Burnout Paradise review: Where the crashes are pretty
Burnout Paradise Remastered (PS4/XO) ★★★★★ Age: 12+
The screech of tortured metal, the theatrical shower of sparks, the blinding sense of speed - nobody did car carnage better than the team at Criterion, an EA studio from which most original staff have now scattered to the four winds.
But as a reminder of Criterion's genius, this remaster of the final instalment of the racing/crashing franchise serves as a fine primer 10 years on from its release. Fittingly, too, it has already smashed its way to top of the charts.
Ironically, the remastering process doesn't add a significant amount of gloss, testament to the original's polish but just as likely tied to the eye-watering pace of the racing, which leaves little time for sightseeing. The value of revisiting Paradise City lies in revelling in its expertly-tooled combo of city streets to tear around, outrageous jumps to nail, aggressive traffic to shunt out of the way and road furniture to smash.
It's a joyous rollercoaster to ride, a triumph of game design, underpinned by a raucous soundtrack. I defy anyone to resist gunning the engine as the Guns N' Roses title track kicks in, with Steven Adler's thunderous snare drum and Slash's squealing six-string mirroring the automotive destruction to come.
(XO/PS4/PC) ★★★★ Age: 12+
Born from a student project, the original QUBE managed a decent homage to puzzle supremo Portal. This sequel ramps up the production values and throws in considerably more complexity.
An archaeologist gets trapped in a mysterious alien structure of labyrinthine rooms (yeah, don't ask), assisted by radio contact from an apparent fellow survivor. As before, she can manipulate objects from afar, using bounce pads, extruded blocks and cube generators to create a path to the next room. Naturally, the combinations become increasingly convoluted, later relating on timing and other variables such as wind.
The logic of the puzzles allows for only one solution, unfortunately, which seems a waste of the archaeologist's powers.
But together with the disingenuous voice in your ear, you're constantly intrigued by what comes next in this clever puzzler.
(PSVR) ★★ Age: 16+
A poor man's Time Crisis surely wasn't the pitch for Bravo Team but that is exactly the result. There surely is room for a VR co-op shooter in the mould of the on-rails arcade classic, in which a pair of good guys pop in and out of cover to blast the baddies.
But Bravo Team gets nowhere near its inspiration, throwing away its VR advantage via poor controls, dullard enemy AI and desperately bland level design. Any semblance of enjoyment gets sucked away by a morass of buggy performance and absence of tactical options.