Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Performance Analysis

Burnout Paradise isn’t exactly a new game. In fact, it was released over a year ago, back in January of 2008 to tremendous critical acclaim thanks to its expansive game world, innovative game play, and gobs of old-fashioned fun.

Unfortunately for us PC users, it was launched only on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Why should you care? Because a year after launch, the game is available for us PC gamers. Not only are we getting the “Ultimate Box” version that includes every expansion pack previously released, but we’re also getting a refined, polished experience compared to the launch version released over a year ago.

As an avid PC gamer, I couldn’t be more ecstatic about this port. I’ve always been a racing game fan, but am much more interested in the Need for Speed fun-focused games rather than the TOCA Race Driver simulation stuff. While Codemaster’s new GRID is definitely a step towards the fun side of things, it’s still a little dry and Need for Speed has completely lost me since NFS: Pro Street. What I have always craved is a no-holds-barred fun-fest of gorgeous graphics, thrilling speed, and car-crash porn. As a PC gamer (with a Wii for the kids as backup), I’ve been deprived of the newer Burnout titles that could fully satisfy this vice...until now.

This isn’t a game review, as it should already be obvious that I’m a big fan of Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box for the PC. But as a hardware reviewer, I was impressed at how well this port ran, even on my relatively weak home theater PC. With other ports running poorly on the PC (such as Halo), I decided it might be worth a look to see just what this game needs on the CPU/GPU hardware side of things to deliver great performance and maybe delve a little into the image quality as well.

With this in mind, I’ve chosen a good cross-section of graphics cards with which to test the title. I’ve even tested different CPU clock speeds and processors ranging from one to four cores in order to really answer the question: “what do I need to get the most out of Burnout Paradise?”

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  • mi1ez
    How are you supposed to compare graphics quality using a GIF?!?

    Could you not have had multiple high quality JPEGs next to each other?
  • waxdart
    EA = DRM title = No sale.

    The game isn't that great. I alway found it annoying having to search out races. If you've only got a few mins to spare it's nice to be able to jump it and get going.
  • PT88
    Race Driver: Grid anyday!
  • jcook21
    I always loved the Burnout series and always promised myself a copy when it appeared on the PC. I bought it the other day and I was immediately impressed with the gameplay and graphical prowess, esp considering my rig.

    Core 2 E6400 @ 2.1Ghz (One of the first versions)
    2GB Ram (I think one of the slowest clocked DDRII)
    and a
    Geforce 7900GS 512MB

    I thought I was going to have to drop the settings to the floor to play it, but they are quite comfortably on medium/medium high - admittedly on 1280 * 1024 res. But on a 17" monitor do I need a higher res?

    Still, for £30 you can't go far wrong. It has me coming back every night for a quick blast - with jaw dropping graphical moments every time.

  • vasthegreek
    I tried the demo way before this article. Not my cup of tea. Too "arcady" for my liking. I didn't like the feel of the cars, camera angles and the damage....tbh I don't think that anything can beat GRID on the pc right now. Ok you cannot cruise around but it's all down to what you looking for.
  • PT88
    GRID is the ultimate arcade racer for the PC at the moment, if u want SIM then ur tlking GTR series.....
  • vicious5id
    Burnout is a different game when compared to GRID.
    GRID is pretty much a simulator, with some arcade elements.
    Burnout is about the thrill of speed, and the resulting crashes - not much else. A game for someone looking for pure fun!
  • Anonymous
    PT88Race Driver: Grid anyday!

    The chasis crunching gorgeousness of a head on inpact with a brick wall at full throttle easily passes the joy and frustration of driving the LeMans in Grid.

    Burnout wins in the Jump in and Go stakes. Just blasting round the city without furthering any set goals is fun in itself.
  • david__t
    The fact that the game runs well on lots of hardware can be taken 2 ways: either it is a good engine (as the article says) or conversly the level or detail is not as high as other PC games, coming as it does, from consoles originally. Although the Xbox360 & PS3 look good, we have to remember that they soon fall behind the PC in terms of graphics processing.