We like playing games around our house – board games, outdoor games and, especially, video games. Lego Indy and Star Wars are in heavy rotation (of course) and we’ve been enjoying our latest rental, Endless Ocean – where we explore reefs and underwater wildlife. But sometimes a kid wants a little … more.
Burnout Paradise is the latest installment in the Burnout racing series. And it’s quite a departure from earlier games in the franchise. In the past, players progressed from race to race via the in-game menu. However, with Paradise, players are able to explore all of Paradise City from day one and engage in races and events when they choose.
The game is rated E 10+, which means that it’s suitable for anyone older than 10. My kids are only six, so is it really that bad? Burnout Paradise’s rating is based on warnings for two areas: language and violence. Let’s take a look …
I’ve spent a good deal of time playing this game with my kids and watching them play it. And I haven’t picked up on any language that I’d call objectionable. In fact – outside of a slightly annoying DJ who speaks to you over your radio, there’s no talking at all. The only reason for the language warning that I could figure out is the soundtrack. Consisting of mostly hard rock tracks, I guess it’s possible that there’s some language in there, but I couldn’t pick anything out. It seems as though the music has been scrubbed pretty well. Even the Guns N’ Roses title track has been cleansed, changing the line "I’d have another cigarette, But I can’t see" to "I’d have another ‘nother, But I can’t see".
The crashes are a big part of this game and they are epic – both brutal and beautiful at the same time. Wheels, body panels and broken glass fly everywhere when cars impact at 200 mph. And when crashes invariably happen, the game goes into a slo-mo mode, showing the car collapse like an accordian. But for all the gratuitous car violence, there are no people in the game – not a single soul. There are no pedestrians walking the street and each driver’s seat sits empty. So people are safe in Paradise City.
Paradise City is a romp to play. My kids love trying to drive without wrecking – but they still enjoy a big crash. There are ridiculous, hundred foot jumps that no car (or its passengers) could survive, but as we repeatedly remind our kids, "It’s just a game, we can’t do this in real-life." They get the message and not once, on the drive to school, have they ever asked mommy or daddy to try to do a barrel roll off the fountain in the median.