I’m not a car guy. I was appropriately reminded of this yesterday when I stopped off at the local Jiffy Lube to have my oil changed and some punk half my age was politely schooling me on the recommended air pressure for my tires. I nodded and shrugged it off, but chalked it up as yet another obvious lesson in my own mechanical incompetence, the skill I’ve failed all these years to level up, instead opting to toss my XP to other technical skills like HTML and graphic design.
That said, and despite my casual-disinterest in real-life cars, for some reason I really like car and racing games.
A couple years ago I picked up a used copy of Burnout Paradise for the PS3 and spent a considerable portion of my free time for about a month ripping up the mean streets of the virtual city of Paradise. I progressed really far, too, acquiring about two-thirds of the unlockables and a whole bunch of the achievements. But summer came along, life happened, and I never really went back to it.
Then the inevitable: a couple months ago that same game was on super-duper-summer sale on Steam, but for PC obviously. How could I resist? I picked up an install for roughly the same price as I pay for a cup of coffee… but there it sat.
Accelerate and fast forward to this weekend.
I’m on this silly sort of quest, you see. I’d like to give each of these games I’ve picked up through Steam sales or Humble Bundles a fair try rather than just having them sitting there on my inventory lists with not-so-subtle blank playtime status glaring at me expectantly. This means focus. This means playing through a couple hours worth of each and racking up some serious winter gaming hours.
Now technically Burnout Paradise doesn’t exactly count in this list as I’ve made some substantial progress on the console version, but I thought — perhaps like being distracted by a shiny object — I’d check out the comparison of control schemes between PS3 and PC or something and give it a fair go, too.
Click “PLAY” and…. my entry into the world of the game world was oh-so-familiar and oh-so-comfortable. I’d spent many hours exploring the busy and carnage-ridden roads of Paradise a few winters ago now, the soundtrack again raging against boost-fueled races and destruction runs through pedestrian-free virtual streets as I revved up my car and launched from the junkyard. My clunker rolled out into Paradise and I was off and cruising.
Oh-so-familiar and oh-so-comfortable…
…albeit (and admittedly) a bit jarring to be missing the large roster of cars I’d earned playing before on the console, starting over again with just a single set of mediocre wheels on this new play-through. I’d taken a liking to a particularly stat-balanced SUV at one point, but I couldn’t tell you how many hours I’d need to re-devote here to earn that beast back, of if it was just some random chance, order-of-operations type confluence of my previous play-through that netted me that particular prize.
I spent some serious time cruising. The world is wide open. With a few clear exceptions, you can go anywhere “outside” in Paradise, bashing through gates and barricades to clamber your car up stairs, onto train tracks, through parks, and even into the middle of a stadium centered baseball diamond, and that’s not even mentioning the hundreds of miles worth of city and country streets, a free-way ring-road, and couple industrial-scale driving playgrounds that can be found if you know where to poke your bumpers. The world entices you to explore, going deeper with each race, better vehicles, and — I assume though I’m not a huge fan of said feature — online play. If there is another full-on racing game with such an expansive, open world then I’m not aware of it: and someone please comment below tell me.
I spent some time cruising, crashed a lot, and felt some nostalgia for a great game. I’ll be back for more.
I’ve got no affiliation with any of these games. Screens have been captured during my gameplay using Steam (press F12) and this is all just my random, amateur opinion. Share and Enjoy.