Burnout — Need for Destruction? Yes! But a Need for Languages?
Wrecking your car has never been so satisfying
So everyone has their niches when it comes to video games; some like dating sims, while others like whatever deliberate junk there is to find on the app store (“app store” being the general term because all the letters are lower-case). But some people… like racing, and I, for one, am not one of those people. The only racing game I like, which is not really a racing game, is Burnout.
So this game has been around for a while now, specifically since 2001. Although it’s classified as a racing game, there’s one core feature that sets it apart from all the other notable franchises in the genre, and that feature is, to put it simply, getting your car wrecked over and over! More than the racing itself, what makes Burnout fun is that it’s more exciting to drive your car into another and behold the explosion than stress yourself over who gets first to the finish line. This game is all about wrecking your car in two-dozen different ways and probably even more. The best thing is there’s no story, so I don’t really need to say what it’s about, because it’s only about car wreckage… and probably also racing.
The franchise has been off the radar for a while, mainly due to the most recent entry, which was not memorable since it seems like a stark deviation from all the previous titles. I only ever played the demo version, but I sort of understand that sentiment. Before that, there was the entry where the franchise peaked, and probably also the best one yet in the series, so much that they remastered it. That one, which I still enjoy playing sometimes, is Burnout Paradise.
Cars don’t need to talk
Burnout Paradise is more or less every Burnout game put together, adding an open-world setting. You play as a driverless car, which is just one of many driverless cars because there is no sign of any human life aside from the bikers. Interestingly, when you crash with bikes, the riders just disappear, almost as if the developers were too cheap to pay for ragdoll physics. But then again, it’s all about the cars anyway; nobody really likes motorcycles. Did I mention that the game also has motorcycles and not just cars? Well, I did now.
But yeah, you basically drive around doing stuff that mainly involves exploding everything in sight, all the while you’re accompanied by the voice of a hilarious radio jockey that you never meet anywhere in the game (adding more to the “no humans” atmosphere of the game). Yet, much as I enjoyed his one-liners, something bothers me about the fact that there are only cars. For some reason, they are required to know the language to get around.
What I’m saying is, I get it that there needs to be language so that the player can get from the start menu to the actual game itself, but what use is it for cars? Except for the bikers, there are no signs of human life (something I might’ve said already), and I’m even more convinced that they aren’t even human since they magically disappear when you crash the bike. But why do they need to talk if they’re all cars? Cars how no need for languages; all they need to do is drive. So… what’s up with that?
It’s probably just a post-apocalyptic setting
Remember how I said earlier that there is no story? This “problem” may be just a story element that’s never explained as the story itself is never explained. But considering that there are barely any humans, Burnout Paradise may take place in a post-apocalyptic setting. Of course, this is all just fan-theorising, and that’s a whole different subculture, but I’m sure there are plenty of those on Reddit, so that belongs over there.
Assuming that the game doesn’t happen in a post-apocalyptic setting (which would be cool), this is just another case of design choice. Sure, cars might not need to know English or Spanish or whatever, but in the end, it’s for the entertainment of the player.
Frankly, I liked the first solution better; that it’s part of the lore. Frankly, I don’t mind that cars have English with them at all times. Maybe they, too, need to know languages.
Are you burnt out?
Get it? Anyways, as usual, now’s your turn to tell me what you feel about the franchise in general, The lack of humans in the world of Burnout, and/or the possibility that it might take place in the post-apocalyptic future (which I think is the best). I have played previous Burnout games, but it was only until Burnout Paradise that I truly realised how much there is to explore with this franchise. However, I don’t know the chances of that happening since it hasn’t released any new titles recently. There’s the remastered edition of Burnout Paradise, but that’s a remastered edition, so that doesn’t count.
Even in retrospect, playing any of the Burnout games is a real treat since it features elements not usually seen in modern video games. And it can be any of the games in the series, be it the first or the last, they all have that something special that will sparkle in your eye, and you ram that car so hard into the crash barrier it gets sent flying into the air, only to explode two seconds later. I had fun playing this game back then with friends, so it still holds today. So play it.
I really wanted to talk more about the connection between sentient cars and the languages that appear to them as billboards and radio. But then I just realised that it’s all in the story. That being said, not much is known of the story. Not that there is any need for one since it was all about crashing cars into one another. But I do want to believe the post-apocalyptic idea because that will add a whole new perspective on why you are encouraged to crash cars in this game.
But damn, I am tired, and my brain is already fried for today. Until next time…