Burnout Paradise Updated Hands On

Where cars crash, smash, and explode: It's our idea of Paradise in this latest look at Criterion's ultra-fast racer.

The world of Burnout is about to open up. With Criterion Games' upcoming Burnout Paradise, the high-speed, crash-'em-up style of Burnout play you've come to expect from the series is expanding to include go-anywhere, open-world gameplay, as well as online play that will keep you and your friends zipping through the highways and byways of Paradise City long after the game is released in January. Hot on the heels of last week's look at the Paradise demo, we've been spending some time with the full game for a sneak peek at what to expect once it crashes into store shelves.

The world of Paradise City is open to you… and a few of your closest friends.

Though it's tough to boil down a game as huge as Burnout Paradise, the way we see it there are three overall ways to enjoy your time in Paradise City. Step one is simply getting used to the huge expanses that make up the open-world environment; the entirety of which is open to you from the get-go in Paradise. The city is massive, and you'll likely spend your first hour in the game just trying to get your bearings or marveling at the sites. With enough time, you'll get to know the city pretty well, learn the shortcuts you need to get you from one spot to the next, and even uncover some secret spots that don't show up on the game's minimap.

Once you've got some miles under your tires, you can move on to the second step of enjoying Paradise: the challenges. Every intersection in the game has a challenge associated with it, and you can choose to enter a challenge simply by stopping at an intersection and burning the tires (by pressing the LT and RT triggers simultaneously). Different challenge types are indicated by colored dots on the minimap, so you always know what kind of challenge you're near. The challenges themselves are pretty standard Burnout fare. You have your race challenges that take you from one end of Paradise City to the next, and your stunt events where you execute as many huge jumps, drift turns, and barrel rolls as you can to string together to score huge point combos.

There are also marked-man events, where you must get from one point to another without being taken down by psychotic drivers looking to do your car much harm, as well as road-rage challenges, where you flip the script and try to take down as many cars as you can in a given amount of time. Finally there are make-specific challenges, which you can enter only in the prescribed car. To switch cars, you head to the closest junkyard (the Paradise equivalent to the garage) and change your current ride for any car you've collected on the way. You collect cars either by upgrading your license, or taking them down during the occasional street encounters with these special collectible rides.

Different cars in Burnout Paradise have different attributes. There are your souped-up, tricked-out speedsters, which are obvious choices for the race events, as well as bulkier rides whose strength will keep your challenge hopes alive even when the pressure gets intense. Choosing the right car for the right event becomes more important as the game progresses. For example, you don't want to enter a marked-man event with a slim, speedy sports car like the Rossolini LM Classis, as it will most likely get eaten alive.

As you travel through Paradise City, you'll encounter stations along the way that can provide some timely help in a crunch. Perhaps the most valuable are the repair shops; drive through one and your car will be instantly repaired and ready to continue on its way. Gas stations come in handy, too; zip through one and your boost meter will fill up to its maximum as you exit. Finally, there are the paint shops; yeah, they don't really help you for challenges, but they're an easy way to quickly (and randomly) change the color of your ride. All of these stations appear on your minimap after you've discovered them for the first time. It's good to know where all of them are, so exploration in the early goings is a must.

Winning challenges in Burnout Paradise is how you upgrade your Paradise City driver's license and thus get access to better vehicles. However, it isn't just about the intersection challenges; every road in Paradise City is a challenge unto itself in this game. By pressing up on the directional pad, you can enter one of four road-rules challenges: two race (offline and online) and two crash events (offline and online). Road-rules races challenge your timed run from the very beginning of the street to the very end, whereas crash events will test your high score in "showtime" mode, which is essentially one extended car accident.

By pressing the left and right buttons simultaneously, you can enter showtime mode at any point, even during a challenge. Your goal is to destroy as many cars as you can before your boost meter runs out. You can press A to leap your heap of wreckage into the air, and hitting big-score objects such as buses will give you a multiplier to your score (and more boost to continue the mayhem). At the end of race or showtime events, you can save your results for offline events, or upload them in online events, to compare your handywork against others. Each street in the game has its own lap time record and showtime score to beat, which essentially turns every inch of asphalt in Paradise into its own mini-game.

