Watashi wa DJ, dawg!

I recently bought Burnout Paradise for the PS3, hoping that like so many others it would see my system settings were set to English and so ignore the localisation and play in God’s own language. No such luck, sadly, but at least I now know my Japanese is good enough to follow all audio instructions and menu screens, including the strangely morose and authoritative woman who introduces Paradise City. The game is a hoot, of course, and this is coming from someone who hates racing games. I just spent a lazy Sunday afternoon marveling at the crashes, finding signs to smash and zooming around the city, ignoring all those tiresome races and activities. But there is one snag…

I often hear about how localised versions of Japanese games are turned to Z-grade quality pulp by bad American voice acting. Believe me, it works the other way round too. As if DJ Atomica wasn’t enough of an annoying, odious intrusion to begin with, wait till you meet DeeDuyai Atomica, his Japanese twin brother. He follows in the proud tradition of a certain type of Japanese radio or television DJ, often an American-born Japanese or one of mixed parentage. They speak in fast Japanese but like to throw in Englishisms to sound cool. DeeDuyai Atomica too has his banter and likes to throw in the occasional “CHECKIDOUD” or “LESGO”. It is as incongruous as white middle-class kids calling each other “niggah”. It’s face-smashingly annoying.

Even though the game’s soundtrack is mediocre at best, at least they didn’t change it for the Japanese market. The only thing worse than modern rock beat combos is the Japanese version of the same, a bunch of cool hip youngsters trying very hard to be urban and “street” but singing in Japanese. I may be a bit of a Victor Meldrew in my old age, but inferior copies of inferior music is much worse than inferior originals. I’m sorry otaku, however much you enjoy ironically silly Japanese music, the joy will soon fade away once it’s the only thing you hear around you all day. If it wasn’t for foreign Japanophiles Ayumi Hamazaki would have disappeared into obscurity, where she belongs…but that’s besides the point.

The DJ and BGM have been turned down, the SFX up and I am enjoying the game as it is supposed to be enjoyed: badly! Boy, those crashes are something else…


  1. The 360 version allows custom soundtracks, at the expense of crisper visuals, which may have been a better choice in your situation. I have an all-star grunge line up playlist which fits the game well. Suddenly, DJ Atomica becomes barely audible over Peal Jam's Even Flow, though I still wish he had an 'off' button for simplicities sake.

  2. I've turned off the DJ in the last two Burnout games (as I didn't buy Paradise) due to annoyance. As I recall, I also turned off the music -- EA Trax just didn't do it for me. All I needed to hear was the roar of the engine, the squeal of the tires, and the satisfying metal-on-metal screeching that accompanied what a friend of mine once termed "prom-night crashes."

    The Burnout series lost me when they chose to swap Crash Mode (vehicular carnage puzzle game) for Showtime Mode (crash anywhere anytime but who gives a goddamn).


  3. God's own language? Do you mean Aramaic or classical Hebrew? * insert comedic sound effect here*

  4. Yeah, I miss crash mode. That was awesome. I can see why they made certain decisions in Paradise and all in all they are probably good calls, but I do miss certain elements. So in the end I'm ignoring the game and just enjoying the scenery and physics.