Burnout Paradise

A buddy of mine at work was generous enough to loan me a bunch of PS3 games.  He is knee deep into the Wrath expansion for WoW, and so he said he wouldn't miss them for a while.  Initially I set them aside as I really wanted to get to 100% treasure collection on LittleBigPlanet, but now that I have achieved that goal, I was ready for something new.  

The first game we pulled out of the stack was Sonic the Hedgehog.  Now, I loved Sonic on my old Genesis, so I had some expectations going in.  Ooooh, was I disappointed.  Gone are the 2D platforming levels with insane speed (thank you blast processor!).  Today's game is filled with 3D platforming at it's worst.  Every conceivable issue that could afflict a 3D platformer is here: unclear objectives, horrible character control, uncooperative camera system, and outright bugginess.  If you get this game in your stocking this holiday season, don't even bother to unwrap it.  Just take it to your nearest games dealer and hope they give you $5 on trade-in for it.

So I set that one aside and picked up the next on on the stack: Burnout Paradise.  If you've played any of the Burnout series of driving games, you know that the series is far from a pure racing sim.  In Burnout, crashing your car in the most spectacular way possible is part of the fun.  First, let me say that this game is gorgeous!  The vehicles, the environments, and the wrecks are just amazing.  This is what next gen console play is all about (sorry Wii, I love you man, but this is not your forte).  The gameplay itself is a lot of fun too.  The game is set in an open environment that is Paradise City (cue G'n'R).  You can simply cruise around in your vehicle enjoying the environment at your leisure, or you can pull up to any stop light and hit the gas and brake to start an event.  The events are one-on-one race, group race, stunt run, marked man, road rage, and burning route.  The first two are typical racing fare.  Marked man and road rage are variations on a smash up derby.  In marked man you are the target, and your goal is to get to your destination in one piece while your opponents attempt to destroy your vehicle.  In road rage, it's a roadway free for all with the objective to destroy a target number of opponents.  The burning route is a special timed race that, if you win, you get a new version of your vehicle.

This game is a lot of fun, but it can be a little daunting to first jump in.  With so much city to explore it is easy to get lost during a race.  There are lots of times that I'll manage to get the lead only to see the pack peel off to a side street while I barrel down the road heading the wrong direction.  

Burnout Paradise supports Trophies, so if you are a trophy hound this is another opportunity to get your fix.  The PS3 is my first experience with a trophy system and I'm finding that I really enjoy it.  It's giving the games a lot of replay value as I try to attain the more difficult goals.  It's also fun to compare my trophy collection with other folks on PSN just to see how I rank against other folks.

I noticed that Burnout Paradise is now available as a download on the PSN Store for $30.  If you own a PS3 and enjoy driving games, $30 is an easy investment for this kind of fun.


Jade Mason