The seamless uploading of times and scores for races and showtime events is really just a prelude to the third and potentially most rewarding method for playing Burnout Paradise: online multiplayer. Here, up to eight players can compete and cooperate in a variety of challenges. All online access is controlled with the directional pad. You can first invite friends to your multiplayer session by choosing them from a list. Once your pals are in the same session as you, you've got a lot of options. First of all, you can create races from scratch, choosing the start and end points, as well as setting any checkpoints you wish players to drive through along the way. You can also create multiple-race events, with each succeeding event taking a completely different route than the one prior.

Where things really get interesting online are the online challenges, which feature both competitive and cooperative play that opens up the world of Paradise in exciting new directions. There are seven sets of 50 challenges to take part in online, and the set of challenges available depend on the number of people online with you, resulting in a total of 350 online challenges available in the game. For example, though there is some overlap, the list of challenges available to four people online is slightly different than the list available to five or six, and so on. These challenges run from the relatively mundane, such as crashing into one another or meeting at a particular spot on the map, to the considerably more interesting, such as power-parking challenges (which judge you at your skill in parallel parking your car at top speed).

Though a junkyard acts as your garage in Burnout Paradise, these rides are anything but scrap.

The cooperative challenges are some of the best. One two-player challenge requires you both to barrel roll off ramps at the same time, which takes some delicate timing and communication between the two players. One eight-player challenge requires seven drivers on the steps at Ocean View, while the eighth player jumps over them. If you have an Xbox Live vision camera or PlayStation Eye handy, you can take photos of yourself for use on your license, or for bragging rights when you take down one of your buddies. All of your collected pics will be stored in a menu known as "the lineup" that you can refer back to later, if only to see the smiling (or otherwise) faces of your defeated foes.

We've spent a good deal of time with Burnout Paradise so far, and it's hard not to be impressed with the amount of content that is being stuffed into this game. All that's left to do is continue to refine the elements of the game that are currently in place; most notably the artificial intelligence, which seems as if it could use a good dose of aggression to give the road-rage and marked-man events a bit more oomph to them. Nevertheless, it seems that, long after you've tired of the single-player challenges in Paradise City, you'll want to experience the multiplayer challenge events to see what kind of trouble you and your friends can stir up.

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Discussion

182 comments
epostma
epostma

this game is going to be one of the best racing games ever the feel and style of this game is awsome you need to download the demo

Sora13439
Sora13439

im not buying it unless it has split screen

Nozberlin76
Nozberlin76

OMG!! I have never really dived into the Burnout games, but after playing the demo this is a must-have. Turning a muscle car into instant shrapnel at breakneck speeds cannot be dull EVER. Jan. 22nd, right?

dallasanderson1
dallasanderson1

i am with you rijahs, sick of games gettin hype then being crap

alfred66
alfred66

this game looks so much better than previous burnout games.

rijahs
rijahs

I hope that this game is going to live up to the hype that it has created as per the previews and news roaming around in the gaming world...

donwhan1970
donwhan1970

i got the demo for ps3 and 360 and can safetly say the ps3 demo looks better.nuff said..................

deviousdeviousd
deviousdeviousd

At least its sumthing different. Online multiplayer sounds quite fun too

MGNS_GRMR
MGNS_GRMR

yea, tryed the demo, it seems like a good game, looks ausum when it crashes and the engine sounds amazing, think im gonna buy it...

flegi
flegi

probably best racing game of 2008 :)

21121
21121

DL'ed the demo. Nice crashes, nice graphics. Definitly buying this one, not had any of the other burnouts ^^

TheMach_5
TheMach_5

i think EA actually did a good job on this one, the freeroam changes the gaming experience completly, in a good way. It's full of jumps and allies to cruise and crash through. The crashes and damage modeling are amazing. My favorite feature is the barrel roll jump, they are sweet when you land it and even sweeter when you don't. Burnout was good before, but now it's great. I am definetly getting this game when it comes out.

syagre
syagre

Played the downloaded demo. The game has good graphics, and feels quite like motorstorm applied to a town environment, with more free-style stunt contests (in this game, stunts = crashes). It will please the ones who love wrecking in cities, but definitely it isn't my style. I'll just wait for the next GT.

