’s just a small sample of the soundtrack in the bit-tech offices recently; a staccato rhythm of screeching metal, crumpling steel, swearwords and controllers flung across the room. To most people it would sound scary, unfamiliar and best avoided, but to us it’s a beautiful melody that we’ve stuck on an endless repeat ever since Burnout Paradise for the PlayStation 3 landed in the office.
Boom, crash, thunk, scre-“Oh crap!”-eech, thunk. There it goes again as Tim seizes the controller once more and backflips an SUV onto a city bus at a busy intersection, adding another multiplier to his score.
If you aren’t familiar with the Burnout series, which incredibly even some people at bit-tech HQ aren’t, then it should be fairly obvious what type of game Burnout Paradise is. It’s not a racing game. It’s not an in-depth, gear-tweaking simulator or innovative race-platformer like Trackmania.
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Burnout Paradise is a de-construction derby, where the aim is never to win as much as it is do something crazy on the way. It’s the seventh game in the fantastically addictive series and we love it. Let us tell you why.
Burnout has, as a franchise, been fairly static over the years. The core game mechanics were nailed in the first game, perfected in the second and from then on it’s really only been a case of adding more polish and polygons.
Well, except for the DS game anyway, but best not to talk about that. It upsets us.
Over the last six games, the series has had few real changes; it’s always been a case of choosing a car, choosing an event, crashing your car as much as possible and collecting a new car. Rinse and repeat. Little additions like the slow-motion mid-air control Aftertouch system have added appeal over the years but, generally speaking, not much has moved on from the original design.
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Burnout Paradise marks a complete and fairly radical reinvention of the series, bringing together all the best stuff from the past games, adding some new stuff in and then wrapping it all up in a totally free-roaming urban environment.
Yes, free-roaming. There’s no menus – none of this ‘Are you sure you want to race?’ rubbish and no continent hopping. You are confined to staying in or around Paradise City, but you’re also freed up to do whatever you want at the same time.
Plus, if that isn’t enough, then at least Paradise City has green grass and pretty girls going for it...