Title: Burnout Paradise Remastered
Developer: Criterion, Stellar Entertainment
Release Date: June 19, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Racing games come in all shapes and sizes with a host of series to choose such as Gran Turismo, Forza, and DiRT, to name a few of the more popular titles. However, I’ve tried time and time again to get into these games, but I never considered myself a fan. Over time, I accepted that maybe racing games just aren’t for me. Even after expressing this, I’ve been consistently told to play Burnout Paradise.
Now that Burnout Paradise Remastered is on Nintendo Switch, I figured there’s no better time to give it a try. While my expectations were low, I was completely hooked within the first hour. Better yet, Burnout Paradise Remastered feels as if it was made for the Switch. Even with a slight graphical downgrade compared to the other remastered versions, its steady technical fidelity and genuinely fun gameplay loop make it a must-play, even 12 years after its initial release.
Burnout Paradise Remastered takes place in Paradise City, a city where racing rules the land. There is no real plot to be spoken of, only racing. While this might turn some people off, I think this is perfect for what Burnout Paradise Remastered is. Instead of feeding you a terrible story as an excuse for all of the different races and missions in the game, it merely opens the world up and says, “here are your missions, have fun.”
When players rev up Burnout Paradise Remastered for the first time, they are given a low-level driver’s license. This license doesn’t really mean anything, but upgrading it will provide you with access to new missions and new vehicles to mess around with. Upgrading your license is really the only goal in the game, and doing so is definitely worth your time.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is filled to the brim with cool cars and motorcycles, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Unlocking a new vehicle could be the gateway to your new favorite ride, which makes progression a must within the game’s narrative. More interestingly, each car plays and handles differently to fit a variety of player’s playstyles.
Time in Paradise City will be spent completing several different themed races. Each race can be completed by almost every vehicle in the game, though some may do better than others. For instance, cars with a high-speed level will probably do best at traditional races. Whereas, vehicles with a high stunt level or high strength will do best competing in their respective themed races. The versatility you’ll need to complete these races ensures that you have to spend time with more than just your favorite vehicles to win some races.
Since I’m not the biggest fan of simulation racers, Burnout Paradise Remastered provided everything that I could have hoped for in a racer. The entire experience feels over-the-top in the best way possible, with every vehicle looking as if it was pulled from a Fast and Furious film, and yet the racing experience was more or less grounded. The controls are simple enough for a racing newbie to understand but have the depth for racing veterans to enjoy, meaning anyone that knows their way around a controller can have fun.
Crashing in Burnout Paradise Remastered almost feels like more of a reward than a consequence. Each time you crash your vehicle, the game cuts to a cinematic slow-mo of your ride getting completely destroyed. Most of these crashes are incredibly entertaining to watch. I mean, who doesn’t like a little destruction every now and then? This system makes it possible to enjoy the game even if all you can do is crash and burn, something that almost no other game I’ve ever played has done.
Burnout Paradise Remastered’s soundtrack is like a 2008 fever dream, and I love it. Though not every track is a banger, most will have you bobbing your head as you race, whether the track is licensed or original.
Burnout Paradise Remastered isn’t perfect, however. When booting up the game, it feels as if it takes an eternity to actually get into the open world. This is in part due to EA continually trying to shove its online services down your throat, which I can’t stand. Though Paradise City itself isn’t massive, it can be easy to get lost. The lack of a fast travel system and waypoints makes it challenging to understand precisely where you want to go. These complaints are relatively small, however, and didn’t impact the majority of my time with the game.
Burnout Paradise Remastered feels as if it was built for the Nintendo Switch. The game runs incredibly well in handheld and docked mode, with no noticeable slowdown or drop in framerate. It is rare for any race in Paradise City to last longer than ten minutes, meaning this is the perfect game to pick up and play whenever you have a few minutes to spare. The races addicting quality also makes them great for longer play sessions, however, so you’ll be having a great time whether playing in docked or handheld mode.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is fueled by its over-the-top arcade systems that consistently reward the player no matter how they tackle the races. This ease of access makes it a must-play, even to those who aren’t too familiar with the genre. Luckily for long time fans, the game has aged well over the years and still retains it’s core features on the Switch.
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