BRETTJB99
BRETTJB99

The only problem I have with the game is the map, while playing the demo it was very, very hard to navigate throughout the city. Anyways it looks great and the crashes are fun!!!

renknram
renknram

I was very wary about this new Burnout series, as I've never really bothered with the past series of this title, being a Toca fan nothing could really impress me. However I downloaded the Demo, & man was I impressed the details of the Car was amazing, Gameplaty absolutely stunning, what an improvement from the past titles. I also can feel the itch to buy me a PS3, for the GTS, MGS. I have never undermined the PS3, just sat back patiently & observed, & researched. I totally agree with DRAGONMAN, somehow the xbox game life span can be very short averaging 10+hours to complete a game, then again online compensates for this, depending on the individuals gaming genre. Each machine as its Advantages & Disadvantages. & to tell you the truth it really is the importance of the gamer how he implements the tools. However I can see myself buying me a top-spec PS3 mid08, which will be rigged up to HTTPC, as my Elite is already. ps my children already have a Wii, & I enjoy playing that its Fun......you see folks I'm not a judgemental Character

fartys
fartys

played the demo 4 about 2 hours. Infact i think i'll play it now!

randyynot
randyynot

Played the demo and it was better burnout I've played. don't criticize innovation

Homerj
Homerj

"they have already said that using PS3 as the lead platform leads to better games on the 360. " So what you're saying is that anything that runs acceptably on the PS3 will run better on the 360? If that is what you are inferring...you hit the nail on the head.

manw3ll
manw3ll

this game is going to be amazing! people are slating it based on what time they have spent on the demo just to go "meh" no you cant do a great deal on the demo,you can only freeburn and do 1 of 3 challenges and no you cant race....but hang on a min...we all have headsets these days set up a freestyle race along the massive big surf water front or set a point and tell the people your playing with where the finish line is, freestyle racing is class,and until actual real races become available when i buy the finished game in jan im going freestyle baby.....jeez use your initiative you n00bs

fanirama
fanirama

This gamespot review reeks of ad-bias like Kane and Lynch. The tone is like that. And I find that games which get glowing reviews like this in Previews get crappy reviews ( 6.5-7.5 ) in its main review. Are they sleeping ? ( with the publisher prior to release ? ) Played the demo. Its just Need For Speed: Most Wanted with ability to crash vehicles. I wasn't that impressed. Perhaps this game/genre has gone as far as it can go. Road-rage was phenomenal when it came out. There's not much more to innovate here. I think I'll just pass on this ( like Burnout Revenge ) or just rent it. Its just NFS:MW with Burnout coated on it.

dawfgaweg
dawfgaweg

All I care about in this game is the offline multiplayer...I kinda think of all these singleplayer challenges as complete waste of time. I just hope that offline mp will be as fun as in the last few burnout games. And freeroam? wtf man it sucks! Burnout should be the short and intense racing experience.

MGDobber
MGDobber

Played the demo and thought 'meh'. Another once great game ruined by EA. Talk about stuck in reverse gear... because this franchise is going backwards, not forwards. I hate the free-roam element to the game, it's just not Burnout and doesn't sit right within a racing game. The garages aren't really necessary and removes any formidable challenge to finish an event. They would have been better off re-doing Takedown for either platform but with new tracks. Looks pretty but take away free-roam and it lacks any real progression since Revenge. Removal of the Crash junctions is a complete duff move too, causing complete carnage was the one of the best elements the game had to offer. I'll be giving this one a miss...

indigovenom
indigovenom

You do realize that PS3 was the lead platform on this game so if the frame rate sucks it will be on both machines. but they have already said that using PS3 as the lead platform leads to better games on the 360.

parr03
parr03

this game looks fun! totally gonna get it for ps3! paying for the game is enough, why pay to play online? ps3 will run the world one day. I hope there is a lot to do in the full game. The demo is kinda small, but still a blast! I'm looking forward to the events! please EA, do not mess this one up. lol. Happy holidays everyone! psn: par03 live: parr1803 - sucks paying to play! Halo is a blast!

margarypr
margarypr

wow... finally... with rockband and this games EA are making good games that the people wants... it will be my first game when the new year comes...

