Criterion games did ordinary things extraordinarily well when they crafted, and fine tuned Burnout Paradise. Essentially the quintessential online arcade driving experience – yet to be bettered by the likes of Project Gotham Racing 4, Split/Second or Madagascar Kartz – it blends seemlessly the experience you have as a single gamer alone in the city with that of the online multiplayer, while at the same time consistantly evolving and changing through – predominantly free – downloadable content packages.
That said we reckon that there were a few features missing from Burnout Paradise that would have made the game so incredibly awesome that it would have been illegal in seven American States.
First off we would add a new kind of vehicle to the game – and no we are not referring to the mythical ‘Planes’ add-on pack that was teased previously. We would simply make use of the railway tracks in the game and actually have the trains running around. Imagine the pulse-pounding excitement of being neck-and-neck with a rival, the finish line just ahead, but with a railway crossing in the way… the train is approaching… do you boost and risk it or ease off and wait? Races could have sections of track included as part of the checkpointed course, allowing for high-octane games of chicken with a rampaging diesel spewing behemoth in a shunting yard. I can’t see a single bad point coming from the addition of trains to the game. The best example of how we would see it implemented is probably the use in the Stuntman series of games, with flatbed trucks and open doored boxcars allowing for sneaky short-cuts through the potentially fatal freighter.
(Naturally if the planes did exist we would currently be talking about a mode that lets you drive the car after an accident has burnt it out, with a fat Canadian sat next to you telling tales of selling shower curtain rings)
A small mini-game we would have loved to have been added as an Easter Egg would come after an online takedown in Freeburn mode. Picture the scene, Big Surf Beach, waves lapping against the boardwalk as cars hurtle over jumps, but suddenly there is a crash! Oh my word, what a to-do! A cut-scene is triggered where the ‘drivers’ swap insurance details while standing looking at the damage, poking at flappy bits of bodywork and making phonecalls to a tow-truck company. It would have been incredible if it just ‘popped up’ unannounced, inducing many ‘Laugh Out Loud’ moments. Also perhaps a few elements of the Flatout series? Giant bowling pins?
The final addition we would have LOVED to have seen in the final game would have to be a theatre mode, similar to the one used in the later Halo games. Too many incredible moments happen in Burnout Paradise that are quickly consigned to nothing but memory, and sometimes that doesn’t even happen if you are drink driving (in a virtual sense). The option to make your own car chase movies with the whole of Paradise City as your playground is just too good to be true – and yes I am aware that this is possible eitherway, but I am on about something a lot more sophisticated than some people parking strategically to get a good shot. Something similar to what Reflections Interactive did with Driv3r would have sufficed if the whole Halo 3 Theater mode was too complex. Even if you could only save thirty seconds of footage at a time it would have preserved the time I wrecked three cars after jumping the damn drop.
So there you go, no need to add in alien space craft or pedestrians who consistently feel the need to participate in the odd sport of skitchin’, just add in trains, amusing mini-games and the ability to share videos/images and Burnout Paradise would have achieved a Lolocaust brand of perfection.