copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Burnout Paradise

(The Ultimate Box)

Rati ng:

Impact: Faint

I must say I don't really understand what all the fuss is about. This game did not start out strong for me.

When I first started the game it asked me to make an online account. So...we killed off all the introverts on this planet and people without an internet connection, right? OK, good to know. A game that wants you to connect to its servers straight away gets a minus point according to article 53 of the Gaming Code. Don't blame me for the rule, blame the lawmakers.

Then I went to the menu to discover that to navigate it you have to use F1 and F2 keys. So it's a console clone then. Fine...

As I went into the game I realised from the start that the gameplay bases itself in a very large degree on unlockables. You get one car and you have to unlock the others one by one as you complete various racing challenges. Some people get high on this kind of World-of-Warcraft grinding. I personally however have been clean for several years now and cheap tricks like that no longer work on me. Rather, when used to such a degree, I generally consider such a feature to be a game's way of compensating for a lack of content, although to be fair, in Burnout's case that does not apply.

But fine, I thought, let's go driving. Before I even tried to change the driving point of view, I knew that the game will not have a cabin view. And indeed, only 2 views available - from the back and from the bumper.

I thought, ok, I'll just enjoy the looks of the car from the back, and then, as I tried to modify my Logitech steering wheel controls, I realised that there is no manual shift or clutch support of any sort. No manual? Really? I mean, I know that United States of Greatmerica is the only country in the world, but but are there no manual gearbox cars at all in the US?

So right from the start, this game is missing half the content that a racing game is supposed to have! Of course the graphics are great. They had plenty of time to polish them in the time during which other less successful games, like Test Drive Unlimited, tried paying attention to the detail, like each car's interior.

But having said that all, Burnout is fun. That I cannot deny. I started playing in the morning. All I did is drive around fast, without partaking in any races, and once I took my foot off the throttle I realized half the day had passed. It is not the kind of fun you get out of conquering a complicated corner on a slippery surface in a racing car with damaged suspension. It is the kind of fun you get out of spinning yourself in place really fast and then falling back onto a soft couch all dizzy.

The game is beautiful; the soundtrack does not fit a racing game very well but at least it has an interesting variety; the car handling is easy at high speeds; there is a lot for a player to do with many types of racing and stunt events available; and finally, the horribly beautful (or beautifully horrible, if you prefer) crashes and the quick recovery from those crashes make crashing far less annoying than in other games.

If you are 15 years old or under, or feel like being 15 years old, this is probably the best racing game for you.