ghost-dude
ghost-dude

ive played the demo and i feel its one of the best in the series plus im a big fan of the series so i kinda have all of them :) haha cant wait

GaMeWiZaRd93
GaMeWiZaRd93

i played the demo n had lots of fun online and offline. Cant wait to the game comes out

sassyninja92
sassyninja92

To DragonMan, I am not 15 year old fan boy and i dont sit on my computer for 5 hours straight looking up if this game was originally made for the ps3 or 360. and I love my 360 more than any other system but i do know that the ps3 has alot better things in it than the 360. I recognize that the ps3 is by itself "a better console" but let me give you a number crunch... xbox 360 has sold a little under 14 million units ps3 has sold roughly 6 million if you can do math you know that that is more than 2 TIMES MORE THAN PS3!!! Who the hell needs a bluray player anyway. im not buying a gaming system to use it to watch freakin movies. yea if the ps3 could hold 2 games on one disk that would be cool but have you ever heard of a game called The Oranger Box. 5 games on one disk and guess what it is on the ps3, and the 360 and the PC. so dont argue about us not having disk space. and i hear your game of the year for ps3 is what... Ratchet and Clank. dont get me wrong it is a very fun game. but there was actually competition on the 360. We had BioShock, Mass Effect, and of sourse Halo 3. and all the other games that ps3 owners were lucky enough to get there hands on like Call of duty 4 and Rock Band. so next time you say the ps3 is better, think about what your really saying Also i can not wait for this game. i have played the demo. and it looks like it is going to be amazingly fun. going to have to by this with left over Christmas money

Teebown24
Teebown24

this game looks great. i play the demo and i love it.

slimdog363
slimdog363

lets just pray that it has a decent frame rate. Dont get me wrong I love my ps3 but there are so many games that have come out lately that I haven't bought because of their crappy frame rate.

vicalva
vicalva

I'm not a big fan of the Burnout series. I got myself Burnount 3 Takedown which I sort of enjoyed for a little while, although I quickly found it boring. The only great thing about Burnout was the speed! There was simply no other game like it. Crashes were ok. The big let down I've always found with it was the lack of a proper car licensing. It's not great to drive non existent made up cars. This time round, Burnout has the feel of NeedForSpeed Most Wanted, which I ended up disliking. The idea of having all that freedom to roam about in a driving game and do anything you want is a bit pointless. I can't really see the challenge in their so called challenges. Too much different stuff to do around you is just not fun. This is the sort of game you can play for a short time, but it's no way as rewarding as a proper racer like Forza or Gran Turismo, in which the gameplay is simple and yet very satisfying. Even the arcade racer Project Gotham is more fun than this Burnout seems to be, judging by the demo. And when it comes to pure arcade feel, how about a good “old” Outrun Coast to Coast, with real Ferrari’s?

MortorVos
MortorVos

DRAGONMAN ...heres my quick guide to changing a disk in a console (because I think your argument over being able to put 2 games on 1 disk is a bit lame) 1) open disk tray 2) put in game disk 3) close disk tray 4) viola!!!! game starts Iam a 360 fanboy straight up..but I admit the PS3 is a powerful peace of kit and there will be some incredible things done with it in the near future however Iam enjoying my 360 A LOT!!!! the new update with films and stuff is cool and Iam loving the games....so surely whether or not you can fit 2 games on one disk doesn't matter when youve got games as big and as enjoyable as MASS EFFECT etc. I also dont care if this was made for PS3 first because its amazing on any console. LOWER GRADE DVD DRIVE IT MIGHT BE, BUT IT DOES THE BLOODY JOB WHICH MEANS YOU DONT NEED A MORGAGE TO GET A 360 UNLIKE SOME CONSOLE I CAN MENTION!!!!! rant over..

taouk91
taouk91

DRAGONMAN - thats what im talkin about. AMEN

keyhole_romance
keyhole_romance

I agree with mickthegreat tbh. I think EA have completely ruined Burnout slowly since they took over the franchise. Burnout 3 was the last decent one. Don't get me wrong here, the graphics are incredible and it has some nice features such as the camera support, but they might as well just have called it Need for Speed: Burnout.

is0lati0n
is0lati0n

Amen to that brother. Nicely said.

