EA Showcase 08: Hands-on with Burnout Paradise’s Bike Update

Ah, Criterion Games. They’re a bunch of fine folks that love to give and give, and don’t expect much in return. They released the Cagney update last month, which added new modes, Challenges, new cars, and plenty more. For their next free update, they’re bringing more new additions, including motorcycles.

Criterion could have easily charged for the bikes, but instead, they’re just giving them away to their loyal fans. I think it’s safe to say that people would have gladly forked over some cash to finally experience motorcycles in a Burnout game. Awesome DLC and it’s free? It’s too good to be true, but it’s no lie.

I got to play it and you can read up on my impressions right after the jump.

The sense of speed that came with driving the cars in Burnout Paradise was jaw dropping. It felt like you could break the sound barrier any second, especially on a long enough straight away when blasting all of your boost.

The motorcycles are no different, and you’ll be zipping along the roads of Paradise City much faster than any of the cars. So fast, in fact, that the bikes won’t have any boost. Now before you go bitching, know that the bikes really don’t need boosting at all. You’re driving so fast, that boosting would basically be overkill.

An important factor when it comes to motorcycles in games is always handling. I can’t play any other bike games because of the vehicles being way too sensitive. I also don’t like playing simulation racers because, to me, there’s no sense of fun. The Burnout series has always been my only true source for fun in racing games, and I’m happy to report that the bikes handle beautifully. There is virtually no major learning curve as you can simply pick up the bikes and play. You will need to learn when and how much to apply breaks while hitting the corners, of course, but it doesn’t take long to master. It’s the same deal with the cars. It took probably a few minutes to understand the physics, and then you were good to go.

One really lame part with the update however is that you won’t have awesome disastrous crashes with the bikes. If you plow into any type of wall or barrier, you are instantly back on your bike and don’t see any sort of crash at all. You will see crashes when you hit other racers or cars, but the bikes stay intact and you don’t see your rider flying head-over-heels into the air. I can understand not implementing any gruesome rider death animations, but seeing no bike crashes is a total bummer.

I did ask about the lack of bike crashes and was told that there was some worry because of the E10 rating. There was also another reason, but you’ll have to wait until later in the day to find out from my interview with EA’s Kevin O’Leary on the Bike Update. (We’re such teases.) In any case, I don’t see how bike destruction would have affected the rating. It’d just be like the cars, except on a smaller scale. 

There will also be no tricks with the bikes. You can pop a wheelie, but other than that, you won’t be able to do any kind of crazy flips and loops like the cars.

The Bike Update will also bring with it bike specific challenges for multiplayer and racing challenges for the single-player. Criterion decided to not include any racing challenges in multiplayer as a lot of the people playing online are really only focusing on all of the Freeburn Challenges and such. They wanted to deliver what players would probably play the most.

The Bike Update is bringing with it a day and night cycle and there will be different challenges based on the time of day. There will be far less cars on the road during the night, and you’ll be expected to complete challenges faster at night because of the lack of traffic. The time will be completely customizable as well and you can set it for real time based on your system’s dashboard, have a day go by in 24 minutes, to whatever you want. 

There are a couple of little negative bits, but the lack of crashing isn’t a game breaking feature. They want players to just have fun and that’s what we’re getting here. Plus, this shit is free so we have no room to bitch. The Bike Update will be dropping later this year for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and will include four motorcycles, 70 new challenges, a day and night system, and a dynamic weather system. Basically, it’s packed full of awesome. 

Hamza Aziz