Let’s Not Play: Burnout Paradise

Welcome to our Let’s Not Play of Burnout Paradise. This is a series in which we discover the fun to be had in obsessively refusing to play games properly. Apparently Burnout Paradise features races, challenges and cars to collect. But ignore all that! To not play Burnout Paradise is to SMASH EVERYTHING! Don’t even bother collecting any other cars other than the starting one! I wrote about how brilliant doing this was six years ago. I continue to find it brilliant. Here are the first 200 yellow fences and 50 billboards destroyed, while I natter rubbish over the top.

(There’s a compilation of the first 70 or so smashes after the intro. Commentary picks up again on smash 73.)


  1. mpk says:

    The ultimate irony of the game is, of course, the name which it is now generally sold under: Burnout Paradise Ultimate Box. Except EA wont let you buy the DLC because they’re arseholes, so it’s hardly the Ultimate box, is it?

    Despite that, great game, but Burnout 2 is still the high water mark of the series.

    • Guvornator says:

      Two words about Burnout 2 : Crash Junctions

      Why they never turned up in any of the other games, I’ll never know.

      • Coldyham says:

        I’m sure they were in takedown (unless that was number 2)

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Burnout 3 was what made the series coalesce into a cohesive whole. 2 was still generic-ish and not particularly memorable. Takedown had an absolutely fantastic feel and style.

    • RiptoR says:

      Bought the complete DLC pack on amazon a while back. Not sure if they still have it though.

      But either way, don’t worry too much about missing out on stuff when not owning the DLC, it’s mostly garbage anyway. Some of the new cars are fun for a couple of minutes, but that’s about it…

    • sasayan says:

      I’m going to have to agree with FriendlyFire above, Burnout 3 is the point when the series really figured out how it’s done. Granted my opinion may be affected by the fact that Takedown consumed half the floor of my dormitory for the better part of our freshman year. To our credit we did collectively earn every gold medal possible in that game. Party crash or even hotseating the single player crash tour is some the the best fun I’ve had in local multiplayer.

  2. Guvornator says:

    Burnout Paradise is (Showtime, that abomination unto the The Lord aside) simply one of the best games I’ve ever played. I still play it, even though I suspect it’s doing terrible things to my PC*. Road Rage is SUCH a good stress reliever, and the idea of taking pictures for your license was such a wonderful idea I’m shocked no one’s made more use of it.

    *You have to load it from Origin, otherwise it’ll ignore the -multithread command line and crash. Also, infrequently, it’ll freeze the whole PC, which nothing else on my PC will do.

    Edit: I sort of think John is actually not not playing the game, because he’s completing objectives. My personal favourite way to not play involves a supercar, the wrong side of the highway, and the boost button. How many boosts can you chain, and will your face melt before you hit someone/thing?

  3. brgillespie says:

    I wish you made more of these random videos where you “natter rubbish”, John. I enjoy listening to your (amusing/cynical/British) commentary.

  4. Pop says:

    Burnout Paradise’s billboards and yellow gates are much like Crackdown’s agility orbs and Pringles.

    • Pop says:

      One that thought, are there other games bar Crackdown with similar moreish mechanics?

      • liquidsoap89 says:

        -Any Ubisoft game from the last few years
        -Just Cause 2
        -The Binding of Isaac

  5. shinygerbil says:

    Yep, the billboard at 15:35 was a pain.

    It’s amazing just how many of them billboards I remember!

  6. kwyjibo says:

    I returned to Burnout Paradise last year and realised how my memories of it were all rose-tinted nostalgia rubbish.

    It’s just not as good as the other Burnouts, and I remembered as soon as I got in the first car. Fired up the nitro, rode it all the way to the end, and I didn’t get a Burnout. That’s right, the whole purpose of the game, the Burnout, is restricted to a certain type of car.

    And the point to point racing was a bit pants too. Without the circuits, you never have that focused discipline to repeat and focus, to feel yourself getting better as the race progresses, as you get closer and closer to the ideal racing line. It’s just one shot, and loads of improvisation. There’s also one race at least, that you win by just immediately turning right because the AI pathfinding is shit.

