I’m pretty sure if I were to kill a driver in real life I would go to jail, not get their car.
I have not historically been all that much into the racing game genre, not unless those races involve breaking boxes to get items to throw at Donkey Kong. It’s not that I don’t like them; I’ve just never played them. However, Burnout Paradise is one of those games that even if you’re on the outside looking in. you hear about how much people loved it back in the day. Originally released 12 years ago in 2008, fans jumped for joy upon the announcement and release of a remaster. When the remaster was also confirmed for Switch, the usual worries were front and center: will it run well and how much of a graphical downgrade is it going to get? The answer to both of those questions might be surprising to you, as they certainly were for me.
Burnout Paradise has no real story to speak of. You are a driver in Paradise City and you like to drive fast in a variety of cars, that’s all there is and to be honest that’s all there really needs to be. After a quick introduction to the various parts of the city, the game hands you your first beat-up car and sends you on your way. From there Paradise City is completely open to you. The player is able to drive anywhere they want from minute one. If you pull up to an intersection and rev your engine you’ll trigger an event, which is the main progression method of the game. These event challenges come in a few different flavors, though pretty much all of them simply translate to “drive fast.”
There’s the most basic challenge, a straightforward race from one part of the city to the other against six to eight other drivers. These were my favorite when they popped up because unlike your usual racer, there is no set path from start to finish, meaning the game simply drops a waypoint and lets you figure it out from there. Even if you miss what would have been the “most optimal” route, you’re not out of the running yet, as every road in Paradise City is in some way connected to every other road. Other events are similar with a small difference, such as getting to a specific location while other drivers attempt to wreck your car or doing enough stunts within a time period to hit a certain score. Completing a certain amount of events successfully raises your rank on your driver’s license, which in turn will unlock more vehicles that you can earn and use.
When not participating in events, there’s a few things you can do throughout the map. At certain points, the game will tell you that somebody driving a specific car is now roaming the map, and if you find them and wreck their car you will unlock it for your own use. Various “Super Jump” points can be found throughout the map, as well as a number of red billboards that you can destroy. Outside of this, Burnout does not have a lot of substance for anybody that wants more than a game where all you do is drive. This isn’t a massive problem as the game isn’t pretending to be anything else, but if you’re somebody looking for a bit more than fast cars in an open world you’re not gonna find what you need in Burnout Paradise.
But the most important part is to talk about how the game runs, because whenever a game ends up on Switch from elsewhere, the quality of the port is more or less a gamble. Luckily Burnout Paradise Remastered is actually a fairly solid Switch port. The game never seemed to drop frames as far as I could tell, and the graphical downgrade from other versions is negligible at best. This performance even extends to playing in handheld mode, so if your main interest was buying the game for a portable Burnout experience, I’m happy to say this is probably exactly what you’re looking for. That’s not to say the game is not without some odd problems, one of which being that in order to play online, you are required to connect your Switch profile to an EA account. One of our other reviewers also noted that the game has some sound mixing issues when being played on a sound system with a subwoofer.
Overall Burnout Paradise Remastered is a solid game and an even more solid Switch port. If you like driving games and that’s all you really need, driving in Burnout feels really good regardless of what kind of car you’re using (my personal favorite was speed types). Those looking for a bit more than just the endless grind of races and stunts might still find themselves having fun for at least a couple hours, and even though you don’t actually interact with it at all Paradise City is still an interesting and varied setting to roll around in. If that sounds like your thing I can happily recommend this game on the Switch.