Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Review: Burnout Paradise (Part 2)

I've gone through as much of the single player campaign as I can stomach since my first session, and I've only cleared 55% of the items Criterion piled in. That doesn't indicate a boring experience in any way; far from it, as I've had a very good time the whole way through.

After writing the first part of my review, I realized I had left a few things out regarding what the game offers. Burning Routes, a rather challenging and important part of the single-player experience, requires players to race a specific car in a solo event against the clock; winning the event unlocks an improved version of the car, usually with improved Boost capacity. These events in particular could use a quick-travel option, or even the option to "retry," as many take you from one end of Paradise to the other.

I also left the multi-player offering out as well, mostly because I stay out of multi-player matches until I've gone through the single-player campaign. If you own this game, and there aren't many good reasons for passing this game up if you enjoy arcade racers, it's likely that you've seen how well Criterion handled Burnout Paradise's entry into multi-player modes. Two presses of the D-pad can show you what your PSN friends are doing in the game, allow you to search for active games looking for players, track your rivals (players with which you have unanswered Takedowns, an awesome feature), check leaderboards, and host your own game. There are no loading screens to see when entering multi-player, aside from a miniscule pause in the on-screen action, no menus to navigate, and (best of all) no lobby's to vandalize while you wait for a match to start. Joining another player's game leaves you in Paradise City right where you left in single-player, and lets you drive around beating the other players' drifts and Boost chains while you wait for the host to start a race or other event. It's novel, really, and I'm thoroughly impressed with it on every level.

After playing the crap out of this game over several days, I've liked the game more and more. The small amount of time I've spent in multi-player has forced me to improve my original verdict, so expect to see me there a bit more often over the coming months. My hat goes off to Criterion and EA for this awesome title.

Final Verdict:B+

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