dragonman46534
dragonman46534

okay, none of you peole know what your talking about,, ps3 and xbox fan boys,,, first off,, people say that most ps3 games are ports of xbox games,,,, well guess what? Burnout was made specially for the ps3,,and was ported to the xbox 360 thats why its so much prettier,, dont believe me,,do some reasearch,, also,, the blueray disc havent really been that important in making games until now. The cool thing about them is that they store double the memory space than regular dvd ,, thats why metal gear online is gonna be on metal gear sons of the patriots,its 2 ps3 games on one blueray disc, and its a game as big as metal gear?, id love to see xbox try to achieve something like that with their standard,,, and when i say standard,, i mean,,, lower grade dvd drive,,,, i like the 360 though,, and i cant wait for fable,, but i really wish these 360 fan boys would shut up already, they sound so stupid sticking up for the 360, they are all in denial,,, all systems are great,, but to deny the fact that the ps3 is the most powerful and compelling game system in the market is just pure ignorance,, and the people who knock the ps3 are probably lil 12 year olds that dont know how to use to internet properly to do research,, one more thing,,, this game is great! and i dont know why people are complaining,, finally something other than a first person shooter or rip off god of war wanna be game. the demo is better than most other games ive ever played in my life,, i cant wait till the actual release,, i never though i would like burnout so much,,,

Yuskue76
Yuskue76

Burnout Paradise, This game is like the best game ever!! I think everyone that's a really good automobile people should give this game a try, it's pretty good looking and a really great game for everyone to play at anywhere.

alejoshadow
alejoshadow

looks freakin' amazing!! The world looks nearly endless. I guess repairing the cars can be a hassle, but the good outweighs the bad in this game.

darkj21
darkj21

Uhh dude you guys should play the demo it has like 1/20 of the world and its massive with shortcuts trust me its great, i especially like with the ps eye it took my pic for a a dmv license and online it takes your pic if you wipe out. This call of duty 4 and warhawk are awesome online cant wait to play ut 3 when i pick up later today oh yeah you guys with 360 or ps3 pick up with the camera its pretty sweet to see in action and the wrecks are great in the new showtime mode, huge city. Oh yeah for that guy who said he doesnt have the hightech gadgets even on an sdtv my bro has bioshock and lair look great get over it this games are great but ill admit online is where its at now. And if MGS 4 and GTA 4 arent compelling reasons you must not like great games

TheRealMafoo
TheRealMafoo

rarson wrote: "I don't own a 360 or a PS3, there just isn't enough compelling software yet to justify the price" There are over 300 titles on the 360, and over 160 for the PS3... among them some great games. How many hours of game play do you need before spending roughly $400?

mickthegreat
mickthegreat

Well done EA, you've ruined the franchise. (Not surprised at all tbh) If I wanted this free-roaming racing game, I would have gone for Need for Speed! I can't stand the idea of freedom in Burnout, what's the point!? It's a game about super-fast speed races and massive unrealistic and enjoyable crashes. I mean, why the hell do we have to REPAIR cars in Burnout? I'm not gonna waste my time in these games driving to a race and wasting my time repairing. I hate the realism, it ruins the idea.

Nexeus
Nexeus

PARADISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!

rarson
rarson

"Why do people use every friggen forum to fuel the fires of the "console wars" just one fanboy arguing their nonsense points to other fanboys." I'm not picking sides, I'm just refuting the illogical fanboy arguments like "PS3 is better because it has Blu-Ray" or "Blu-Ray doesn't matter because cartridges didn't matter." I don't own a 360 or a PS3, there just isn't enough compelling software yet to justify the price (it helps that I don't have the high-tech gadgets required to fully take advantage of those boxes). Eventually I'll take the plunge, but as it is, I'm still having fun with my Dreamcast and PS2.

rarson
rarson

"i mean, look at when games first started coming on discs instead of cartridges. the N64 owned the playstation one, hands down, despite not using the discs." What exactly are your standards for "owning"? Certainly not console sales, or audio quality. I'm just trying to figure out how the N64 owned the PSX, because as far as I could tell, the PSX pretty much mopped the floor with the competition, putting Sony in the number one spot that it's in today.