Criterion's fender-bending speedster series has once again popped up in the news this week. EA recently confirmed it's going to publish an HD version of 2008's beloved open-world racer Burnout Paradise, and this revelation has me pining for an older entry in the franchise.
There's a clear line in the sand that can be drawn when discussing Burnout: the two games that came before Burnout 3: Takedown, and everything that came after. The first two Gamecube/PS2/Xbox titles were published by the now-defunct Acclaim, while every subsequent entry has been released by EA.
After Burnout 3 sped onto the scene, the series became increasingly obsessed with car combat. Slow-mo takedowns were the order of the day, and while this new direction undoubtedly added to the series' already crunching spectacle, I can't help but pine for the first two, slightly purer Burnouts.
For me, Burnout 2: Point of Impact still stands as one of the very best racers from the PS2 era. Before the spirit of the series became somewhat diluted with multi-car pileups and increasingly elaborate minigames, all Burnout 2 cared about was making you dodge oncoming traffic at ludicrous speeds.
Here's some footage of the game to gently caress your nostalgia glands:
God, I loved Burnout 2 back in the day. While I got somewhat of a kick out of Burnout 3, then later Paradise, all those added layers EA invariably leans on a publisher to add – the polarising licensed soundtracks, some unbearable in-game DJ, increasingly bloated campaigns – kinda turned me off the series.
That's why I'd really loved to see Burnout 2 get a rerelease. Now granted, the licensing issues around bringing back Point of Impact would no doubt be somewhat tricksy. With Acclaim now no more, I really have no idea who owns the publishing rights – did EA perhaps acquire the rights to the first two games when it took over the franchise?
I don't even need a full-blown remaster – which, c'mon, is clearly never going to happen. I'd be perfectly happy if a PS2 classic version popped up on PS4. Considering the PS2 library on PSN has been lacking of late, Burnout 2 could give it a real kick up the tailpipe.
It may not look like much now, but Burnout 2 was the absolute shit back in 2002.
This is all wistful Sunday morning thinking, of course. Still, I'd be all over Burnout 2 if it was ever re-released.
And is it just me, or would it be a really great fit for the Switch, too?