Maximum Overdrive a film about from a short story by Steven King about automobiles taking over the world.
Burnout Paradise a racing game where you have a whole island to play in but no people in sight.
The connection? Strangely quite a bit if you start to break the game down.
But first before I delve into the world thinking of my psyche lets look at the game as a whole.
At first glance the game has all the glitz and glamor of a racing game, its fast, its flashy and most importantly you can crash your car. But somewhere along the line the game became a little too good. Like having a 99 flake ice cream but then smearing it with chocolate followed by toffee, followed by more chocolate and enough flakes to fill every inch of the top.
The racing for one is a bit of a let down, the A.I. isn't really all that impressive, unless your playing marked man you wont really have much in the way of trouble with your opponents. In fact it would go as far as to make it as easy as possible for you to win a race each time, Once I was in 8 place with less then a mile to go and knowing I would lose only to find on the map that all the cars had mysteriously started slowing down and even suicidally crashing into objects to give me a clear run to the goal. This once you start noticing it is the general ai tactic it seems in the races. The only deviation seems to be when you do Marked man and then have to go up against ridiculously fast cars that have been chiseled from granite (ah Carmageddon how I miss you). But these are generally no bother as they only seem to take cheap shots when your about to crash anyway in a wall or tree or wooden fence. On that segway I would like to mention the lack of realism in this game when it comes to destroying stuff. True we are dealing with ghost cars and machinery that is hell bent on killing itself (more on that) but it seems that the developers forgot to maybe place the right type of scenery in certain areas. Why is it that in the wind farm sections that consists mostly of wood and small fences, all is indestructible, but visit the city and you'll be happily moving down cars, metal fences, traffic cones and anything it seems that by most normal situations would give a little more resistance then a 2 by 4 piece of plywood pushed into the ground.
Also on other problem with the game is its openness, its nice to be able to visit all the areas from the get go but this does pose a problem when you realise that you could cover the entire island in under 8mins (one mission even gives you this challenge) on a bike, one of the first bikes I got int he game did this in just under 6mins 20. It would have been better for it to lock down certain scenes to give a goal to the user, as it is the scenery gets pretty tiring after traveling from the club house to the shoreline from the 20th time.
Also with the game acting as a huge map that you can travel at you pleasure I noticed that there wasn't nearly enough junk yards at hand to change your vehicle. You can end up in the corner of the map with blistering fingers from holding down the accelerator and boost buttons for what feels like half a hour and discover that the only way to get to the junk yard in your nearest area will take a further amount of traveling the twisting areas, which by that time I just give up and turn the game off completely.
A option int he menus would have been nice (ala NFSMW) where you could just warp to the nearest junk yard would save a lot of numb thumb and fingers.
The problems stem from the company trying to muscle in on several games that I could see in this one, NFSU being one, Flatout ultimate in a smaller degree and the bikes from Midnight club racers 2, this thrown into a sand box-esk setting with little in the way to actually sandbox.
Car games are few at the minute(Im in the B class section at time of writing) and all the levels are exactly the same, even going as far as allowing you to do the same levels from previous matches to bump up your score, meaning less work on making racing settings for the developers and boiling down the races to nothing more then grinding sessions. (oh great I passed the stunt run again, only 24 more of these and I get a shiny piece of chrome and a card with you pass on it).
Also the crashes have their own weaknesses, the clipping on some cars is a little odd. in some cases you can come off with nothing then a small dent, other times you can ( as I managed with some eyebrow raising as I watch in slow motion my car apparently clip another npc car and become wreaked by having its drivers mirror taken off). This goes even further when you get the bikes as they do not even give any animation to crashes for driver of bike (but as I said before I have a theory on that).
I summing up the game as it is its ok, its probably one of the best conversions to the pc I've seen for a while.
However with annoyances such as written above and the menu system being far too long and flashy (instead of just letting the player choose his settings without having to wait for it to cycle through each screen and make it all animated and glamorous), and the fact that instead of giving a section for joypads they instead just have you experiment with trying to press various keys on the keyboard till you realise you just have to press the config button and press the controllers buttons for it to start displaying the joypads existence. (if you aint using a microsoft joypad you'll know what I mean) Also I believe there are adleast 10 loading screens to get through each time you boot up the game for the pc, including a news section with its own browser and several notices about the enter key and the HD reading that you've read about several fucking times already.
And for you number whores out there I give it 999 out of PIE.
Now onto my conspiracy theory, this game isnt really nice, its in fact about the future of the human race being wiped out and replaced by suicidal cars, a crazed radio show man and holograpic boobed biker. This my friends is Burnout Maxium Overdrive Paradise. You start as a soul trapped in the body of a trash heap, forever watching the next batch of fucked up mind crazed cars roll in, taking your shot you jump and possess the buggered cars and high tail it out of the crazed asylum of the "THE YARD" and escape to wonder the abandoned city of "Paradise",a once thriving city left in semi ruin to its car over lords. Left to travel around aimlessly searching to find one remaining person to mow down in a twisted hell bent emotion of diesel/petrol rage. The only sound other then crashes and engine revs is the sound of the crazed radio man, no one know what his motivation is with staying in the city, however some whisper in their tail pipes that hes in fact a recording and there is no man left to destroy or have maintain over the cars. Thankfully the cars are not alone in their daily pursuits, as various shops have been possessed and happily refill the cars with the neccessary items they need to keep running, ever aware that sooner or later they will begin to wear down and lose their own products and abilities to serve. The newest edition are the bikes, having come later they develop a system where they can generate a holographic rider to sit on them, having little to do with the bikes actual performance the bikes can travel at ridiculous speeds, and when they crash they simply lose the signal of the rider and all that is left is the sad bike stuck forever to floor as even a holographic rider cannot pick them up. What we have isn't paradise but hell my friends, hell on earth. The world is controlled by the machines and like us they too will find that the end is closer then they realise. All the while the radio man shouts out his taunts of a better time, when people still roamed the world.
Comments suggestions welcomed :) read