Full disclaimer: I love the Burnout series.
In fact, if you were to ask me to rank my favorite game franchises of all time, the Burnout series would easily sit in my Top 10. So, you have to understand why I was just a little bit excited when Three Fields Entertainment — a studio filled the team behind the old Burnout titles — announced the release of Dangerous Driving for 2019.
We’ve seen past work from the studio in the form of Danger Zone 2, but that was just the crash mode from the old games without much of any substance. Dangerous Driving is that substance.
The gameplay is as fast as you’d expect for a game called Dangerous Driving
There are nine race varieties for players, including Face Off, Eliminator, Pursuit and the ever-popular Road Rage. The races span across 31 courses in seven locations based on various environments.
There are 27 cars to unlock across six vehicle classes with each having over 20 color schemes and liveries to choose from. Each car type — Base, Tuned, Advanced, and Prototype — all have different features and advantages depending on the event, but there’s nothing that allows you to really make any vehicle you own. You just know that if you pick a specific look for a vehicle, someone playing will have the same exact one.
Fast and Furious
When you get on the road, you can immediately tell that this team has worked on these types of games before.
The on-track product feels extremely polished and is a treat to control. It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not as this game is as true of an arcade driver as you’ll ever find.
The gameplay is as fast as you’d expect for a game called Dangerous Driving, and you have to do just that in order to find success. Going at speeds of over 200mph, you’ll bob and weave through various levels of traffic in order to complete a race. If you try and play it safe by staying on the right side of the road or not using your boost, you aren’t going to win a thing. One simple mistake in an event can be the difference between a medal and a restart.
There’s no multiplayer at launch, but online play is coming in the form of a free update this spring.
Races like Pursuit and Road Rage are the bread and butter of the game as they provide the most entertainment and variety like the ability to only use other cars in traffic to take down a rival.
One of the new and better gameplay features are persistent wrecks that litter the track. If you takeout vehicles in a race, the aftermath will remain for the duration of that race. This means you may find yourself creating a new obstacle course of sorts for future laps that you have to navigate and avoid.
Aesthetically, the game couldn’t look more like a Burnout game if it tried. The menus look nearly identical to Burnout 3 with sound effects that will start up that old nostalgia machine inside your head immediately.
The game runs at a smooth 60fps on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X and gives you a real sense of the speeds you are driving at. The cars look sharp, and even the damage is nice to look at while you watch the crash cam.
A Linear Experience With Missing Parts
At launch, Dangerous Driving features just one main mode — Dangerous Driving Tour. In order to partake in some of the more fun events like Road Rage or Pursuit, you have to play through some of the more uninspiring offerings like Heatwave and Shakedown.
On top of that, one-on-one races like Face Off can get pretty boring once there’s a big gap between drivers. It just makes it feel like a chore at times to get to the action you want.
I mentioned earlier that Three Fields released a game with only a Crash Mode. Unfortunately, you’re going to need to buy that game if you want the full Burnout experience as Dangerous Driving has everything but, arguably, the most popular mode.
There’s also no multiplayer to speak of at launch, but online play is coming in the form of a free update this spring. That update will include online racing as well as online Road Rage. What won’t be included in the update though is the ability for local co-op or a quick race. Instead, to play any modes offline, you have to play within the previously discussed tour mode, and unlock the mode and vehicle class you want to play.
Another small, yet aggravating omission is that of an in-game soundtrack. Rather than a listing of tracks, Dangerous Driving offers Spotify integration for players. That sounds like a great idea for smaller games like this, but it’s when you realize that you need to be a Spotify Premium member in order to utilize the feature that you start to become annoyed.
I know, I know. All of you are thinking the same thing: “Mike, you can just listen to your own music outside the game. Why does it matter?” I’ll tell you why it matters: I’m too lazy to remember to open up a music player before loading into the game, and then making sure the audio mixer settings are to my liking.
As I said at the beginning, I love the Burnout series. Dangerous Driving does a nice job to truly give that franchise a spiritual successor, and a game for all of the Burnout fans out there to enjoy. It would just be nice if there were more ways to play the different races or play everything with someone other than yourself.
A pre-release Epic Games Store code was provided by the publisher for review
Dangerous Driving does a nice job to truly give that franchise a spiritual successor, and a game for all of the Burnout fans out there to enjoy.