Burnout Paradise (Remastered)
This is a remake of the original Burnout Paradise, and, though I haven't played the original, I'm assuming that this game has made drastic improvements over its predecessor. The graphics are brilliant, the gameplay is enthralling and addictive and, though I do think that it can be a little repetitive over time- just like any racing game- there are a few features of the game which kept me interested.
Feature one: The completion aspect.
This game has, as I'm sure a decent amount of racing games nowadays have, collectables. Well, given that you're always in a car, they're more like locations which you need to find and things which you need to destroy: billboards, super jumps and smashes. Alongside those, there are a plethera of vehicles to unlock and use, all of them with redeeming qualities which keep them from being entirely useless in the face of another car which you unlock at a similar point in the game, whether that would be sturdiness, faster acceleration, better handling or, even, simply looking cool.
My experience with the collectables, searching around and trying to get them all was a decent one, I can say. While I was playing the game, searching around for everything, I was listening to podcasts and video essays about certain topics on YouTube, so I didn't get bored. While you could say that I wasn't bored because of external influence, I'd agree, though the fact that the game is easy-enough to play that I could focus on two things at once while also being entertaining enough that I was choosing to continue playing, trying to 100% the game, shows that the game itself clearly had a great deal of input when it came to my entertainment.
The only thing which I didn't like about the collectables was how annoying some of them were to find. Two of them are paired together on the top of a building which you need a specific car to be able to get to with the super jump at the top of the adjacent car park. I never would have thought to even attempt to make that jump on my own and, even if I had, I wouldn't have known which of the vehicles I needed to make the jump. I needed the internet to tell me, and given that, in my opinion, after what must have been about two or three hours of looking for the last collectables, I still hadn't found them and had to look on the internet for guidance, they're too well-hidden. Aside from that, however, it was very enjoyable to be able to essentially switch-off my brain and spend an hour or two zooming around Paradise City in search of these collectables.
Feature two: The freedom in the events.
Most racing games confine you to a specific route during races. Not in Burnout Paradise. If you've just started a sprint at one end of the map and the destination is at the opposite end, you have a giant myriad of routes which you can take. You can go anywhere, including in the wrong direction. Now, some people might not like this at first given that it makes your understanding of the city into one of the three deciding factors as to whether or not you'll be able to win a race (the other two being your skill and the vehicle that you're using,) but I think that the freedom is actually one of, if not, the best part about the racing experience in this game. The amount of times that I've been partaking in a race in another game, Need For Speed Undercover, for example, and I've slammed into a barrier because of a horribly sharp and unexpected turn, losing my speed, my position and a great deal of my enjoyment, shows just how much of a nuisance that these barriers can be. Yes, they keep you on-track to your destination, they keep you with your opponents so that you can have the satisfaction of passing them, but they make the races slightly boring when you're being told exactly how to get to the end all of the time. The complete freedom in Burnout Paradise is something which, as far as I can remember, I haven't experienced while playing another racing game. Ever.
Feature three: No police
This one's fully up to your preference. Personally, I like it when racing games have police in them to make the game harder. However, they can become incredibly annoying. I've had a few experiences before where I was on-course to winning a race, only for the police to arrive and- I'm not joking when I say this- specifically target me and leave the other racers alone, almost always allowing for them to win instead. It's very annoying.
So, in Burnout Paradise, Paradise City is a city created for street racing, meaning that there aren't any police around to slam into you for going a little faster than the speed-limit. Yes, there's a certain aspect of challenge which is missing because of that, though the increased difficulty of the events because of the previously mentioned lack of barriers evens it out. No police, harder races. Besides, the civilian cars can be enough of a hassle without having the police on top of that. They're pretty easy to evade, at least in my experience, though they can get in the way occasionally, so they might be able to make or break your race.
Conclusion and recommendtation
So, that's that. The game's incredibly fun, probably quite unique when compared to a sleuth of other racing games, and I'm definitely pleased that I've played it. I can only think of a few nit-picks about the game, so that must be a good sign for it. Would I recommend the game? Only if you're into racing games. I feel like the lack of barriers in the races could be a big turn-off for people who aren't used to racing games, especially because, early-on in the game, it can be quite easy to get lost given that you don't know the layout of the city. For people like me, however, who have played racing games in the past, I don't think that it'll be an issue given that you're probably used to speeding around and subconsciously taking-in pathways, secret routes, major, useful landmarks, etc. If you like the idea of the game, give it a try, but it may be beneficial to have some prior experience from another racing game first. I suppose it depends on how quickly you can adapt to new games.
Overall, I'd given Burnout Paradise 8/10. The game is incredibly enjoyable, but I don't think that I could say that it's the best racing game ever. There are probably a few other titles which are on par with Burnout Paradise, if not better, though Burnout Paradise is definitely a great game which shouldn't go unnoticed by fans of the gaming genre.