FYIG set out to create the biggest car crashes possible in the new game from Three Fields Entertainment. Find out what we thought about Danger Zone right here!
|Release Date||May 30, 2017|
|Developer||Three Fields Entertainment|
|ESRB Rating||Everyone 10+|
The Burnout series is one of my all-time favourite series. I still have fond memories of getting my first platinum trophy in Burnout Paradise in 2009. So, what does Burnout have to do with a Danger Zone review? Well, Three Fields Entertainment is comprised of former Criterion developers who worked on the Burnout series. They set out to make Danger Zone a spiritual successor to the popular Crash Mode in early Burnout games. The point of that mode was exactly that, create the biggest crash possible in one run. It sounds simple, but it’s actually a very strategic process.
Danger Zone keeps things simple which ends up being one of its biggest downfalls. The game is set in a holographic testing area. Your goal is to ram an unmanned test car into simulated traffic patterns. The car is equipped with one Smashbreaker (a bomb that creates a bigger explosion) that can be triggered when a pre-determined amount of cars are destroyed. There are other Smashbreaker icons that you can collect throughout each course as well as monetary bonuses which will increase your score (collect them all and you get an even bigger bonus). The goal is to cause as much monetary damage as possible with the amount of traffic available to crash into.
The base experience in Danger Zone is basically what you remember from Crash Mode in those older Burnout games. The crashes and explosions are beautifully rendered and look about how you would expect them to on the PS4. I still couldn’t help but shake the feeling that this game just doesn’t have much personality. It feels like more of a tech demo than an actual game. The environments are even less detailed than the developer’s previous game, Dangerous Golf.
The fact of the matter is that you’re going to see the same backdrop the entire game. Danger Zone doesn’t even have music which makes it feel even more empty than it already did (Where’s the Kenny Loggins?). It’s almost eerie. I know that this was probably an artistic touch to make the crashes seem that much more impactful if they’re the only sounds that you hear. Having some different settings would have gone a long way to making this game a little bit more aesthetically pleasing.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, there’s a steady difficulty curve as you go through the stages. Each stage has a bronze, silver, and gold medal and you have to obtain a medal to move on to the next level. There are worldwide leaderboards that rank you among the world’s best and tell you how many attempts it took to get that record. The problem that I had is that there is way too much precision needed for some of the later levels and it takes a lot of the fun of playing this game away. I don’t want to replay the same level a hundred times trying to perfect every little movement.
Much of the frustration of playing this game is in the fact that things just don’t happen quite like they should all of the time. Cars sometimes don’t swerve or react the way they should which leads to a botched run and makes a replay necessary. This is especially annoying in the multi-tiered levels that require near pinpoint accuracy to complete. Sometimes, I hit the Smashbreaker button and my car just kind of died before I could even get any momentum going. The lack of control during a Smashbreaker wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t need it as much as you do. This is the central mechanic of the game and it just doesn’t give you the precise control that you require to collect other Smashbreakers and bonus cash icons.
The biggest issue that I had was the scoring system which weighs vehicles caught in a Smashbreaker explosion higher than total vehicles impacted. So you could hit a ton of vehicles and still have to replay the level because you used the Smashbreaker at the incorrect time. It’s a puzzling choice that they went with, to say the least.
Danger Zone was a good concept that was poorly executed. It’s a cheap game coming in at $13 US and for that reason, it’s not surprising that this game left a lot to be desired. I enjoyed playing it for what it was, but it’s not something I’m really going to go back to after the initial playthrough. There are only 20 levels in the entire game and you can play through the whole thing in a matter of 3-5 hours. I really think this would have been a perfect Nintendo Switch game and I’m sure that if Three Fields Entertainment had the resources, they would have put it on there. Right now, it’s only available on PC and PS4. I really want to recommend this game because I know how passionate that development team is, but I just can’t in this state. It doesn’t really offer enough value to be worth a purchase to me.
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG for review purposes*