Remasters and remakes are big business nowadays. Sony released a spruced up version of Shadow of the Colossus a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been extremely well received. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was a surprise success story for Activision, reviewing strongly and selling well above the publisher’s expectations. It’s done so well, in fact, that Spyro is allegedly making a comeback of his own. Last year, we were treated to WipEout Omega Collection, a stunning remaster that scored the series’ first ever No.1 in the UK chart.
There are so many projects like this right now, and so many that are doing well, that it was surely just a matter of time before EA decided it wanted a bite of the cherry. Many were, and still are, hoping for the Mass Effect trilogy to get the remaster treatment, but the suggestions don’t end there. Dead Space, Dragon Age, Need for Speed, Battlefield - EA isn’t exactly short of popular series it could dip into for a cheeky remaster. However, the publisher has picked what initially seems like an odd choice for its first foray into nostalgic re-releases, but Burnout Paradise is, in fact, a total no-brainer.
The game released a decade ago on PS3, and it broke a lot of new ground; open world racing games are far more commonplace nowadays, and it’s all down to Criterion’s huge departure from Burnout’s established structure. By applying the series’ trademark sense of speed and lust for destruction in a large sandbox city, Paradise wasn’t just a racing game - it was a gorgeous, loud, adrenaline-fuelled playground. My personal favourite Burnout is the peerless Takedown, but there’s no denying the sense of freedom and pure fun at the heart of Paradise.
However, aside from being a fantastic arcade racer packed with single player content, Paradise was immensely ambitious when it came to its online features. If you were connected, every aspect of the game became a competition; speed records, drifts, or time spent in oncoming traffic were all thrown into leaderboards, and you were always challenged to outdo the person above you. The real brainwave, though, was how you played with friends. All you had to do was hit right on the d-pad and you were into Easy Drive, a simple, concise system that let you seamlessly add friends into your game. From there, you could set up races, special events, or simply tear around the city, taking each other down.
The elegance of the game’s online implementation was really something in 2008, and it’s this that makes Burnout Paradise so well suited as EA’s first remaster. The PlayStation 4 has much better social features than its predecessor, which will really allow Paradise’s forward-thinking Easy Drive system to flourish. The share button will finally let you record your glorious photo finishes, spectacular crashes, or impressive takedowns, which perfectly fits the spirit of a game that already waves your rival’s picture in your face when they smash you off the road. Basically, if you enjoyed the game’s online aspects ten years ago, imagine how well it’ll work now, the PS4 facilitating multiplayer functionality that will no doubt have stood the test of time.
Do you have fond memories of Burnout Paradise's online multiplayer? Were you surprised EA chose this for its first remaster over other popular franchises? Drift into the comments and let us know.