Dangerous Driving (PlayStation 4) Review

By Tomas Barry 11.04.2019

Review for Dangerous Driving on PlayStation 4

With no sign of any official follow-up to 2008's Burnout Paradise, many developers have attempted to plug the void. Criterion, and members of that team who were eventually re-housed under Ghost Games, have been at the helm for several entries in the Need for Speed series. This meant it adopted some of Burnout's characteristics, most notably the open-world formula seen in Burnout Paradise. Elsewhere, 2017 saw the release of FlatOut 4: Total Insanity, which shares some arcade-derived similarities, but ultimately taps into its own heritage. For fans of the original series, then, it's clear that the only hope of a next-generation successor lies with Three Fields Entertainment. This independent UK studio, established in 2014, is comprised of the creative leads behind Burnout. Better yet, they've already proved they're capable of this feat, via the Danger Zone series, which re-engineers the hugely popular crash-mode seen in the original Burnout series.

For their new IP, Dangerous Driving, it seems the main objective was to reproduce the experience found in the original and second entry in the Burnout franchise. Many people cite Burnout 3 Takedown, Revenge and the heavily re-innovated Paradise, as the best in the franchise. However, many would also disagree. The original Burnout, though less varied and intense, struck up a very pleasing balance between arcade racing mechanics and the sadistic pleasures of risky driving, near misses and crashes. Burnout 2: Point of Impact had more attitude and a more playful side. It saw the first introduction of the crash mode, as well as pursuit mode, which had players chasing down and wrecking criminals, using flashy police vehicles. This all sounds quite chaotic, but the sequel also retained an emphasis on careful car control, which arguably receded in the series from there on out. Dangerous Driving definitely seems to imitate these two early entries, rather than the later ones.

At first glance, it's easy to mistake Dangerous Driving for an official Burnout title. From a visual standpoint, it looks like a remaster of those aforementioned entries, modernised for current hardware. Its clean and vibrant aesthetic qualities are very pleasing on the eye, and it runs at a silky smooth frame-rate, albeit with some blips. The HUD also bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the original entries. Those features, alone, provide plenty of charm. However, developers should always be mindful of depending too much on nostalgia and reproduction. Although there's no doubt that Three Fields Entertainment's new project will bring a smile to the faces of Burnout fans everywhere, does that smile last? And does it evolve into a real appreciation for something new and modern?

The short answer, sadly, is no. While the Danger Zone series succeeds partly because it has such a specific focus on reproducing the crash mode, Dangerous Driving attempts to spread the wealth far more, much to its detriment. It's comprised of one single mode, a single-player campaign, titled the Dangerous Driving Tour. Sadly, this is nowhere near as fleshed out and varied as the single-player content seen in Burnout 1 and 2. The chief issue is that there's a great deal of reproduction, on top of that over-reliance on nostalgia. There are nine modes to choose from - Race, Heatwave, Face Off, Shakedown, Eliminator, GP, Survival, Pursuit and Road Rage. However, there's little to no variance in the way players end up cycling through a pattern of these modes incessantly. Road Rage is the best experience on offer, but it features too infrequently.

Screenshot for Dangerous Driving on PlayStation 4

This annoyance is worsened because players have to rigidly work their way through the six car classes. That's a very strange decision considering many Burnout titles have handed players more freedom to pick and choose which vehicles they hop into, from event to event. In addition, although Dangerous Driving features some nice environments, the campaign forces players to run through them in tedious fashion. There's simply not enough track variance, and because the car classes and pattern of modes is so rigid, the balance and spontaneity of the experience is lacklustre. That's not to say the title doesn't have its moments, but it's no way near as fluid and fast-burst as it ought to be for a modern arcade racer. Some components ought to have evolved, but haven't.

In terms of handling, it's nearly identical to that seen in Burnout and Burnout 2: Point of Impact. However, it would have been nice if the drift mechanics had added depth. On top of this, the twitchy behaviour of almost all cars mean it's easy to get 'glued' to a wall, especially whilst boosting. This is one domain where the fluidity needs to be improved, and replicating the original core gameplay simply isn't enough. Another area where this is also the case is the crash physics. Car damage seems a little formulaic, and it's a real shame that cars can't careen over the sides of barriers, toppling down mountains. The title also fails to linger on the cinematic, slowed down crashes with quite the same grace as later Burnout titles. This shouldn't be the case.

The final issue is simply the complete lack of any multiplayer, whether online or offline. There are online leader-boards, but that's pretty meaningless considering the lack of traditional split-screen and online multiplayer mayhem. Fortunately, Three Fields Entertainment plan to incorporate these elements after release, but it seems strange to release it into the wild in the first place, without first addressing this. Especially considering how lacking the single player content seems to be. The result is something that provides some fleeting fun, since the title does such a good job of recapturing the arcade racing mechanics seen in the original Burnout. However, it should go without saying that tapping into the Burnout lineage means that fans are expecting not just a nostalgic trip down memory lane - but something modern and fresh. Currently, Dangerous Driving doesn't accomplish this.

Screenshot for Dangerous Driving on PlayStation 4

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Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Dangerous Driving taps into fans' nostalgia for the Burnout series, but fails to maximise that potential. That's largely down the bare basic content, repetitiveness, lack of multiplayer and the odd bug. Unfortunately, the title fails to sufficiently modernise the original formula, something which would have benefited the experience significantly. It's not just the fundamentals that are lacking. The title also lacks any real soundtrack, instead offering Spotify support. While this is a nice option for those who have a suitable (or unique) playlist, it also seems like a bit of a cop-out. Since that impression bleeds into so many other domains, it's difficult to recommend Dangerous Driving in its current state, even though there aren't many crash-focused arcade racers on the market. Fans of the original series will certainly appreciate a few evenings with this, but it is no way near as repayable as anything from the actual Burnout series.

Developer

Three Fields Entertainment

Publisher

Three Fields Entertainment

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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