Open world games are ‘in’ right now and they are becoming ever more popular in the racing game genre. I am talking about Fuel and Burnout Paradise, two open world racers that take very different approaches to the concept.
Fuel places you in a truly massive world based on the west coast of America, one which has been destroyed by the effects of global warming, Burnout puts you in Paradise City a much smaller but altogether more lively environment than what you get with Fuel. It is extremely interesting to jump from one game to the other, to go from the isolation of Fuel to the hustle and bustle of Paradise City really does make you stop and think about the games.
In Fuel your only companions are the big lumbering trucks that traverse the many roads of the game while Paradise City is packed with vehicles of all kinds. It is not just the traffic you come across which is different, Fuel gives you a desolate landscape with abandoned buildings dotted around the landscape, take a trip around Paradise City and you are blasted with a gluttony of buildings both large and small. It is also place where every little thing seems to be trying to catch your attention, you are constantly being pulled this way and that at the whim of the game. Fuel is much more minimalist and empowering, there isn’t that sense that you -have- to go here or there, you are just presented with this massive slice of America to drive around.
For all the criticisms that have been laid at the exhaust pipes of Fuel it overcomes them and makes Paradise City seem a bit immature in comparison. In the Burnout game you never get a moments rest, there is a super jump here, billboard there a race to do here. The speed you drive at plays a factor in this too, as does the size, or lack thereof, of Paradise City. You can travel around the whole city in just a few minutes as you drive around in cars that just fly through traffic on perfect roads.
If you tried to drive all the way around the world of Fuel you would be there for hours, I spent twenty minutes travelling from the first base camp to the second, and that was without stopping here and there to take in the sights. You are able to go everywhere with even a hint of ground, this doesn’t happen in Paradise City. Yes you can find the hundreds of shortcuts in the game and drive around all the train tracks, but you will often come up against a flimsy fence which stops you dead in your tracks.
Fuel lets you explore and that is what the game is all about, the racing is a bit of a let down to be honest (especially compared to Burnout) but the world is a joy to just drive around. I mentioned being able to take in the sights and you are encouraged to, Vista Points are hard to find but are worth it for the amazing view you find. This is totally lacking in Paradise, it is such a frentic non-stop game that you don’t feel like you are able to take a moment for yourself just to observe what is happening.
If these two games were to get combined into one then it would be an amazing experience, as it is they both have some very praiseworthy attributes. I love them both, Burnout for the amount of crazy shit that can be done, Fuel for the world that I can explore. Both games are geat.