Burnout Paradise Remastered has earned the franchise its first chart top spot in over a decade.
14th March 2018
14th March 2018
21st February 2018
The first video game my son ever played - I mean really played, rather than toyed with - was Burnout Paradise. We played together, but he took control; he decided what he wanted to do and he did it. The 2008 open-world driving title from Criterion, which is being released in a remastered edition on PS4, was a formative entry in the emerging universe of free-roaming multiplayer racers, leading us to the likes of Forza Horizon and The Crew. It gave you a city and a car, and it just said 'drive'. That's exactly what my son did.
It's presented in pristine, native 4K on Xbox One X, yet despite the vast resolution increase over its debut outing on last-gen consoles, Burnout Paradise looks and plays just as you remember it. In this respect it's a remaster done right. There are enhancements - many of them in fact, as you shall see - but it's all in service of adapting the original experience to sit nicely on a new, higher precision medium. And in a world of freebie X-enhanced 360 titles and the existing PC version available on Origin for just £5, that's a good thing. The key takeaway here is that Burnout Paradise Remastered is more than just a port.
To put that to test, we stacked up the new release against the best available legacy version - Criterion's original PC release. It was always light on system resources back in the day, and that translates well into the current era - Nvidia's bargain basement GTX 1050 can comfortably run this at maxed settings or close to it at 1440p - but it does have some issues. First and foremost amongst them is a broken ambient occlusion implementation that introduces some bad aliasing artefacts, particularly noticeable around powerlines. The remaster not only fixes this but substantially improves the entire SSAO effect.
In fact, image quality is refined accordingly all around - native resolution is confirmed at 3840x2160 on Xbox One X, with a full 1920x1080 on the base Xbox One, and while there isn't blanket coverage, the MSAA of the PC version is swapped out for AMD's hardware-level EQAA, set to 4x. Beyond that, while the geometry of the original game (and seemingly most of its LODs) are a match for the vanilla PC experience at its best, developer Stellar Entertainment has embarked on a range of subtle, but effective upgrades to the original game. Most noticeable is the artwork: core assets are now of a significantly higher resolution, with ground art and building textures the most obvious beneficiaries. A bulk of its art seem to be retouched here, right down to the traffic lights.
Maybe it's something about Renderware. It must be, right? 500 Agility Orbs in the Renderware-powered Crackdown, daring you to allow anything else in the game to rival those humming green treats for sheer narrative appeal. And in Burnout Paradise, another Renderware joint, 400 yellow crash gates. They're shortcuts ostensibly but, given the way they scatter on the wind in your wake, I suspect people would happily charge through them even if they lead to nowhere more exciting than a small out-of-hours pharmacy. 400 yellow gates, twinkling their lurid twinkle and lending a throbbing emergency-yellow shape to the wild city looping and tumbling around you. And 120 billboards to smash through. And 50 super jumps to super jump. And ten multi-storeys...
Burnout Paradise Remastered
Developer: Criterion/Stellar Entertainment
Burnout Paradise Remastered does not feature any in-game microtransactions, EA has reassured - despite the game's official store listing saying the opposite.
Fans noticed the phrase "in-game game purchases optional" in Paradise's new store listing last night and feared the worst.
While the Remastered edition features all major DLC, EA made a point of mentioning the game's Time Saver packs were not part of the offering. It is these which fans suspected would be sold as extras.
EA has announced that its much-rumoured remaster of developer Criterion's classic Burnout Paradise is real and coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 16th.
Burnout Paradise Remastered, as it's imaginatively titled, includes the original base game and the eight add-on packs released back in 2009. That's Cops and Robbers, Legendary Cars, Burnout Bikes, Burnout Paradise Toys, Burnout Paradise Party, Boost Specials, and Cagney, plus the Big Surf Island expansion, which brought the titular landmass to the core map.
EA says that Burnout Paradise Remastered will feature a variety of technical enhancements on console, including high resolution textures and the option to experience Paradise City in 4K at 60FPS on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.