Rating: ★★★★☆ (Copy provided by EA/160over90)
After 12 long years, Criterion's masterful Burnout Paradise has finally landed on Switch. A game that seemed to follow the trend of "open world'ing" whatever genre a franchise was associated with across the late 2000s, Criterion knocked it out the park in terms of overall structure.
Here, rather than drive from A to B, triggering smatterings of missions spread across a huge environment, every single set of traffic lights marks a new event. That means every T-junction, crossroads or set you can find in the middle nowhere has something to take part in.
Standard races go from where you trigger the race to another way-off checkpoint in the gorgeous Paradise City, and it's on you to find your own route.
Brilliantly, you're aided by a set of indicators on your car to flag turns ahead of time, letting you slam full speed into 90 degree bends, ignite nitrous halfway round and tear out the other side. For races alone, this was a huge shakeup to the standard track-based Burnout formula, and while I'll always be a Burnout 3: Takedown guy, Paradise should be celebrated all round.
Alongside races are Stunt Runs, where you'll chain big-air ramps, donuts, racing against traffic and whatever else you can think of. "Marked Man" has you fighting unknown vehicles trying to take you down as you duck and weave through the city, plus there are time trials, takedown-chaining challenges and a full online suite to boot.
For the latter, it's especially impressive how fast Paradise connects to a game - casual or ranked - giving you a city of opponents to challenge.
Paradise City itself - alongside being backed by the legendary Guns n' Roses song of the same name - is awash in billboards to smash, secret time-saving shortcuts to master and A.I. cars to take out. For the latter, this is one of the ways to unlock better vehicles - just spy a fancy-looking car burning past you while exploring, then hit the gas and knock them off the road.
Few things are as satisfying as barreling 200mph into the side of another vehicle in 60fps, seeing it fly apart into a thousand pieces, then getting a huge "congratulations!" screen followed by driving that same vehicle seconds later.
It's also worth noting that this Switch edition comes with all the original title's DLC unlocked as part of the package. That means Big Surf Island with its humongous jumps, and way more OTT vehicles like superbikes, a Delorean knockoff, a Knight Rider-adjacent muscle car and even a dune buggy.
Ostensibly, Burnout Paradise is that level of needle-pinning, content-rich video game that you won't put down, and once it has you hooked, that's you for an entire afternoon. Having it on the Switch only means you're now carrying it between all the rooms in your house.
I will say I experienced a couple of frame rate hiccups when the carnage got too crazy, and the game crashed back to the console's dashboard when the camera got stuck after a takedown, but for the vast majority, this is one of the best arcade racers of all time, on a console that only makes it more playable.