At its best, Criterion’s Burnout 3 was the most satisfying game of bumper cars ever. The 2004 title
delivered heart-pounding, adrenaline-fueled races, and featured an intricately designed crash mode that
turned your car into a missile, and the objective was to do as much damage as possible.
The founders of Criterion left in 2014 and founded Three Fields Entertainment to go back to their roots,
as independent game developers. Their third game, Danger Zone 2, is an involved Crash Mode that felt like a faithful callback to Burnout 3. Dangerous Driving (or as it is written: Dangerous Dr1v1ng) gives you the satisfying racing action that you have been waiting for since 2004’s Burnout3.
Ramming into your opponents with the simple, intuitive, responsive controls feels and sounds satisfying.
Earn boost by driving into oncoming traffic, drifting around corners, or the fastest, most satisfying way by taking down a rival. Taking down rivals is most easily done by boosting into them. This not only
completely fills your boost bar, it increases it up to three times.
The game’s single player breaks down into nine main events: Race, Road Rage, Pursuit, Shakedown,
Heatwave, Eliminator, Face Off, Survival, and Grand Prix (GP). Each of these different types of events are spread out across six different classes of car: Sedan, SUV, Coupe, Supercar, Hypercar, and Formula
DD. Based on goals for each event, players can earn a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum medal. Bronze medals will unlock events, and gold will unlock new cars. Races and GP are fairly self-explanatory. Go fast, get a boost, wreck your opponents, get first for Gold or points. Road Rage events are won by wrecking as many rivals as possible in a set amount of time,
Pursuit is similar, where you’re the police trying to bring them in! Heatwave events are unique in that they are designed around boosting. If you burn all your boost, the boost bar refills and your car goes 2mph
faster; boost chains are called a “heatwave.” The last place is eliminated in every lap of an elimination.
Face Off is a one-on-one race to win your opponent’s car. Shakedown and Survival are both time
attacks with no other rivals, where Survival ends after wrecking once.
Whenever a player or a rival crashes, the wreck persists on the road. This makes Elimination matches specifically quite harrowing. It forces you to play better, and strategize when to take down opponents, or you will later crash into them…or yourself! This design choice adds a level of difficulty that cannot be
turned off, and could feasibly be a turnoff for new players who will invariably make a lot of mistakes.
Dangerous Driving runs on the Unreal 4 engine. The result is an absolutely gorgeous looking game. The sun realistically reflects off of burning asphalt, serene mountains, and glittering puddles. Tracks are rendered with gloriously high fidelity and just from looking at the game, you would not know that it had a development team of seven people.
Hearing the engine rev to a high RPM is always followed by a satisfying click or clunk as the clutch opened and gear shifted. One of the most amazing sound design choices was the realistic acoustics of driving in a tunnel. Car noises echo off of walls and that echo immediately ceases upon exiting the tunnel.
When starting the game, there is a catchy tune that plays, but after that, the game’s noises are not paired with any music. The developers’ explanation is that music choice is a very personal thing, and they thought it best to instead include functionality with Spotify (and their recommended playlist) in lieu of including music in the game. It sounds like their roundabout way of saying that they’re a small indie studio, and could not afford a soundtrack full of licensed music. While not a dealbreaker, it can be noticeable, especially if you do not have a Spotify account.
Dangerous Driving has a lot of variety in a relatively small package. It was released digitally for $30, and a $40 physical edition has been released which includes their previous game: Danger Zone 2. I suspect that they made that choice because Dangerous Driving does not have a dedicated crash mode as the Burnout games did, and so they wanted to give players the option to race or crash, without being forced to choose between two different games.
It does have its fair share of bugs, but the developers are working diligently to work those out, while also working tirelessly to bring online multiplayer to the game, too (it will be released as free DLC). If you are willing to be patient while an independent developer polishes this rough diamond, then this game is definitely worth the purchase.