What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that reckless driving dominates the action in this game and that it is glorified. Players are rewarded for driving in oncoming traffic, slamming into other vehicles, and creating overall citywide carnage. Parents of new teen drivers might want to consider a recent study which suggests that playing some racing games can increase one's willingness to take risks while driving in real life. Collision carnage is shown in great detail, but no person is ever shown injured. Advertising is rampant within this game, as the city is littered with billboards, vehicles, and other signs of sponsorship. This game also features an online component which allows for chat so that kids will be exposed to whatever other online racers care to say. In addition, kids can attach cameras to take photos during the gameplay that can be shared online during the game.
What's it about?
The Burnout franchise has never been about going out for a leisurely drive. Really, only one rule of the road exists: Create mass highway carnage. BURNOUT PARADISE takes Criterion Games' concept a step further, replacing the linear driving campaign with the open road world of Paradise City. Players can navigate a large map, choosing their own path to conquering this large metropolis. Each stoplight in Paradise City represents a different event. Challenges vary from races to road rage, with the latter being an event where you must wreck a specific number of opposing cars. In Stunt Run, you'll speed over ramps and through billboards to rack up points. Each victory earns you points on your license. After completing a certain number of challenges, you'll get an upgrade.
Is it any good?
For kids old enough to know that reckless driving only has a place in video games and not in real life, this game can be an exciting fantasy to explore. Cars are categorized based on speed, strength, and stunt ability. This also determines how to increase their boost meters. Stronger cars, for example, will use an aggression boost meter which rises with overly assertive driving. The natural fallout of this aggressive driving are the explosive crashes. Wrecks look cinematic, as glass shards and chunks of metal shoot across in slow-motion before the full effects of your collision are realized.
Burnout Paradise's greatest achievement is eradicating almost all down time. Load screens and menus are rarely seen. Cars can zip into repair shops and gas stations with no break in action. And if you want to move online, a quick flip of the directional pad takes you to Freeburn Mode. Players attempt to top each other in a variety of small challenges, like farthest jump or most near misses of other vehicles. Multiplayer could have been perfected with a wider array of events and an offline two-player option. But those are small dents in the finish of Burnout Paradise.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the appeal of this type of driving game. What makes a title focused on reckless driving so entertaining? How do these compare to the more realistic racing titles? Do you think there is any connection between playing this kind of game and becoming more reckless when driving in real life?