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The Switch isn't short of a decent racer or two, to suit most budgets. The SEGA Ages version of Virtua Racing is an arcade-perfect port of an all-time classic; Horizon Chase Turbo and Fast RMX deliver very different but decidedly retro-feeling thrills; and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is, well, the daddy of them all, isn't it? No other game of laps-clocking chaos comes close to its effortless immediacy and compelling learning curve. (Reminder that we ranked all of its tracks, the other week - which took ages, so please check that out.)
What the Switch lacked, until now, is an open-world racer in the vein of something like The Crew or Forza Horizon 4. Until now, because that particular breach has been filled by Criterion's Burnout Paradise - yes, the very same game that nitroed a trail across Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s twelve long years ago, in 2008.
If you played Burnout Paradise at the time, you don't need me to tell you it was amazing. What you're more keen to know, no doubt: what's it like on Switch, and do I need it in my life?
Well, let's first address the elephant in the room. This is the all-singing, all-dancing, 60 frames-per-second remastered version of the game, which came out in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, and includes all the DLC including the added jumps-aplenty environment of Big Surf Island; legendary cars based on Hollywood vehicles like Ghostbusters' Ecto-1 and Knight Rider's KITT; and motorbikes are available alongside four-wheeled options. On PS4 right now, Burnout Paradise Remastered will cost you £8.99. On the Microsoft Store, it's £19.99, and on Steam - at the time of writing - it's £4.49. But the recommended retail price of this Switch edition? It's £44.99.
That is a lot of money to fork out for a 12-year-old game, regardless of its additional content and slicker, smoother visuals. Arguably too much, given what the game's selling for on other platforms. But if money's really no object, if you just have to own it on Switch, and if you've never taken this one for a test drive before... is it worth it? Ooooooh yeah. You betcha.
Burnout Paradise has a kind of, I guess, game feel, that so few titles of its genre do. Yeah, it's a racer. But it's more than that. It's a blissfully bombastic, oddly romantic, rampaging riot of colour and sparks and rock 'n' roll. It's a delirious dream scene of high-powered driving machines, where an entire city's your playground and no amount of destruction can satisfy your appetite. It's combos and crashes and gigantic leaps into the unknown - all with the pedal to the metal. You don't need to compete in any event just to have the most fun - just blaze a flaming path through shortcuts and billboards, super jumps and secret routes, ducking and dodging oncoming traffic and not caring a jot if you inadvertently stack your motor head-on into an articulated truck. Get wrecked and you can drive on, and on, and on.
You don't even need to have played a racing game before to immediately be having a blast with Burnout Paradise. Its marked-man dashes and stunt score-chases are adrenaline-pumping distractions you'll need to spend time with to progress, to go through your licenses and unlock more and more cars and content (note that the DLC bits are already unlocked from the start - bonus). But if you just want to goof around in a frighteningly fast car and smash through some not-this-way-ya-dummy barriers and soar in slow motion off of some unfinished bridges, all while turning up Guns N' Roses, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains on your in-car stereo, there is no better game than this one. Not even Forza Horizon 4 - and I can't quite believe I just wrote that, given my love for Playground Games' exceptional 2018 release.
But. That price. It's not good, is it? By now, surely, publishers EA should be in a position to not be asking that much for a game like Burnout Paradise. Hopefully it'll be on sale soon, because this is a devastatingly brilliant game on Switch - and yes, with a few graphical compromises made, it runs extraordinarily well in handheld mode, too (although driving at night time, at these speeds, sure is a challenge on the small screen). The game has other wrinkles that are products of its age - it'd be sweet to be able to set your own waypoints - but in the moment, none of them matter. In the moment, Burnout Paradise absolutely rocks.
If it wasn't obvious, I adore this game. Does that mean that I'm telling you to drop whatever you're doing and pick it up for your Switch, though? At that asking price, no - not unless you really won't feel any pinch from spending £45 on a game you could alternatively buy right now, albeit on PC, for under a fiver. We all know there's a Nintendo Tax in today's global gaming ecosystem, and we're often willing to pay it. But bloomin' hell, EA. Could you not have come in a little lower?
Burnout Paradise Remastered is out now for Nintendo Switch (and other platforms). Code used for this coverage was provided by the publishers.
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