Danger Zone – Review
Few franchises have aged as well as the Burnout franchise. Known for their ridiculous sensations of speed, incredible visual style, and a plethora of gameplay modes to play, the Burnout franchise was a revolutionary racing franchise that paved new roads and laid the first tire marks on them. Its legacy has carried over into Three Fields Entertainment, a new 11-person studio that consists of core members of the Burnout team. Coming hot off the release of last year’s Dangerous Golf, the teams first outing as an independent developer, the team is returning back to its roots with Danger Zone, an explosive game that harkens a back to the good old days and introduces a classic gameplay mechanic to a new audience.
Danger Zone is modeled after the “Crash Mode” of Burnout 3, released in 2004. Burnout 3 introduced many new racing mechanics, with many innovations to the genre. The biggest of them was Crash Mode, which tasked players with taking a selected vehicle and plowing it into a crowded junction, causing as much destruction as humanly possibly. The more destruction that is caused, the higher the score earned. Experienced players would experiment with different takedowns, discovering new ways to cause massive damage. Crash mode would find itself in different Burnout games, but also pave the way for inspiration in other games, such as Ridge Race Unbounded and Disney’s Split/Second.
Danger Zone exclusively focuses on the massive destruction and mechanics set in crash mode. Players are placed in a massive crash-testing me arena, where multiple scenarios are generated, and the player is set to cause extreme damage across each scenario. Returning once again is the infamous smash breaker, to which Three Fields Entertainment is known for. After destroying a number of vehicles, players detonate their car with the smash breaker. The explosion destroys anything within the vicinity and allows the player to control their car in mid-air, shifting focus to other areas in which to cause mayhem. Of course, gravity is a factor in this game, and after that initial explosion, players will settle onto the ground.
Players can collect cash coins and additional smash breakers to increase their score. This will help players “bounce” around the level, coming into direct contact with traffic and destroying more vehicles. Players are encouraged to continue trying multiple times in order to get a higher score and unlock a higher medal. Danger Zone has no single player story, no multiplayer, or any other game modes for that matter. It doesn’t even have a music soundtrack for players. It is a game squarely focused on the mechanic of smashing cars and causing destruction. While these mechanics may sound exhausted, it has proven to still be quite the thrill.
Danger Zone looks and sounds fantastic. Every level presents a new challenge, with satisfying conclusions upon each successful crash. There is a strong sense of weight to your vehicle, giving players the impression that they are driving the equivalent of a wrecking ball. Explosions are bright and powerful, and pushing your car into oncoming traffic provides a thrilling sensation. The traffic will also respond to your position, often losing control or colliding with other vehicles, furthering your score for the level.
Danger Zone does have a few drawbacks. The game is only 30 levels long. Each level has its own unique challenge and will allow players to gain platinum medals and ascend the leaderboards. However, outside of that, there are literally no other game modes, not even multiplayer. There is a good chance that, should Danger Zone be successful, the team will provide additional content down the line. The game takes place in a massive simulation and other levels that involve trains, planes, subways, and cities could be implemented to provide a new challenge for the player. There is no music for the game either, though, that could be remedied through the PlayStation Spotify app.
Danger Zone is a short but thrillingly explosive experience! Its gameplay mechanic remains incredibly fun, and its challenges are quite interesting to tackle. Danger Zone is also a break of fresh air amongst the destruction and racing themes of games. EA has its hands full, with Star Wars Battlefront IO and the icing of Mass Effet. It doesn’t look like burnout is returning from Ea anytime soon. This makes Danger Zone all the more special, as it returns the game mechanic to its roots but also embraces it for a new generation of gamers. Between Danger Zone and Dangerous Golf, Three Fields Entertainment is looking to be the most explosive independent studio around.