Is Burnout Better on the PS3?

I’ve got both the 360 and PS3 versions of Burnout Paradise. On the surface they’re identical. And yet, I’ve enjoyed playing the Playstation 3 edition a lot more. Why is this?

It’s worth pointing out that the 360 version was my first experience of the game. I liked it a lot. Although I’ve always loved the idea of racing games I’ve never been any good at them. Burnout Paradise was different. Here it didn’t matter whether I crashed or not. In fact, a lot of the time it was encouraged. I also didn’t run up against the same gameplay brick walls that I hit in other titles. There’s always that one race which stops me from progressing any further. Here, I could choose my own path. I could do the events that I was good at. It didn’t really matter that I wasn’t any good at racing.

Burnout Paradise was a revelation, a title that I totally enjoyed and kept going back to. I even spent quite a bit of time playing online, something that’s very unusual for me. The whole way that my offline world seamlessly transitioned into a multiplayer experience, and back out again to my own personal game world if necessary, removed a lot of the barriers that usually prevent me from venturing online.

Many months later, when I purchased my PS3, my love of the game encouraged me to purchase a copy from the Playstation Network store. At the time the price was about the same as it would’ve cost me in the shops and I liked the idea of the additional convenience of having it on the hard drive. I also wanted something to play on my nice shiny new console.

I honestly didn’t expect to spend as much time playing it on the PS3 as I ended up doing, though. It was devoured hungrily, as though it was a completely new game that I’d never experience before. Even when I bought other PS3 games, Burnout Paradise was the title I kept going back to again and again.

Why was this? Well, it undoubtedly helped that I’d already played, and improved my skills, on the Xbox 360 version. This meant that I instantly knew what I was doing and sailed through the early challenges in the game. Even so, this was a title I’d already spent weeks playing on another console. Why was I really enjoying it so much?

Trophies. Much has been written about the achievement systems on the 360 and PS3. I’m a big fan of the way they allow me to build up a record of all the games I’ve played and also the way in which they drip feed you rewards and motivate you to experience a title fully. In general, aside from those games that just copy the achievements from the 360 version, I’ve found that the PS3 accomplishments are trickier to get and not always as well designed. It’s just what you’d expect really with developers getting used to a new system. (There was a similar problem when the 360 launched with achievements)

In Burnout Paradise, though, because Criterion Games were having to keep an existing group of players happy, who hadn’t had access to the rewards on launch, they adapted the criteria used in the Xbox 360 version of the game. They also had access to the Xbox Live statistics. They knew exactly how many players had obtained each of the goals in the 360 version and could adjust things accordingly. As a result the trophies, on the PS3 are a lot more, well… achievable.

The PS3 trophies are also better because they cover the new content, developed after the release of the game. This is something that the 360 achievements don’t do. On the Playstation there are rewards for the bike side of things and for completing the newer online timed challenges. You are also encouraged to try out the online marked man and road rage events.

The more open nature of Sony’s trophy system means that it’s also been really easy for Criterion to drop in additional rewards related to the new party mode and also all of the car packs. Traditionally, on the 360, developers have been limited to 250 extra achievement points for DLC. Criterion have used 50 points of this to reward Party Pack purchasers. You’d imagine that the rest is reserved for The Island content with maybe a few nods to the car packs when that bigger expansion hits.

Of course, Microsoft have relaxed their rules for DLC achievements in a few notable cases, namely Halo 3 and Fallout 3, so perhaps they’ll give Criterion more points to play with at a later date. At the moment, though, it’s the PS3 version that continues to reward the gamer for playing with all the DLC they’ve downloaded. Which is what I want. If I’m going to spend money on DLC then I want to get a little bit back in terms of trophies or achievements. They might not have any real-world value but I like adding to my gaming progress record.

So, for me, yes, Burnout Paradise is better on the PS3. There are other reasons why it wins, for example the way the more open system allows you to export and analyse your save game to find jumps and smashes you may have missed, but I’ve enjoyed the Playstation edition more simply because of the better designed reward system.

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3 Responses to “Is Burnout Better on the PS3?”

  1. Interesting point about the convenience of having the game on the hard drive. I’ve usually been skeptical about claims that digital distribution will ultimately replace boxed products (and I still am), but I’m now learning about how truly convenient it is.

    Over the last month, I’ve spent more time playing WiiWare titles that actual retail games for the console. I’ve also just invested in an iPod Touch, and I love the easy system of just finding a game, downloading it and playing it straight away.

    The system I really think it will appeal to me on is PSP, which has full GTA and Burnout titles available for download. I checked out the store and game sizes and I can easily fit a nice collection on my memory stick. If only the hardware wasn’t so limited, i.e. died every time I went to play it, I’d love to download the Burnouts.

  2. I think those titles that you can just pick up and play for as a few minutes are the type that work well installed to a hard drive or on a memory stick. If I’m going to be playing something for hours then I’ll happily get up and pop a disk in.

    I’ve got a pre-order down for a DSi. I’m not sure whether I’ll go through the purchase but the idea of the downloadable software does interest me.

    The confusion over the next PSP has been enough to put me off getting one anytime soon (until it’s clear what’s happening). I could see myself being tempted by an iPod touch, however, but that would be at the expense of the DSi.

  3. Well as a matter of fact i picked this up yesterday along with Street Fighter IV on the PS3. I bought it to write a piece on some older games that are still good now, havent played this on the 360 so i guess a comparison is out of the question but i really enjoyed reading your comparison. Looks like i made the right choice but i’ll get back to you in a week or so 😉 lol.

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