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Burnout Paradise


rubberducker
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This is not without its problems. Here are my thoughts: http://pressstartblog.wordpress.com/2008/0...sideofparadise/

The Dark Side of Paradise: New Burnout DLC impressions

New offline and online events, a full 24 hour day/night cycle, the addition of motorbikes, and all this for free - it sounds great on paper. And indeed, the latest downloadable content in Burnout Paradise makes quite the first impression, with the novelty of the bikes and their different handling opening up a genuinely new feel to racing through Paradise City.

But while the content is sizeable, there are problems. For one thing, night is NIGHT. Come midnight in the game it’s so dark - pitch-black in places, with only your bike’s weedy headlights pointing out landmarks in the gloom - that you’re forced to rely on the mini-map in the corner of the screen more than ever. This lack of visibility makes perfect sense when racing on the country roads at the west edge of the map, but the near-darkness at the very heart of Paradise City itself (other than the flashing lights that indicate jump positions) somehow just looks lifeless and wrong, and makes night-time racing extremely difficult. The night cycle can’t have been accounted for in the initial design of the game, otherwise Criterion would have put twinkling lights in a number of the buildings to help guide your way, and the lack of some sort of tweaking to make the darkness less of a hindrance is frustrating. Those country roads are rather pretty at night, though, and the day/night cycle is tweakable through a number of settings. These include (among others) a 24 minute cycle, a local time setting tied to your real-world location, and the ability to permanently set the game time to a chosen point. I recommend sunset.

The motorbikes’ lack of boost is an interesting design decision. It arguably makes the racing more “pure” (although the speed differential between the two types of bike will likely make one of them comparatively useless in competitive online play), but Burnout without boost just doesn’t feel like Burnout. The lack of any crash animations at all for a big shunt is disappointing too, but whether this is due to technical constraints or because having riders fly off the bikes would invalidate the game’s age rating is unknown.

All this doesn’t mean that the content is without merit – far from it. Having a new driving license to work for increases the breadth of the single player game (although I have yet to find any races against AI opposition, which is an interesting oversight), and while difficult, the Midnight Runs use their new checkpoint system to great effect. The Freeburn challenges are as compelling an example of social online gaming as you can find on Xbox Live at the moment, and the addition of all new Road Rules leaderboards for bikes for both day and night will reinvigorate those particular bragging rights. Online racing between bikes brings an extra dimension to a now overly-familiar game world, too.

It seems churlish to complain about a free update - and certainly this DLC is remarkably generous - but given how long it has been in development, the various design foibles are more than curious. Paradise it may be, but this game definitely still has a dark side.

I would write about the weather effects, but weirdly I haven't seen any yet! :unsure:

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The bike crashes really stick out - I guess cos adding a whole ragdoll model and collision detection for it in the crashes would've been a big task.

What's there is great though - love the feel of the bike (only tried the fastest of the two) and the changes to the race dynamic it brings. Only weather change I saw was what appeared to be fog.

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I spent an hour none stop blasting round before!

How nice to get something like this for free!

I quite agree :lol:

The bikes = the speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed

GForce.jpg

The new island download is the next big download - Eastwood

I think they didn't release a ragdoll rider as they would have had to reclasify the game given that it would feature something like "hazardous peril" and thus become a mature game. You can't argue that it's a great free download and anyone just buying the game now can get this dirt cheap for a proper bargain price of around £10 pre-owned.

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The bike crashes really stick out - I guess cos adding a whole ragdoll model and collision detection for it in the crashes would've been a big task.

I think it's also related to the game rating it would have received in the US. If it's Teen now with a patch making it 16+ or whatever then they'd be screwed.

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I had a bash on this today. It's very impressive to say the least that they can add these features to the game, re-invigorate it and offer it all for free. In short, we should be grateful and not be harsh on the game's shortcomings. It is weird there's no boost on the bikes, though they go fast enough anyway..!

In short - nice work, Criterion!

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The bikes handle brilliantly, but there are a few issues. Burnout without boost isn’t really Burnout – I wonder why they didn’t include it? No boost removes the risk/reward structure, so time trials become a matter of just blasting along the racing line, rather than judging when to risk accumulating boost. Plus, it makes wheelies pointless, it makes driving against traffic pointless, it makes the petrol stations pointless, it makes jumps largely pointless…

The roads seem virtually deserted when you’re on a bike, too. No stunt runs. It seems a bit churlish to complain when they’ve given away such a substantial expansion to the game for free, but the boost stuff was clearly a design choice rather than technical limitations, and it makes me wonder what the thought process behind it was.

Is it just me, or are there some new songs on the soundtrack with the expansion? I don’t remember Faith No More being on there before.

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The bikes handle brilliantly, but there are a few issues. Burnout without boost isn’t really Burnout – I wonder why they didn’t include it? No boost removes the risk/reward structure, so time trials become a matter of just blasting along the racing line, rather than judging when to risk accumulating boost. Plus, it makes wheelies pointless, it makes driving against traffic pointless, it makes the petrol stations pointless, it makes jumps largely pointless…

The roads seem virtually deserted when you’re on a bike, too. No stunt runs. It seems a bit churlish to complain when they’ve given away such a substantial expansion to the game for free, but the boost stuff was clearly a design choice rather than technical limitations, and it makes me wonder what the thought process behind it was.

Is it just me, or are there some new songs on the soundtrack with the expansion? I don’t remember Faith No More being on there before.

Correct about the bike handling - they are a joy to drive about. I think having less traffic on the roads makes it a bit more enjoyable as more traffic could be a pain - especially for the bike beginner - although I'm hoping later on they ramp up the traffic with later challenges. Not sure about the new songs, I do know Faith No More has always been on there as it's the music I most enjoy playing Road Rage to ;)

Again, it's free and I think this is a great thing to re-ignite my interest for the game. I'm very much looking forward to the new update.

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Not had this long and was a bit sad there was no crash mode, then I discovered the Showtime thingummy. Now I'm a happy bunny :(

I'm also impressed at how much there is to do. I'm not keen on night time though - I've got mine set to constant mid-day now, which is a bit sad cos in theory I love the day/night cycle, I just have difficulty seeing where the hell I'm going!

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It seems Paradise will be up on the PlayStation Store this Thursday, and despite not being much of a racing fan I think I'm going to pick it up. It's going to cost $29.99 in the US, although whether that will translate to £15 or £20 I'm not sure. It seems a bit of an odd time to release it, really, as WipEout HD is coming out the same day.

Oh, it looks like a Trophies will be patched into the game on Thursday as well, and they should be retroactive. The wording on the Criterion website is a bit vague, though, so that might not be entirely accurate.

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