    • Artificial says:

      Completely agree. I found the game to be such a bland experience for pretty much those exact same reasons.

      • John Walker says:

        It’s because you’re both playing it wrong! SMASH stuff!

        • Noumenon says:

          A strange game. The only winning move is let’s not play.

      • epeternally says:

        More agreement. Paradise always seemed like the weakest Burnout to me, and going back to it now it just flat out seems like a weak racing game. I’m glad that it laid the groundwork for the infinitely superior Need for Speed: Most Wanted and there’s still some fun moments, but that’s about as much good as I can say about it. It’s bland, it doesn’t feel like Burnout, and it’s just not that much lasting fun.

    • plugmonkey says:

      “That’s right, the whole purpose of the game, the Burnout, is restricted to a certain type of car.”

      The whole purpose of the game that was entirely absent from the third and fourth entries in the series? That whole purpose?

  7. the_r says:

    I really is a great game.

    My favourite part – the infinite gearbox. Go on the highhway and start driving… 1st gear, 2nd, 3rd…. 7th, 8th…. 24th, 25th… :D.

  8. amateurviking says:

    I fucking hate that song.

    No not that one, the other one.

    • hanshanshans says:

      I still haven’t figured out what Avril Lavigne has against my girlfriend.

  9. donkeyspaceman says:

    I thought Burnout Paradise was garbage when I first excitedly bought it on Xbox, expecting to play multiplayer with friends (it had ZERO local multiplayer at that point and even the later party modes they added are kinda lame), but it’s become a comfort blanket over the years.

    I still turn it on sometimes and cruise around Paradise City with no objective, just relaxing to Moonlight Sonata. It’s weird how a game about wrecking cars can be so meditative.

  10. Artificial says:

    The praise this game gets always confuses me. I loved previous Burnout games, but the open world form this one takes just made it feel completely boring. I much prefer racing on set courses when it comes to these games.

  11. draglikepull says:

    I know this is blasphemy, but I thought Need For Speed: Most Wanted was a better take on what Criterion was trying to do in Burnout Paradise.

    • thedosbox says:

      I’ve read the same elsewhere, and John’s video is tempting me to get NFS Most Wanted just to do this. I had a great time in SR3 just driving around causing havoc and trying to escape the cops.

  12. captain nemo says:

    Burnout Paradise is a fantastic game; although its a pity you cannot run over DJ Atomica

  13. meepmeep says:

    Aid my ailing memory: was Burnout 3 the one where the gaps between oncoming cars were very slightly too narrow, and Burnout Paradise the one where they were very slightly too wide?

  14. liquidsoap89 says:


    After over 100 hours getting all the achievements in this game years ago, I am now in the unfortunate position of not being able to even look at this game without feeling fits of rage whenever I hear it’s soundtrack. There are 2 whole songs that I like, and I eventually got to the point where I just turned everything off to not have to suffer any more.

    It’s still one of my all time favourites though. I get a nostalgic tingle whenever I see those slowmo crashes.

  15. tonka_92 says:

    oh the memories
    they’re washing all over me right now
    thanks john

  16. sasayan says:

    It’s solely my personal experience, but can anyone confirm that it is in fact impossible to loose a race if “I Wanna Rock” is playing?

  17. Urthman says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse the Let’s Not Play Series and hope we see lots more entries, including some from the rest of the RPS staff.

    • Ryuuga says:

      Indeed! It is a fine invention!

      There are so many little nuggets of not playing, like the time me and a pal discovered how idiotic the crouch/sneak in system shock 2 looks in multiplayer. Good times.

  18. PopeRatzo says:

    My best game ever. I’d be more excited about Burnout Paradise 2 than I would be about Half-Life 3.

    • lowprices says:

      Given that Critereon is now a shadow of it’s former self, I think the closest you’re going to get is Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which is basically Burnout Paradise 2, but not quite as good.

  19. JustAchaP says:

    I wish they would just make another Burnout game like number 3.

  20. thekelvingreen says:

    It looks like good fun, yes, but ye gods that soundtrack is atrocious.