Burnout Paradise Remastered is exactly as the title states. It’s an action-packed arcade racing fans paradise, a beautifully designed sandbox city with no pedestrians to accidentally run over while flying threw intersections. My eyes swelled with tears of joy once I pressed (RZ) to rev up my car’s engine and burst out the junkyard/garage like a bat out of hell. Hearing DJ Atomika fill my ears with some of the best rock tracks of the time such as Alice in Chains “ Would?”, Jane’s Addiction “Stop!”, Soundgarden “Rusty Cage” and of course Guns n’ Roses “ Paradise City” is like finding an old beloved mixtape.
To this day, every time I hear “Paradise City” my mind is transported back to 2008, passing the controller around with friends playing Burnout Paradise. There is a valid reason that this version of the Burnout series has found its way on to every major gaming platform. It’s a bonafide classic. So when it was announced that the game was coming to the Nintendo Switch, I knew if done well, this could be not only the best arcade racer on the Switch but an absolute must-have for fans of the series and genre alike.
The story is simple and straight to the point. You have one goal which is to have nonstop over the top nitro filled racing fun. In between tracks, DJ Atomika (voiced by actor Mark Hildreth) acts as your personal tour guide. He will point out nearby events/challenges, explain the rules for the various racing events, and provide tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your gaming experience.
In my opinion, this right here is one of the key reasons Burnout Paradise has remained such a fan favorite. There is no typical Hollywood street racer story. It’s literally a pickup-and-play arcade racer that motivates progression by completing event requirements for your current license so you can upgrade to the next license and unlock more event challenges. With that said, as you approach an intersection holding the (LZ & (RZ) will trigger the event or challenge.
Street Race – The title says it all. Once triggered, DJ Atomika will chime in showing where you are on the map and where the finish line is located. You are one of 8 racers and can use shortcuts to get to the finish line. The navigation bar located in the top center will keep you on track. You will also see a left or right signal flash when an upcoming turn is required. If you fall way behind and want to quit the race just stop moving your car and the race will end. If you would like to retry the event, press right on the D-pad and you will see an option to retry the last event.
Takedowns – The goal is to take down as many of your fellow AI racers as possible before wrecking your car. Imagine destruction derby but performing the destruction while racing in a city filled with oncoming traffic. Once you perform a Takedown, the camera in the traditional Burnout style will zoom to the wrecked vehicle so you can witness the damage you inflicted in slow-motion.
Marked Man – You need to get to the finish line while having up to 4 AI vehicles (depending on license level) hunting you down. They will box you in, slam you against street barriers, and pretty much do everything possible to destroy your vehicle. You can fight back by performing Takedowns but just remember, like agent smith in The Matrix, another vehicle will spawn in its place.
Burning Route – These events are timed point to point races that require a particular vehicle type. These are great when you are already in the required vehicle type. If not, you will have to head over to one of the 4 junkyards/garage to change your vehicle. It’s for this reason that out of all the events this is my least played. It would have been a great addition to have the option to which vehicles on the spot via a menu select.
Stunt Run – You are given a certain amount of time to perform a multitude of car stunts such as air spins off-ramps, barrel rolls, and big air jumps to name a few. The end goal is to beat the target score. As you would imagine some cars are better suited to perform tricks so keep that in mind before starting one of these events.
Challenges – Throughout Paradise City, you will find off-limit gates to crash through which will unlock an alternate path or shortcut, big jump stunts which include Dukes of Hazard style camera angles and billboards strategically placed in order to get you wondering how you can smash through them.
Multiplayer aka Freeburn online – By simply pressing right on the D-pad you jump into the Burnout Paradise online community. All the above-mentioned modes are available to play in multiplayer along with the DLC game mode “Cops and Robbers”. This is like a team-based version of capture the flag with the flag being gold. Leaving is just as easy as entering multiplayer. Just press right on the D-pad and select the option to exit multiplayer.
As you complete different events/challenges, DJ Atomika will point out that a new car has entered Paradise City and is now racing around. If you can successfully Takedown this vehicle it would then be added to your collection. This is by far one of my favorite “Challenge & Reward” systems. Instead of just giving me the car, I now have to hunt it down. There is no better feeling than driving around and seeing one of these cars fly past which always sets off an internal trigger in my mind that it was now time for me to begin the chase. However, this reward system wouldn’t just end once the car was obtained. You now had to find a repair shop to repair it and put it back to 100%. Not doing so will put you at a disadvantage in almost all events.
In all of the above-mentioned events, using Burnout’s iconic “Boost” is essential. How you obtain and use boost varies from vehicle type. You can find all of the details for your vehicles back at the junkyard/garage. Burnout Paradise Remastered gives you access to all DLC vehicle packs, new location “Big Surf Island” and introduces motorcycles. There is plenty of content and countless hours of fun to be had in Burnout Paradise Remastered but all would be for not if the game with its blazing speed, creative zoom in slow motion crash mechanic underperformed on the Nintendo Switch. I am here to say that Burnout Paradise Remastered does an amazing job running at 60 FPS docked and in handheld.
I would think a large majority of players are familiar with the franchise and like me already own multiple copies of this title on other platforms. So a big selling point for such people would be the game’s performance while in handheld so we can play this classic on the go. Thankfully in the 10+ hours that I spent playing Burnout Paradise Remastered in handheld, I experienced little to no issues. Occasionally while racing in full boost with multiple cars on screen, I would see some texture popping in such as the baseball field, bridges, or other large structures. Besides this, the game would stay strong at 60 FPS with no slowdown. I purposely caused multiple car accidents to see how the game would respond. There were no framerate drops or performance issues. It truly is Burnout Paradise proper in the palm of my hands. It’s also worth mentioning a new pinch-zoom map function was added to take advantage of the Nintendo Switch touch screen.
Burnout Paradise Remastered for the Nintendo Switch is a quality port that gives us the full Burnout Paradise experience we’ve loved for over 12 years. Yes, we would have liked a car select option instead of having to travel to a junkyard/garage, and yes at night the game still gets insanely dark which still requires you to go into settings to turn up the brightness or turn off night/day cycling. These issues were not addressed in the PS4 or Xbox One versions so it’s no surprise these same issues remain.
What is a surprise is the pricing of this title. Burnout Paradise Remastered is $49.99. The PS4 and Xbox One version launched at $19.99. Asking for more than double the price is shocking. This is a quality port and by all means, a must-have for fans of the franchise but I find it hard to justify the purchase at such a high price point. Should you purchase this game? Absolutely! It’s the Burnout Paradise we all know and love, but I would recommend holding off until the game is on sale.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Burnout Paradise Remastered for the Nintendo Switch provided by Criterion Games and Electronic Arts.