Burnout Paradise has been on my list of games to play since its release in early 2008. I’ve been a big fan of the series which took racing in a whole new direction by making it a heck of a lot of fun with explosions and awesome crashes. So, when EA were kind enough to send me Burnout Paradise Ultimate Box I did a backflip with excitement. Ok, that’s an understatement but I was happy to have been sent a copy regardless. This review, however, isn’t for gushing about how much I love the game, because I do. Had I played it earlier it would’ve been in my Top 10 games of 2008. Instead, this review is a look at the new content within the lovely box itself.
First up are the two free updates that were released last year, the Cagney and Bikes updates. They were free to anyone with the game and unlocked a whole host of new stuff as well as improving aspects of the actual game. The Cagney update released a few new cars for the game, but the main difference came in the extra features added. The Cagney update allowed for modes within the game to be played online, which weren’t previously there before. This was one of the most discussed points amongst the Burnout community, that these modes were missing. Criterion listened and the Cagney update was created.
The Bikes update was almost a complete rehaul of a lot of the games mechanics. As the title suggests, motorbikes were added to the game and with it a whole new host of modes were created specifically for bikes. Boost and the E Brake were obviously left out, as were modes such as Road Rage. But in it’s place is an array of new races, time trials and stunt modes were added just for the bikes, even adding a completely new license for you to achieve by completing its challenges. It also added new day/night and weather cycles to make the game that bit more immersive.
The latest free update released for Burnout Paradise, which is included in the box, gives the game a whole new graphical overhaul. The city seems more vibrant and colourful, the collectibles such as the billboards and gates are a lot brighter so they are easier to find and the night time sections are a lot lighter so it is easier for the player to work their way through the city at night. The much needed restart feature has been added in case you happen to mess up a race or a run of stunts, this is very useful and saves you having to drive right back to the start, if you could even remember where that was.
The Party Pack is the first premium downloadable content for Burnout Paradise and is the backbone behind the Ultimate Box. It’s aim is to turn Burnout Paradise into a fun party experience. And it is fun! You and up to 7 other people can form a party at home and play through a series of randomly selected challenges. The purpose of the Party Pack is to make Paradise as much fun offline as it is online. The thing I really loved, being the owner of only one Xbox 360 controller, is that it is a “pass-the-pad” style system where each player takes it in turns to complete one of 3 types of challenges; Stunt, Speed and Skill, with just the one controller passed between the players. It is great fun getting a group of people together attempting to beat these challenges together. It turns what would be just a single player racer with some online elements into a fun social experience.
The Ultimate Box is proof that Criterion care about their gamers and its community of fans. All of these updates are things asked for by players and they’ve certainly delivered. Developers like Criterion are a dying breed. They’re willing to keep their existing games alive and make them continuously better and better. If you haven’t bought Burnout Paradise yet, there is no better time than to buy this “all in one” version right now. If you have Burnout Paradise already, but not the Party Pack, it is a worth purchasing the Party Pack from PSN or Xbox LIVE Marketplace.