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Game Info:

Dangerous Driving
Developed By: Three Fields Entertainment
Published By: Three Fields Entertainment
Released: April 9, 2019
Available On: PS4, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Racing
ESRB Rating: E10 for Everyone 10 and up: Mild Violence
Number of Players: 1 player offline; up to 6 online
Price: $29.99
(Humble Store Link)

Here it is! The Burnout-esque game we’ve all been waiting for. After Three Fields Entertainment experimented with two other vehicle-based games: Danger Zone 1 & Danger Zone 2 (both games I have reviewed on this website), they are finally ready to make the Burnout-like game, Dangerous Driving. It is wholly appropriate considering that a good amount of the Burnout dev team is Three Fields.

Danger Zone 1 & 2 took inspiration from the Burnout series' Crash mode. Dangerous Driving is instead based on the racing aspect of the aforementioned game series. The high speed, arcade-style racing returns in most of its glory! Unlike most racers, Dangerous Driving, like Burnout, encourages the player to crash into other combatant vehicles to build up that boost meter and go fast! There are nine different modes to put the pedal to the metal with multiple models such as sedans, SUVs, and formula racers.

Race is your typical game mode. Complete specific tracks within 1 to 3 laps, depending on the size. Shakedown is similar, but with there only being one lap and it must be completed before time is up. Heatwave is also similar to Race although with a special condition: the boost meter can only be activated when full. If the boost meter depletes, it starts a chain that lets you continue boosting. The more you boost without letting go or stopping, the faster you’ll go! Face-Off is a one-on-one race through a huge track. If you win, you obtain the vehicle that you raced against. Grand Prix (labeled in the game as GP) is three races in a row through three different tracks.

The more combative game modes start with Road Rage. Under the allotted time, you must crash into as many labeled vehicles as you can. Pursuit puts you under the hood of a police cruiser. You must chase down and disable the wanted vehicle or vehicles. Pursuit is probably my second favorite game mode because the wanted vehicles have health represented by blocks and you must whittle it down, block-by-block by ramming into them. It makes you feel like you’re in a boss battle, which only a select few racers have attempted. Survival is a game mode where you must drive as long as you can while reaching checkpoints. However, one crash means you’re a goner and not reaching the checkpoint in 15 to 20 seconds also means your run ends. Eliminator is five laps through a track with the vehicle in the last place is eliminated. The race continues until one racer is left.

Dangerous Driving
Highlights:

Strong Points: Multiple game modes; arcade-style racer rewards risk-taking.
Weak Points: The physics engine doesn’t exactly lend itself to racing very kindly, leading to some hilarious, although equally aggravating moments; vehicles feeling similar to one another and lack of maps can leave a repetitive single-player experience; the rubberbanding mechanics are ridiculous.
Moral Warnings: This time, you’re crashing vehicles into other drivers!

Now with a title such as Dangerous Driving, the game will, of course, reward you for driving dangerously. Driving into oncoming traffic is the most reliable yet slowest way to build up your boost meter. Other ways to build boost is to narrowly avoid pedestrian vehicles, take long drifts, catch air, or to cause rival racers to crash, also known as takedowns. Taking down enemy vehicles not only fills up your meter to full but also increases your max boost meter up to three times. Three Fields highly encourage you to ruin the other racers' day while making sure not to crash yourself. Not only does crashing make you lose distance, but too many consecutive wrecks will lower your boost meter making it harder for you to catch up. Just like a vengeful spirit after departing life, your smoldering metal casket can be used even in death to mess with other vehicles as a parting gift. Mastery of keeping your boost meter filled with the above techniques will make you an absolute menace on the roads.

The physics engine of Dangerous Driving is adopted from the previous two entries. They work well for games that were meant to cause as much damage as possible. For something that focuses a bit more on racing is when issues start to rear their ugly heads. To put it simply and kindly, Dangerous Driving is jank. It’s a good and bad thing essentially as it leads to really amusing and irritating moments. It’s funny when you see a vehicle hit the magic polygon and lose it in very aggressive action or a specific collision causes you and the other racer to soar through the sky. There were many funny moments such as me spawning in midair already spiraling out of control or even spawning in facing the wrong way. Those moments are so janky and have their exquisite charm that you can’t help but be mad at. On the contrary, colliding into seemingly nothing can be frustrating, especially when the attempt is on a Survival challenge when you’re ironically trying not to drive so dangerously or the entirety of the Formula Class challenges with it being the most inconsistent vehicle in the game.

Other annoying moments with the mechanics are when the game can’t decide whether bumping into a pedestrian vehicle will either leave you completely totaled or left unscathed. There are moments where a love tap will put you out of commission or a head-on collision that you thought would end you right then and there would otherwise send the other car careening into the mountains with you driving away without a scratch. It’s wildly inconsistent. Speaking of inconsistent, the rubber band AI is the most insane I’ve ever seen in any racer. For those unfamiliar with “rubber band,” it's basically the better you are doing in a race, the AI will receive a boost that makes them go faster than humanly possible. This also works in reverse. They’ll either slow down enough for you that you could get 1st place in a race that made you crash every other time, or they’ll be kissing your tailpipe no matter how many times you take them all down while having a consistent boost session. I understand that it has to exist in a way for the AI to present a challenge as the AI can only do so much without making them blatantly perfect, but this is to the extreme! It ends up making many races feel more tedious than enjoyable.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 69%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7.5/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Graphics are alright and a slight improvement over Danger Zone 2 with the scenery and ground textures having a bit more detail in them. Some lighting issues do make some parts hard to see. The constant lens flare is “realistic” in a sense, but for an arcade racer, it gets annoying. Night stages look rather nice as the moonlight gives off a glow for the entire track. It’s no Forza, but it’s serviceable, on the tier of late PS3 or 360 games. Outside of the title song, the only things you’ll hear are the scraping of metal, the revving of engines, the burning of fuel, and the crunching of glass. The lack of a soundtrack was a common complaint of their previous entry—and I get it, licensing music or even commissioning music can get pricey. They did attempt to handle this complaint with Spotify integration into the game so that your favorite songs and albums can play directly from the game.

Dangerous Driving is a bit more dangerous than its predecessors. Although there are still no human models detected within the game, the implication of driving dangerously, the encouragement of reckless driving, and actively making other cars crash does make this installment a bit more violent on a hypothetical scale.

Three Fields Entertainment’s latest entry to the racing and vehicular combat genre feels like both a step up and a step down. It is also a showcase of what time and budget constraints can mean for a video game, to the point where Three Fields Entertainment opted for Epic Games Store exclusivity to recuperate from any losses (even though Danger Zone 1 & 2 were for Steam). I can see the effort behind it all—they just lack the resources to implement it in the way they envisioned. It is simplistic in many ways, from the UI/presentation (although a major step up from Danger Zone 2) to the single-player content and that many of the same issues that the previous entries had still exist in this title. The crashes themselves also do not feel as spectacular, still lacking aspects such as model deformities that were in even earlier Burnout entires. However, the sense of speed is felt better than ever from their previous attempts.

If Dangerous Driving is your entry point to see why the Burnout series is so beloved, you may end up feeling disappointed. Fans of Burnout or even the later Need for Speed entries that understand the budget limitations of Dangerous Driving might end up satisfied, even if the single-player experience can lead to repetitive moments and that the multiplayer isn’t all that populated. If you were someone who lived and breathed those games back in the day, this entry may leave you let down after such a build-up from the developers. I just hope that if Three Fields Entertainment makes a Dangerous Driving 2, let alone another racer that they can obtain a much larger budget for their sake.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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