Burnout Paradise Remastered review: Live and let die

Electronic Arts, Criterion Games, Stellar Entertainment
Electronic Arts, Criterion Games, Stellar Entertainment /

After ten years, Burnout Paradise is back in the form of EA’s first-ever remaster. The question is, does it still quench that same appetite for destruction?

Title: Burnout Paradise Remastered
Developer: Stellar Entertainment, Criterion Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One
Release Date: March 16th, 2018

Most of the time, it’s nice to connect with old friends. Seeing someone you haven’t talked to in a long time can bring a fresh feeling of nostalgia that can’t be replicated. The same can be with games, though we’ve seen more older games coming back as part of the remaster, remake and reimaging trend in the industry.

Enter Burnout Paradise Remastered, the first console release for the arcade racer in nearly a decade. It also is, shockingly, EA’s first re-release on this level in a move that former chief competition officer Peter Moore once said was “just not what we do.” So how does their first crack at a remaster hold up? Pretty well, actually.

The original Paradise was a massive shift in the Burnout formula. Going from linear, arcade-style levels to a huge open world created a big divide amongst fans. Some felt it wasn’t in the spirit of the series while others welcomed the change as saw it as the next logical step. Either way, the approach was pretty bold for 2008; and its influence carries on even today through games like the Forza Horizon series.

Burnout Paradise Remastered
Electronic Arts, Criterion Games, Stellar Entertainment /

The world of Paradise City is still worth exploring here in the remaster, especially if it’s your first time. Wide-open interstates, coastal cityscapes and winding mountain roads make for a solid variety of spaces to raise hell in. It does have its drawbacks though, missing more modern conveniences such as fast travel (which becomes a pain when races go from one end of the map to the other) or having to find Junk Yards in order to change out cars. Though it’s not the game’s biggest detriment by any means, it still would have been nice to see at least a small amount of quality of life upgrades.

Where some upgrades did occur, though, is in the visual department. It should be noted this isn’t a full-on remake, but the small facelifts definitely help make the transition to current system pretty smooth. Stellar Entertainment cleaned up some textures and lighting for the newer systems, but it isn’t a complete facelift like some other titles. In fact, there are still some textures that don’t look that great when viewed close up or during slow-motion segments, but it still looks acceptable by today’s standards. For those wanting to get more into the nitty-gritty of the technical details, I’d recommend checking out Digital Foundry’s comparitive analysis of the game:

It’s not a drastic upgrade in quality for a game which is still readily available on Steam or on Xbox One through the Backwards Compatability program. That may be something prospective buyers want to keep in mind before paying $40 for this version. If you’re hoping for a complete visual overhaul in this remaster, then this may not be the package for you.

More from Reviews

The game also runs at 60 frames per second across all platforms, and even supports native 4K, 60fps on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. It’s pretty exhilarating when driving at top speed and seeing sparks fly from going bumper-to-bumper with opponents trying to total your ride. It’s almost hard to even keep up with at times, but that’s really just part of the experience. It’s also fun as hell to watch other drivers ram into other cars or into guardrails in slow motion.

Paradise also has plenty to do throughout the game world. The goal is to win events in order to score marks on a license. The higher the rank, the tougher things become; but the better the rewards get. Rewards include cars from either Speed, Stunt or Aggression classes; each with their own perks and ways of getting boosts to make top speeds even more insane.

Burnout Paradise Remastered
Electronic Arts, Criterion Games, Stellar Entertainment /

Challenges range from races around the city to seeing how many cars you can take down in a certain time limit and vice-versa in survival challenges as a marked man. These are generally pretty simple and open-ended, and encourages exploration and familiarity of the map and the dozens of shortcuts contained therein.

Driving at top speed and ramming into other cars to watch them completely crumple up is a sheer delight

Even though Paradise City isn’t a huge map by 2018 standards, it can still be pretty easy to get lost and just aimlessly drive for a while just because it’s so fun to explore. It’s easy to notice some details when exploring or racing too, like how turn signals come on in whatever direction the game’s GPS system is telling you to go. Granted this was in the original game, but it’s still nice to see it here. There also weren’t any changes to the HUD, which is still as simple and effective as it was originally.

Many things are unlocked from the start, since this version includes all of the original’s DLC from the “Year of Paradise.” Special police cars, motorcycles, buggies and even tiny little toy cars are all available and can be chosen nearly from the getgo. The Big Surf Island expansion is also here, adding another playground outside of the normal environment that features even more challenges similar to the ones in the main game. Some of these features were not made available in the PC version, and the Xbox 360 version may not have any of the extra content readily available as it is here.

Burnout Paradise Remastered
Electronic Arts, Criterion Games, Stellar Entertainment /

The package also includes a fun local party mode, some Cops and Robbers-style gameplay and will have online functionality for even more high-speed hijinks. There’s also the soundtrack, which features every single song from the original game and tracks can still be changed with the push of a button.

The complete original soundtrack being here means that you can crush your friend’s ride online as Avril Lavinge’s “Girlfriend” blares in the background. There’s also the obligatory Guns N’ Roses pseudo-title track along with some Soundgarden, Airbourne, Alice in Chains, L.C.D. Soundsystem along with old-school Burnout tracks and classical pieces for a nice variety that feels so 2008 that it hurts. It’s a great rush of nostalgia during gameplay or even just having songs play in menus.

More app trigger: 50 Best PS4 games right now

Even though some mechanics have aged a bit and the graphics didn’t get a complete facelift, that didn’t affect the performance upgrades and Burnout Paradise’s overall fun factor. Driving at top speed and ramming into other cars to watch them completely crumple up is a sheer delight, but it can get a bit repetitive and feel dated at times. That said, a recommendation comes with some caveats. If you already own the PC and Xbox 360/One versions, there’s really no sense in spending $40 on this unless you really want those visual upgrades or DLC that was missing.

8.0. <em>Burnout Paradise Remastered</em> is an enjoyable revisit to one of the best arcade-style racers of the era. For PS4 owners who may have missed out or want to go back to Paradise City, then this is the package for you. Let’s just hope this leads to what the people really want; a full-fledged return of the <em>Burnout </em>series.. Electronic Arts. . Burnout Paradise: Remastered

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.