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Jun 29, 2020

Burnout Paradise Remastered (Switch) Review

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4 Awesome
Retails for: $49.99
We Recommend: $49.99
  • Developer: Stellar Entertainment
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genre: Racing
  • Released: Jun 19, 2020
  • Platform: Switch
  • Reviewed: Switch

Burnout Paradise is unquestionably one of the best racing games at all time. It may not be everybody’s favorite Burnout game, but it certainly is my favorite, and it is undeniable that Burnout Paradise revolutionized the casual/arcade racing genre, and important groundwork that many racing games in multiple sub genres are still built on today. You can see Paradise‘s DNA in everything from Need for Speed to Forza Horizon to the DiRT series and well beyond. It was a drastically influential game that had a lasting impact on the design of racing games. It also happens to be an absolute blast to play and sports some of the most incredibly cohesive game design I’ve seen; the car handling, world design, art direction, extra objectives, event types, and even the soundtrack choices all work in tandem to create a thrilling, raucous playground. Burnout Paradise is the rare game where every single aspect sings together in beautiful harmony, and it creates an impactful, joyful experience that still feels exciting and unbelievably fun to play today. It is in many ways a masterpiece, showcasing how strong video games can be not as art, but as sources of pure entertainment and glee, which frankly is something of an artistic achievement in its own right.

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Of course, if you’ve ever played Burnout Paradise, you already know all of this. And what you probably also know is that in order for the Burnout Paradise experience to truly “work”, it has to run at blazing fast speeds and with appropriate smoothness and flair so as to allow the thrill of weaving through busy intersections at hilariously unsafe speeds with an absurd amount of nitro boost pushing you well past your car’s limits to actually land correctly. Any stutters, hitches or slowness would serve to break the illusion entirely. You would be understandably concerned then, that Burnout Paradise Remastered on a lower powered platform like the Nintendo Switch might be a compromised experience, a shoddy reproduction of the genuine article. Sure, the original game came out in 2008, but we’ve seen ports even older suffer from performance problems. Plus, this doesn’t just need to run decently, it needs to hit a consistently high frame rate and be incredibly responsive to be worth a damn. Believe it or not, Burnout Paradise Remastered on the Nintendo Switch is an absolute dream; it is a rock solid performer that runs every bit as well as you remember, and it is a true delight to play.

Yes, the Switch release of Burnout Paradise Remastered runs at a full 60 frames per second, with nary a hitch or drop to be found. You can confidently settle into the game for high speed races on the go or on your couch, with no discernible performance issues distracting you from making hairline adjustments as you bob and weave through blissfully unsuspecting commuter cars and those damn vans so you can bash one of your opponents into the side railing and line up your epic jump across the river. Burnout Paradise: Remastered feels great on Switch, and it even does an excellent job of accounting for some of the unique constraints of the system. Of course the game handles well when docked and played on a TV with a Pro Controller, but I have found many third party games on Switch don’t do a great job of adjusting controls to work and feel well on the Joy Cons, which is exceptionally important when playing in handheld mode or even when using them is your only control option in general. The team at EA have done an excellent job of adjusting the controls so that even the smaller analog sticks on the Joy Cons feel responsive and well-tuned, so that no matter how you play the game, you always feel in precise control of the action. There’s some good use of HD Rumble in the game for providing physical feedback, and when playing in handheld mode, the game map supports touch controls for zooming and panning.

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Crucially, the mayhem and destruction that are synonymous with the Burnout name are every bit as glorious as you would hope, with crash sequences sporting loads of vehicle deformation and crumpling, showers of debris, and all of the delicious slow motion chaos you’ve come to expect. Textures look crisp and clear, and even when blazing through the country side at ludicrous speeds, there is a level of care and detail paid to the world that makes it evident the developers cared deeply not just about bringing Burnout Paradise Remastered to the Switch, but doing it the right way and making it shine. There are some compromises in visual fidelity when compared directly to the game running on other platforms; texture resolution and clarity is somewhat reduced from the Xbox One and PS4 versions, some particle effects are less detailed, and the anti-aliasing of a lower overall quality, but these are smart places to make reductions as the overall impact is minimal, particularly when racing through the world of Paradise at high speeds that obfuscate most of these imperfections anyway.

This remastered release includes the entire compliment of the original game’s impressively large catalog of DLC from it’s “Year of Paradise,” which boasts eight total packages including loads of new vehicles, motorcycles, the Cops and Robbers cars and game mode, and even an entirely new land mass in Big Surf Island that extends the original game’s map and adds loads of new stunts and challenges to participate in. It is quite literally the full package, and it’s an incredibly fun way to play. The online competitive and cooperative modes are still present as well, which could serve to revive the glory days of countless hours spent online with friends and strangers alike racing, knocking heads, and working as a team to achieve impossible stunts in service purely of having a damn good time. Unfortunately I’ve had issues getting into a full enough lobby to really test these modes fully, but the matches I have been able to get into have run well. At a minimum, this means you’d have little trouble meeting up with friends in private lobbies for play.

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Burnout Paradise Remastered on Switch is an incredibly well-optimized release that is clearly tailored for the hardware. It’s more than just successful, it’s outstanding, and regardless of the original game’s age, it sets the bar for the quality that we should expect from multi-platform ports making their way onto the Switch. It certainly has some rough edges in order to fit this package onto the Switch and to ensure it runs well, but still it’s wonderful to see that so much hard work has been put in to preserve the authentic Burnout Paradise experience, and being able to take this game with you literally anywhere for the first time ever is a bit of a thrill all on its own. I can’t say enough good things about this game; the original is already one of my all-time favorites, and now the remastered edition is the complete, modern day package that will allow the game to live on for another generation of players and old fans alike. Burnout Paradise Remastered is an excellent game, and the Switch release is a true gem that is indeed a little bit of paradise.

Switch eShop code was provided in advance by the publisher for review purposes