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Burnout Paradise Remastered

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: June 19, 2020


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Switch Review - 'Burnout Paradise Remastered'

by Cody Medellin on July 2, 2020 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Burnout Paradise Remastered gives players license to wreak havoc in Paradise City, the ultimate seamless racing battleground, with a massive infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads to abuse.

Buy Burnout Paradise Remastered

The last time that Nintendo fans experienced Burnout on their console of choice, it was 17 years ago with Burnout 2: Point of Impact and published by Acclaim Entertainment. EA brought Burnout Legends to the Nintendo DS two years later, but the less said about that, the better. Since then, the series has made a name for itself on both PlayStation and Xbox platforms, and the series peaked in 2008 with Burnout Paradise. The series has been dormant ever since, and while Nintendo fans got a taste of that title in the most recent version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, it wasn't the same. Two years after Burnout Paradise was remastered on the PC, PS4 and Xbox One, Nintendo fans finally get a taste of a real Burnout title on the Switch.

In Burnout Paradise Remastered, you arrive at Paradise City with nothing but a learner's permit and a capable clunker of a car. Your goal is to get the highest-class license possible by winning events, and to do that, you'll need to track down the cars necessary to participate in and win those events.

The game plays out as an open-world racer, so not only are you driving to each destination to start your chosen event, but you're also dealing with other non-racers as obstacles. Since this is a Burnout title, other cars are tools and weapons that you have to learn to manipulate. Bumping into cars and driving them toward walls and dividers can temporarily eliminate your competition and provide a turbo boost that you can activate at any time. Rear-ending other cars can also turn them into temporary missiles, but you should be aware that other drivers can do the same to you. If you're not a fan of aggressive driving, you can quickly gain some boost by disobeying traffic laws and driving on the wrong side of the road, but that's a high-risk/high-reward action due to oncoming traffic.

The events take on five different forms, and except for the events that require specific cars, every event can be tackled at any time. There are standard races, and Stunt races ask you to reach the finish line and amass a high score by taking on jumps or performing stunts while you're racing. Take on a Burning Route race, and you'll be matched up with a car of the same make and model as yours in a one-on-one bout. Road Rage has you wrecking as many cars as possible before time expires, and Marked Man has you trying to reach the finish line in one piece.

All of these events take advantage of the Burnout mechanics and open-world setting by ensuring more of a freeform style to the races. There are no barriers to stop you from going off the course, and there are no guide arrows to point out a suggested route to the finish line. Instead, the game gives you the freedom to create the route, so you can go down completely different streets if you want fewer distractions during the race. Going off-course can result in mistakes, but you're also free to correct the mistakes on the fly. The only sure thing is that your races will end in one of eight different locations, which is both a blessing and a curse since you might use one optimal route for each race when you discover it.

The world is a decent size, and events are littered on just about every street, so you're never far from starting a meaningful race in your march for the city's top license. Burnout Paradise Remastered still gives you plenty to do when you aren't completing events and chasing down leaderboards. There are roughly 50 different jumps to do, and they're indicated by blue flashing gates. You can crash through hundreds of billboards. Unlike the Xbox 360 and PS3 iterations, these are all uniform, so while you may not see them advertise that Apex Legends will be coming soon, their bright red color makes them stand out much better than before. Then there are the hundreds of shortcuts, which are signified by bright yellow gates, as well as the ability to take down other model cars to add them to your collection. The constant drip feed of activities makes this a great implementation of an open-world racing game and a blueprint that other open-world racers have followed for at least two console generations.

Except for the Time Savers Pack, which unlocked every vehicle for you at once, you have all of the DLC, and just like the base game, everything is available from the get-go. For the single-player stuff, that means Big Surf Island is available from the main menu or via a bridge, and while the island is small when compared to Paradise City, it's pleasing to have more locales to tear through. All of the extra cars are also available, so you can either go with the toy cars, ride vehicles inspired by movies and TV shows, or use motorcycles. For multiplayer, this means that local pass-the-controller play is a good time for those who want to get in some quick challenges with friends. Of course, the more appealing part of multiplayer is online play, which either gives you races or a playground setting to goof around in. The good news is that thanks to the hype surrounding the game and an eager Switch community, online matches are easy to find, so the mode doesn't feel like it's going to waste.

The only real knock against Burnout Paradise Remastered is the same one that follows any remastering or port of last-generation titles to the system: the price tag. At $40, it was considered quite pricey when the title released to the PC, PS4 and Xbox One roughly two years ago, and to see that increased to $50 now can take people aback. Even though the racing scene for anything above go-karts isn't as huge as on the other platforms, the presence of titles like Grid Autosport means that the audience isn't starved, so this would be a tough sell for those who aren't familiar with the franchise.

The question that's asked for Switch ports always centers on presentation, and the good news is that what we have here is absolutely solid. We don't expect 4K like the other consoles, of course, but we get 1080p docked and 720p portable. The better news is that the game is pretty much locked to 60fps at almost all times, making it on par with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, albeit with cleaner textures in place. The crunch of crashing cars is just as intense as ever, and the amount of shrapnel and sparks flying on impact is a sight to behold.

Since this is a portable game, it's astounding that we're getting a no-compromises version. The only issue comes from the world at night, where the darker color scheme means that you'll need to concentrate on where you're going when the sun drops. Audio-wise, the roars of the engine and the metal crunch when crashing is crystal clear, and the original soundtrack was left untouched. That's an amazing feat when you consider how licensed songs may mean that remasters will always be missing something. The overall volume of the game is lower than expected, so be prepared to turn up the volume unless you want to play in silence.

Despite its age, Burnout Paradise Remastered remains an absolute classic in the racing game genre. The size and breadth of Paradise City and Big Surf Island, combined with the plethora of events and secrets scattered throughout, give the game a long enough tail that it would be easy to sink high double-digit hours into the title. The multiplayer, both local and online, is just as jumping as ever, and the fact that the game matches up nicely with the original PS3 and Xbox 360 iterations of the title is further proof that the console can be a viable second home for these classics. Unless you've experienced the title and have no need for a portable iteration, Burnout Paradise Remastered is a real treat for Nintendo-based racing fans.

Score: 8.5/10

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