For a whole host of reasons, I've been finding it harder to get lost in games lately. At the start of lockdown back in March, I thought hunkering down with a variety of games (new titles, old favorites, and a constant companion or two) would be easy. Over the past month or so, however, I've sort of been keeping my playtime to smaller and smaller chunks. A few minutes picking fruit trees here, a few songs in Beat Saber there.
This week, I tried out Burnout Paradise Remastered on the Switch and got totally, blissfully lost in it.
Releasing today, this new port by Stellar Entertainment is everything Burnout Paradise diehards might hope to find in a Nintendo Switch version. At least, I think it is-Paradise is my personal favorite in the series and the one I've spent the most time with prior to this, but the truth is that I've never actually owned it before. I only ever played it after school or on weekends at a friend's place.
Even if this was merely a passable port for the Switch, it'd likely bring back some of the same good feelings Paradise served up over a decade ago. It's better than that, though. I haven't done any pixel-by-pixel analysis or frame rate counting, but my hours spent with Burnout Paradise on Switch so far have been free of any technical complaints.
I've got a regular Switch, and I do wonder if the smaller screen on a Lite would make it a bit harder to take in what's going on, but I've had a perfectly smooth and legible time playing in handheld mode so far. There have been no notable hitches or slowdowns, and I'm sure plenty of folks will set record times or smoke their opponents in ranked play while on-the-go. Working from home as I have for over a year now, this port is one of the few games I've played that makes me pine for the days of having a commute on which to zone out with my Switch.
The only issues I have with playing Burnout Paradise on the Switch in handheld mode have do with the Switch itself. First, not having real triggers on the Joy-Cons is never ideal for shooters or driving games, but it's something I can live with. Second, I think it's unfortunately one of many games that's done a disservice by the Switch's speakers. The audio mix between the sound effects and music holds up great on headphones, or through a sound system, but it's muddy and a bit tinny playing out of the Switch itself.
In docked TV play, using a PS4 controller via an 8bitdo receiver, the experience is the same great Burnout Paradise I remember. I wouldn't be shocked if a Digital Foundry analysis finds some visual differences, but to my eyes the Switch delivers Burnout Paradise just fine in 1080p. For the sake of comparison, I did pull up some footage of Burnout Paradise Remastered captured at 4K and 60 frames per second on PC, and yes—that version is so crisp and beautiful I kind of want to kick myself for not having purchased it already. I still don't have a 4K TV, though, and my time spent playing the Switch version on the big screen while sitting on my bed has been wonderful.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get any multiplayer sessions going while I've checked the port out, so I can't say for certain whether or not that experience still holds up. Feature-wise, it's all there, and I'm sort of hoping that a few people on my friends list will want to put down Animal Crossing for an evening or two of smashing cars into each other.
Now, as great as Burnout Paradise is and as solid as this porting job appears to be, the price is still one aspect that rankles me. $49.99 is a lot to charge for a nice version of a fantastic game from 2008. It does have all the DLC, same as the other Remastered releases, but right now you can pick up a nicer looking version on Steam for just $4.99. Seeing Burnout Paradise Remastered come in just below full-price here feels like a double whammy of a "Switch tax" combined with Electronic Arts only now coming around to the platform while still lagging behind on what constitutes a good value for it.
I'll spare you my deeper thoughts on why Burnout Paradise is so excellent—our 10th anniversary retrospective captures it all better than I could, and if you're of the mind that the Switch should be getting a different Burnout remaster, we've covered that subject as well. If you've never played Burnout Paradise and are thinking of checking it out on the Switch, I heartily recommend you go read those pieces.
If, however, your Paradise City license puts my C-class card to shame and you're just here to see whether or not this port does the game justice, know this: the other night, I laughed myself silly seeing how long I could string together a chain of burnouts while Debussy's "Clair de Lune" played. After that, I ticked the soundtrack over to "Us V Them" and "Girlfriend" while knocking out some races and takedown challenges. I thought only 20 minutes had passed, but when I looked up at the clock, an hour had gone by. So yes, Burnout Paradise is on the Switch now, and it's still very, very good. Thank goodness, too, because it feels like fun I needed to have.