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Burnout Paradise is now 10 years old


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It’s 10 years since Burnout Paradise was released on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. That’s right, everyone’s favourite open-world racer finally hits the big 1-0. Has it really been that long? Yes! It really has.

Burnout Paradise flooded into stores on January 22nd 2008 in the US and three days later in Europe. It was the fifth installment into an already popular Burnout franchise, successfully retaining all of eccentricity of its previous incarnations.

But for me personally Burnout Paradise will always have a special place in my heart. After unwrapping an Xbox 360 for Christmas in 2008, Burnout Paradise was the first videogame I went out and physically brought. I’d played it that summer at a friends house, spending hours driving around in the offline mode. We were amazed and tantalised by this New York/Chicago-esque city entirely at our disposal. We’d drive around causing mayhem. We’d break into the Wildcats baseball stadium and do doughnuts or race towards the airfield and perform barrel roles.

We’d only pass the controller to each other if the ‘wrecked-screen’ would come up. Youthfully we’d pray for a ‘drive away’ every time the game would subvert into a slow motion scene of an unruly crash we’d just created.

Within that summer's flirtation with Burnout Paradise I didn’t once go on the online mode or even enter a race. I was a naive nine-year-old driving my Hunter Cavalry unaware there was game beyond the free mode and nothing could stop me.

So when I brought the game for myself, suddenly able to play without passing the controller every time I boosted head-first into a bus, I was intoxicated by all the events and and unlockables available to me. I was on a quest to smash every gate, destroy every billboard, rule every road. I was DJ Atomica’s disciple my sat nav set on the game’s Elite License.

I didn’t complete the game. I came close but then Fifa 10 came out and I discovered career mode and then ultimate team and, apart from a good month of re-playing Burnout when the Big Surf Island update came along, the game was momentarily forgotten and tossed aside.

That was until last month, when I came back home for Christmas. Bored of waiting for my younger brother to let me play for a bit on his new Playstation 4, I set about retrieving my old Xbox 360, buried in our loft. It wasn’t long before I found the dusty console (my dad’s a hoarder, I knew he wouldn’t have got rid of it). True, whenever a game loads it sounds as if a plane is taking off and I had to partly disassemble the 360s front as the disc refused to eject, but apart from those minor setbacks it seems as good as new.

And that was my December. Burnout Paradise. And just like nine-year-old me I was perplexed. I didn’t play a single other game over the holidays; sorry Forza 3 and TopSpin 4, it never crossed my mind.

I’d uncouncisely memorised the games map, it all came back to me. This time I understood how stunt runs worked (head to the bridge by the Lone Stallion Ranch, there’s two billboards and two mega jumps, a x4 combo!) With the power of forums I could see where all the billboards and smashes were. I cheated a little and used the Toy Cars (unlockables with the Big Surf Island update) in marked man events - those things are impossible to wreck. I still haven’t got my Burnout Elite license but I do now have 70 of the 76 available cars.

It was a great little flashback into a younger more innocent era. So happy birthday Burnout Paradise, and thanks for making me feel nine again.     

All images from WikiMedia Commons

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