Burning Out of the Noughties with Dangerous Dr1v1ng
Shiny Red Car Five!
BY ROBIN BATES
PC Epic Games store – $26.99/£22.49
PS4/XBox One – $29.99/£24.99 digitally
Physical release – $39.99 US/$49.99 CAD/UK £29.99/Europe €39.99/Australia $69.95 AUD
A blast from the past with shiny new graphics. Pared back but a joy to return to the takedown-centric arcade racing action.
Dangerous Driving has one tyre firmly planted in the past. A Burnout 3 flavoured past of driving fast, driving aggressively, and of slow moving tool tips that take forever to scroll into view.
With menus, fonts, and progression lifted directly from Burnout 2: Point of Impact, menu overlays and event types from Burnout 3: Takedown you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a direct sequel, yet it abandons a lot of the progress made across Burnout’s sequels; Burnout Revenge, Burnout Dominator, and of course the final game in the series – Burnout Paradise.
This is unsurprising, as Three Fields Entertainment is made up of the creative team behind Burnout.
Dangerous Dr1v1ng also assumes that you’ve played Burnout and know what you’re doing…
Gotta Go Fast: Paradise
The engine of a glorious arcade racer runs under the hood of this car. Choose a class, choose an event and car, tweaking the paintjob if you wish, and away you go.
3, 2, 1, go!
Pure, joyous, arcade handling is at your control. Floor the pedal, drift around corners, and drive dangerously to build your boost meter.
Press and hold X/B depend on your console of choice and burn through that boost meter.
Taking down rivals adds additional segments to your boost meter enabling you to drive harder, faster, and more dangerously, keeping that meter topped up and you ahead of the pack.
When Dangerous Driving shines it’s an utterly glorious experience. Weaving through traffic sunlight glinting off the hood of your tuned coupe, sliding around a corner and ramming an opponent into a barrier for a takedown, getting that crash cut scene and flooring the boost, trading paint with even more racers.
That one tyre stuck in the past however… we’ll come back to that because I’m still excited about the pure arcade thrills with scenery screaming past and finding the zone, becoming one with your car, and taking gold across 9 different game modes.
9 Modes to Burn Through
Race is your standard lap-based race against 5 opponents. Drive dangerously into oncoming traffic, have near misses, drift around corners, trade paint with opponents, and take them down to increase the size of your boost meter.
Wrecks are persistent; driving aggressively on the first lap means later laps are harder.
Heatwave – My favourite of the bunch. Which is strange because there are no takedowns. Instead you endeavor to burn through a whole boost meter in one go. Do so successfully and you are immediately granted another full boost meter to burn through. Tackling these in a tuned version of each car class, unlocked through Face Off events, and you get an extra 2kph to your top speed.
Face Off – A one on one race, generally on a point to point track. The opponent feels a little bit cheaty and you’ll only win if you take them down multiple times. Beat them to win their car.
Shakedown – One lap to beat the clock.
Eliminator – Last place each lap is eliminated.
GP – 3 races in succession. Every class ends with a GP to unlock the next class.
Survival – This one’s really fun too – a checkpoint race against the clock with no opponents and increasingly heavier traffic. One wreck and you’re out.
Pursuit – Repeatedly ram the car/s to reduce their health to zero. Wrecking them doesn’t seem to take big chunks of health off, so bumping into them time and time again is the order of the day.
Road Rage – OH BOY IT’S ROAD RAGE! Ram your opponents off the road against the clock. Score takedowns to earn a medal. The AI cars are really easy to score takedowns against, just needing a little nudge and away they go.
THERE IS NO CRASH MODE.
You’ll have to get Danger Zone. http://www.threefieldsentertainment.com/our-games/danger-zone/ and if you buy the physical version it is included.
Let’s take the race to…
The tracks are all based on US national parks, including 7 locations. Taking cues from Need for Speed they’re all open vistas, forests, and mountains rather than cities. Few of the early tracks have strong personality so memorizing the tracks is hard and there’s no mini map to help. It opens up to include islands and canyons, improving visibility and getting those brilliant SEGA style blue skies in. A total of 31 courses and 270 miles of road feature.
The various versions of the tracks can be stitched together to make some really interesting point to point races; the only stuttering to the solid 1080p 30fps on a standard PS4 comes in one of the long tunnels used to mask loading.
On that note it’s a solid 1080p, 60fps on PS4 Pro, with performance on the Xbox One 1080p, 30fps and the Xbox One X 1440p, 60FPS.
Dangerous Takedown: Revenge
The physics engine on the whole does a great job, but Dangerous Driving is a bit wonky.
The cars lack weight and occasionally like to fly off into the sky. Only once I’ve fallen through the track, breaking the game completely – the next race I wasn’t attached to the track and instead span furiously in the air, unable to start a race.
