Does this Xbox One Games With Gold game deserve your time?
All you Xbox Live Gold subscribers received an early Christmas present from Microsoft in the form of the Games with Gold Burnout Paradise Xbox 360 title. Now full disclosure, we at VERSUS PLAYER have a lot of history with this game (you only need to listen to our podcasts to hear us talk fondly about our time playing this game together online back in 2008).
Now the question I’m sure a lot of people are asking is if it’s worth your time playing this game, what 8 years later. Yes, yes, a million times yes! Even if you have the brilliant Forza Horizon 3 and are loving the newest snow themed DLC, Burnout Paradise is different enough to make it stand on its own, what with takedowns, dynamic races, incredible stunt jumps and the fantastic fun to be had cruising around with your mates online. And most importantly, BOOST!
Does it still hold up?
For me, two things make this game stand the test of time.
- Car handling: Drifting doesn’t get much more satisfying than in the Burnout series and here it is done masterfully. Add in boost mid cornering and just try not to smile. The controls are as tight as you could hope and the game is accessible for newcomers (particularly when driving an aggression car). You will be smashing into cars as you scream down the roads though. A lot.
- Variety: As mentioned above, there is so much more to do in this game than just complete races, stunts and takedown events. There are billboards to seek out, hundreds of jumps, off road shortcuts, the fun Marked Man mode, car parks to find, cars to collect, different types of boost to master and so much more. All of this seamlessly flows into each other. Starting an event is as easy as driving up to traffic lights and hitting the bumper buttons and away you go. Plus there is the ability to restart the previous event using the d-pad, a feature that thankfully got added in an update to the game and that makes it that much of a better experience.
There’s a whole lot of game here!
Like in the Forza series, this game has cars that handle differently to each other and as you progress through you’ll not be going back to your slower and not as strong cars. You’ll be swapping between the three types of cars, each with their own boost, depending on the type of event you are facing. Want to rack up big points for those stunt runs, then get yourself in a stunt car.
In the years following the initial release of Burnout Paradise, the game received a multitude of free updates and DLC packs. This included the inclusion of a day and night cycle, a whole new stunt heavy island to explore, heaps of different vehicles, cars based on popular pop culture franchises (88MPH anyone?) and different online modes (my favourite being Cops and Robbers). This has all come over with the backwards compatibility program and Games with Gold Burnout Paradise is all the better for it.
The rattle in the engine
Longtime Burnout fans will miss Crash mode here. There is Showtime mode, which can be activated at any time and is kind of like tenpin bowling with your car, but it doesn’t come anywhere near the brilliance of the Crash mode of other Burnout titles.
While I love Takedown and Marked Man modes, clipping an edge of a building or pushing a car into another car only to be taken down yourself can get a little frustrating. That said, when you get on a roll things become very satisfying as you take down car after car in a variety of ways, complete with a nice slow down to show you the damage you have inflicted.
Graphically, we are talking Xbox 360 graphics here, but when you are tearing down the roads you can hardly tell that graphically this game doesn’t hold a candle to more modern racers.
Forza Horizon 3 is in my top 3 games of 2016 and when racing across Australia in it there has always been a little part of me that has wished there was the ability to boost. The Games with Gold Burnout Paradise freebie scratches that itch in the best possible way*. Burnout Paradise will be fun for newcomers and is just as fun for those of us who spent many an hour tearing it up in Paradise City. While you might not want to get through it all, it’s definitely worthy of a spin.