The Value of 'Burnout Paradise Remastered' Is That It Feels Alive Again


#1

I’ve really only had one surprise playing Burnout Paradise Remastered: the cars that smash into you during the Marked Man events are somehow much more ruthless and infuriating than I remembered. I started physically cringing as I tried to nurse my already wounded car into a hidden route through Paradise City and saw one of the black Hunters barreling up the street like a guided missile, moving with that unnatural quickness they all have when once they get your scent.

I’d try and duck into an alley or up a pedestrian walkway and then I’d be skidding out of control for hundreds of yards, trying in vain to get the steering to respond before I was treated to another slow-motion cutscene of my car getting practically bisected on a concrete median. It sounded like it was raining metal and glass inside my apartment for a moment, then I respawned just in time to hear a couple bars of Avril Lavigne singing “Girlfriend” before taking another automotive pile-driver.

But after a few minutes of adjustment—or more accurately, readjustment—I found my bearings within Paradise’s well-remembered maze of street grids, winding highways, and the web of secret passages strung between. Then it all came back to me, and I found my way back to that intense, laser-focused tunnel vision that Burnout Paradise so often conjures as you hit the booster and your surroundings unravel into a blur.

It was a welcome return to one of my favorite arcade racing games, but it was one without much astonishment or revelatory wonder at the quality of the remastering. It looks good on a 4K TV, but it’s obvious that developer Stellar Entertainment adopted a very conservative approach to the original textures and models. In many ways it still looks like a ten year-old game, just at a level of detail and post-processing sophistication that wasn’t achieved ten years ago.

This can’t always be a successful approach, as Microsoft discovered with the Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. Sometimes the source material just isn’t going to resonate anymore as anything other than a curiosity, and some reinvention is required. That’s not the case with Burnout Paradise Remastered—but neither does this version feel like it contains any essential improvements. It’s a modestly improved, arguably more convenient version of what I already had installed on my old gaming PC.

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With one important difference: Burnout Paradise Remastered is alive in a way the original has not been for several years. When I went back and played the original Burnout Paradise a couple years ago, it felt like the city was encased in lucite. My friends were gone, but a few personal bests remained. The records for the fastest times down the streets of Paradise City never seemed to change, and nobody was challenging anyone to rule a road.

And maybe that’s enough to justify getting back to Paradise with Burnout Paradise Remastered. A lot of us miss the days—or maybe we arrived too late and missed them altogether—when this world of stunts and races was full of friends and strangers trying to out-do one another. For the first time in years, those days have come again. Maybe that’s still worth the cost of a ticket.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/mbxjp4/burnout-paradise-remastered-leaderboards

#2

I’m glad I got into Burnout Paradise when I did. It had some of my favorite online multiplayer experiences; heck, it was actually the first time I played a console game with people from around the world (and where I made my first PSN friend just about ten years ago).

I remember losing so many hours to Paradise online, just cruising the city with friends, performing all of those fun little challenges with random strangers, showing everyone who the king of Stunt Runs was (spoiler: it’s me )…good times.

Looking forward to hopping back in and hopefully making some new friends in Paradise City :slight_smile:. Hit me up if you’re on PS4 and want to play!


#3

I got into paradise really late, and there were still people on steam going hard. It was great. I can’t even imagine the game in its hey day.