The pacing is strange; the first track you encounter, Twin Ferry Lakes (Short) being a misty run through the woods with some hard and poorly telegraphed bends.
The persistent wrecks build up and makes this one of the least fun tracks in the game. It’s not looking to ease you in gently.
Compared to the sunny, speedy Surf Side Island (Lighthouse) with its gentle curves it’s really baffling why it was chosen as the first track.
Online isn’t ready at launch, but confirmed in our interview with Creative Director Alex Ward at PAX East, it’s coming in the first month.
When it all works, which is the majority of the time, it’s a blast. It maybe needed another month in the garage to tune it up.
Viva la Vida: Takedown
Burnout 3: Takedown introduced me to so many bands, and while it turns out they were chosen last minute from a listen to ten seconds of the intro, they couldn’t have suited the game better.
Dangerous Driving has no music beyond the title page and you’ll be hearing ‘Rebel Tattoo’ an awful lot.
Spotify integration has been added. I’m not a Spotify user so signed up to premium to see how it works.
If you’re setting it up from scratch it’s a bit of a pain and Dangerous Driving does it’s usual trick of not really telling you what to do. Head to the options menu, then on a browser head to https://spotify.threefieldsentertainment.com/ and enter the access code from your console.
Then fire up the app and sling your music at the console.
Once setup it works brilliantly, with the d pad letting you skip and pause tracks.
The official Dangerous Driving playlist is a bit of a mess.
Maybe the point is to get you to choose your own playlist, like when Nintendo REALLY wanted people to put music on an SD card so made the Excite Truck soundtrack a mess.
There’s a handful of great driving tracks (hello Danger Zone and Celebrity Skin) but when Coldplay’s Viva la Vida kicked in I was done. As much as I love Massive Attack
They are a small team and there’s no Electronic Arts money for EA TRAX, but Burnout and Point of Impact had a fitting and responsive soundtrack by Stephen Root & Steve Emney. It loses a little something without it.
Fortunately the various Burnout soundtracks are available online, and if you’d rather race to a heady mix of The Spice Girls, The Greatest Showman, and Army of Lovers, now’s your chance!
Shiny Red Cars
The cars! I almost forgot the cars.
Oh the cars are shiny. 27 of them across 6 classes; Sedan, SUV, Coupe, Supercar, Hypercar, and Formula DD. Each of these come in four flavours; base, tuned, advanced, and prototype. Add in 3 cop cars and you’re set.
Your slowest car has a top speed of 197 mph, and the faster cars trade strength for speed, making them fast but easy to take down.
A press of the button cycles through paint jobs and that’s all the tinkering you’ll be doing. Which is great, just let me at the track!
DANGEROUS DRIVING CONCLUSION
When it all comes together, Dangerous Driving is an absolute joy to play. Pedal to the metal, drifting perfectly round a corner before hitting the boost, taking down an opponent and narrowly weaving through the wrecks.
It’s so close to being something truly incredible that this has been really frustrating to review. I didn’t enjoy the game until the second class unlocked and some design decisions and bugs really fight with the pick up and burn nature of the game.
You already know if you’re going to enjoy the arcade burnout action of Dangerous Driving.
Ultimately it’s a blast to play and comes in at a budget price. With a few of the bugs and irritations dealt with this could boost to a 4.
We’ll revisit when it’s been patched and online arrives. As it stands it feels like it’s arrived a little early, needing some more time in QA.
HOWEVER – if you ever enjoyed Burnout and want some fast, dangerous, fun in your life – you owe it to yourself to get Dangerous Driving. And maybe a Spotify Premium subscription…
Kudos to a team of 7 for bringing Burnout back
Dangerous Driving will be available on April 9 digitally for PC on the Epic Games store for $26.99/£22.49, and for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and XBOX ONE®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft for $29.99/£24.99 digitally. The physical version, published by Maximum Games, includes bonus game Danger Zone 2, and will be available for $39.99 US/$49.99 CAD/UK £29.99/Europe €39.99/Australia $69.95 AUD for XBOX ONE and PlayStation®4 only.
Enhanced for Xbox One X and PlayStation®4 Pro, Dangerous Driving has been rated PEGI 7 and ESRB 10+
Review code kindly provided by the Dangerous Driving team.
The Good Stuff:
- Utter arcade racing joy! Slide, boost, dodge, ram.
- Beautiful, fast, aggressive racing action.
- Spotify integration to race to your own choice of tunes.
The Bad Stuff:
- Pacing, progression, and physics can be a bit off.
- No online at launch but due in month one.
- No in game music at all – really needs Spotify to get the most from it.