Burnout Paradise, a Great Franchise Ruined

These past couple weeks have brought some major disappointments. It’s actually to the point now where I’m dreading anything new coming along that I’ve been anticipating as it’s likely to be crap. Let’s do a quick re-cap – XBL Video Marketplace is released in Canada with garbage line-up and ridiculously high prices. Xbox Originals launches with great line-up, but ridiculously high prices. iTunes TV comes to Canada with garbage line-up, reasonable prices but nothing worth purchasing. Unreal Tournament 3 is released for PlayStation 3, but has no split-screen play what-so-ever. And finally, Burnout Paradise demo is released, and it’s utter crap.

Deanna and I sunk many, many hours into the past 2 Burnout titles, and were both looking forward to Burnout Paradise very much. After breakfast, we sat down to check out the demo and I nearly ended up throwing the controller at my glorious new TV. Why, oh why do developers insist on taking a franchise that has consistently done well and completely changing the formula until it’s no long even recognizable? Say goodbye to your 90%+ average, Criterion. If this demo is any indication of what’s in store for the final game (and it mostly like is since the game ships in just over a month), Burnout Paradise suuucks!

What? Where Did They Go Wrong?

When I think back to when I was playing Burnout Revenge and Burnout Takedown, and ask myself why I enjoyed them and what the experience was like. I think of absolutely chaos, extremely fast and over-the-top racing. Mind blowing crashes and massive explosions. Jumping from one event to the next with only a brief intermission breaking up the madness. Non-stop action.

In the Burnout Paradise demo, after being forced through an opening cinematic and instructional intro sequence, you’re finally given a car from the junk yard and told where you can go to find an autobody to repair it, or a paintshop to change the colour. Once you start driving away, you’re told that you’ll have to repair your vehicle after you wreck it – am I not going to wreck it 18 times in a race? Speaking of races, that was the first thing I looked for. You know, an event to try. It seems they’ve adapted Burnout to the free-roaming open world concept instead of having an event menu, so you literally have to drive around to find shit to do. After 5 minutes, I found an autobody and a paint shop, which you drive through and your car is magically and instantly fixed up. At this point I was yelling at my TV and really wanting to smash some cars up. I pulled up the map to see if there was an event I could jump to, and sure enough a little race icon was present. I selected it, which did nothing. No jump to event option. No way to set a waypoint marker. It was merely a zoomed version of the mini-map that appeared on screen. So I had to drive around and find it myself. And that’s where I gave up.

I’m Not Alone

Before sitting down to rant, I jumped on the GameSpot forum to see what others thought of the demo. I snickered as I read the top topic, “demo is crap”, followed by, “Burnout meets Test Drive Unlimited?” It seems I’m not the only one that has been totally let down by this sequel. But after reading some of the topics, I’ve learned of many other changes and annoying factors. Like when you finally come across an event, but fail to complete it. There’s no quick option to restart the event. Instead, you have to find it again on your map, then drive all the way back to it and try again. And then there’s the awesome challenge mode, “Power Parking”. I can only imagine how truly awesome that challenge would be.

I was really looking forward to another edge of your seat, crazy intense, shit blowing up all over the place Burnout game. What a let down.