As most Burnout Paradise will know, the new Big Surf Island package has been released today. Upon starting the game I was told a new update was released (1.9) weighing a large 1.3GB. After the download and entering Paradise City I noticed the gateway to the island was wide open. Deciding to take a drive towards the bridge I was promptly reminded that I haven't bought the Island content and was asked if I wanted to. I think this is a good idea on Criterions part, leaving the door wide open for all players but reminding those who haven't bought it, that they haven't will make them want to see what's across the bridge even more.
Anyway so I downloaded the package and decided to take the first of nine cars in the package for a spin. As I made my way across the bridge I noticed the detail in the bridge and island, which was no less, perhaps even better than Paradise Citys. As a speed through crashe through brand new smashes (75 in total) I came across some blue lights and a ramp. I reversed and put the pedal to the metal and flew off the ramp, hitting another positioned even higher in the air. Leaving that ramp I was told that I had completed a megajump, the size of the ramp and jump making it obvious why they added the prefix "mega".
From there I went online and joined a quick game to check out the freeburn challenges. I'm not sure how many there are, I'm guessing 50, but the challenges were as exhilarating as those in Paradise City. The first required the group of 8 to meet up inside a centre and then jump through the lighthouse. Seeing the lighthouse jump in CrashTV's preview was one thing, but doing it myself was another. Then we met at the CrashTV Ski Jump and were told to all "catch some air" at the same time. Obviously due to some takedowns and some people not having mics this took a few goes, but we got there in the end. Another challenge had is getting 3 near misses and getting a certain distance of drift in the car park, which essentially, is a spiralling tower with a few jumps at the top. This was a lot of fun but not as fun as the last challenge I took part in, which was to each meet on top of a specifc building on these things that can only be explained as planks attached to the building. Obviously there weren't 8 planks so 3 people trying to fit on one caused some big falls and crashes. From the "plank" the view was quite incredible, Paradise City was fully visible in the distance, though it wasn't fully detailed (maybe that's because of the weather), but doing these challenges made me remember why I love Burnout so much, having not played it in 2 months since my 360 was dead.
The island is varied too, with mountain type areas, a beach area, and a construction site (that Criterion are calling the "new quarry") that has heaps of jumps and areas. In fact one challenge required us to jump through two hoops at the same time, which was also a lot of fun.
Seeing that Criterion have been working on this over a year, the amount of detail, challenges, mega jumps, smashes and different areas make it easy to see why they changed their mind about making the island free. Though I don't think the island is quite worth 1000MS points, which is about £8, I still think it's almost value for money, and this is definitely one of the more worthwhile packs and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to all Burnout fans.