Thursday, 20 November 2008

Life in Paradise

Yesterday, I reviewed Burnout Paradise for the PS3 and 360. But the content on the game disk is nothing compared to how the game stands now, 10 months after release. Criterion Games has been the forerunner for post-release support up to this point, and it doesn't appear that this will change anytime soon.

In August, the 'Cagney' update was released, which aimed to enhance the online component of the game. To the online races, it added online versions of the Stunt Run, Road Rage and Marked Man events, as well as adding more Freeburn Challenges. Other additions included new cars, new paint jobs and custom soundtracks for the PS3. Adding such a large amount of new content so long after a games release was unheard of up til this point - but Criterion wasn't done yet.

In mid-September, they added the 'Bikes' pack. For the first time ever in a Burnout game, bikes were available to play with, and although the crashes aren't quite as vicious, to offer such a game changing update in a game (particularly an EA game) for free is a first. At the same time, more big changes were made - the addition of a day and night cycle, as well as a changing weather system. At for the bikes, 70 new Freeburn challenges were available (half of these timed) amongst various other fixes and enhancements. A week later, a trophy patch was released, and the game became the first full made-for-disk retail release to become available on the PlayStation Store.

Having had the game since I got my PS3 in May it was at this time, as I was becoming a trophy whore, that I decided to restart Burnout Paradise and play it through to the end. And it became the first racing game I've ever completed, mostly because of the sheer fun - even when some of the races were becoming stupidly hard. At that time, all that was known for the future of Paradise was that at some point there would be a whole new island released that added more freedom than ever to the game to drive wherever you wanted. But then, in October, Criterion announced they weren't done just yet.

Over four consecutive weeks, Criterion will announce more new packs (excluding the Island) to be released in Spring 2009 - well over a year after the original release of the game. The first of these is the 'Party' pack, which adds a pass-the-pad multiplayer mode with plenty of challenges to complete, as well as a new party-themed UI and brighter in-game colours for the mode. The next two packs are 'Legendary Cars' and 'Toy Cars'. The best addition coming up in these? The DeLorean-alike Jansen 88 Special that can fold up its wheels and hover, and pressing boost leaves fiery strips behind you. Who knows what the next packs will be?

For more on the packs, head over to, but for now I think it's appropriate to re-review Burnout Paradise with all it's new content (downloadable now as updates, or on a new disk called the Ultimate Box in Spring 09), and I think it deserves a 95%.


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