Dangerous Driving Review
Arcade-based racers have taken a backseat to more sim based titles as of late, but Three Fields Entertainment pays tribute to the glory days of Burnout with their spiritual successor Dangerous Driving. Though this racer’s got speed and crashes for days, the end result is a substantial downgrade.
Dangerous Driving Review
Boot this racer up, and players will see right away that there’s not a lot on tap here. The only option available for players is the Dangerous Driving Tour, which serves as a campaign mode for everything the title has to offer. Expect to work for new content though – a lone race (called “Race”) is the only option available to start, and though there are six different vehicle classes to choose from, expect to grind a fair amount with the sedans and SUV classes before moving up to the more exotic Formula DD class. This lack of freedom is a huge oversight, and though this follows a similar structure to Burnout 3: Takedown, it is taken to an extreme.
Rather, those that complete each of these modes with a Bronze or better can unlock additional races. This proves to be a bother too – players are locked to a single car (with such names as “Sedan” or “Cop SUV”), and must unlock rides like “Tuned Sedan” or “Advanced Sedan” later down the road. No stats are available for each car, and only the color of each can be adjusted. It’s perfectly fine that they couldn’t get the licenses for real world cars, but the bare amount of effort went into designing its wheels.
This could all be forgiven if the racing was up to snuff, but what is present here is a broken affair. Looking at screenshots, players might be fooled in thinking this is a new Burnout entry – the menus, UI, and overall premise are practically identical. However, once things are in motion, things quickly start to fall apart. The lack of music when racing (though there is Spotify support) is just the start – the AI likes to crash itself right out of the gate, drives erratically at any given opportunity, drives through the track into the netherworld, and zooms past you despite your best efforts, even when the player is flooring it with boost. It also has a nasty habit of freezing the screen for a split-second, as if it is loading mid-race. We reviewed this on a PlayStation 4 Pro, so the hardware is not the issue. Though boost can still be earned from driving dangerously, the tracks are poorly designed. One moment, players will be drifting along and netting a bunch of meter, and the next there is a long straightaway in a tunnel with only the wrong side of the road to get a bit of juice. They all lack personality as well – the forests and deserts just don’t stand out.
Things get that much more hairy when it comes to its crash system. It can be a crapshoot to figure out what will turn you into a smouldering wreck. A single brush against a car can cause chaos, while select items can be plowed through. It can be almost comical to see your ride hug guardrails at max speed with no damage, and then suddenly a small car puts things to a screeching halt. The fact that accidents stick on the track for additional laps is a poor design choice as well – some may like the chaos, but not implementing a system like Burnout: Revenge’s Traffic Checking makes a perfect lap an almost impossible affair. Good luck staying in the lead too – there were times where the game told us we were eight seconds ahead in first, only to drop to sixth after a single crash. There is almost no balance, and it proves to be far more frustrating than fun.
Dangerous Driving spices things up with a handful of modes, some of which are better than others. Race is your standard driving affair, with multiple laps and five opponents. Shakedown serves as a time trial for the game, while GP offers a number of tracks in succession. Nothing out of the ordinary, mind you, but they are designed how you think they should be.
Things get a little on the weird side with its additional modes. Heatwave gives players infinite boost for reaching a certain point, but the kicker is that players can’t let up or they lose it all. This particular mode feels more like a cheat code, as some tracks just can’t be navigated at top speed. Pursuit has players taking down a target car as a cop, but sometimes the enemy slows down for the heck of it. Conversely, it can also be tricky to keep pace with these targets during other times, as players are given a set amount of runway. Face Off pits players against a rival, but they tend to do their own thing and seem to get a huge head start they squander by crashing. Survival tasks players with going through a set amount of checkpoints, and manages to be a tense affair. Road Rage has players taking down a set amount of rivals in a time period, but it proves to be far too easy. Finally, Eliminator has one racer eliminated each lap.
It sounds like this provides a decent amount of variety, but things quickly get repetitive. Most races have numbers attached to them, and it ends up feeling like a laundry list of things to do. Though there are online leaderboards, there is no multiplayer play right now, both online and off. This also feels like a missed opportunity, as even local play was present in the original Burnout in 2001. Note that the development team said that online play will come to the game, but a specific date was not given.
Though Dangerous Driving attempts to tap into Burnout’s lineage, its numerous bugs and lack of polish fail to capture the spirit of its inspiration.