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.
Ghost Games returns with their fourth Need For Speed entry, and it resembles a mix of prior games like Underground, ProStreet, and 2005’s Most Wanted. Now, Need For Speed Heat lays the melodrama of cops vs racers on rather thick, but the dichotomy of day & night is what takes center stage. It feels like the game is running on all cylinders this time, and is such a triumph for the series. Need For Speed Heat is the most exciting racing game of 2019.