Whenever I look up Three Fields Entertainment, the indie studio composed of the ex-Burnout developers, I always feel like it was formed just yesterday. But in reality, Three Fields Entertainment has now been in existence for nearly three years, and in the meantime, they’ve managed to produce three brand new games. First came the rather lacklustre Dangerous Golf, then we had the low-key VR title, Lethal VR, and most recently, just over a week ago, Three Fields Entertainment has released a title which is meant to serve as the spiritual successor to Burnout’s crash mode, Danger Zone.
Danger Zone, just like the previously released Dangerous Golf, is a simple arcade game, which is based around a straightforward high-score system. And each and every level follows the same exact structure, which will remind many of the previously mentioned Crash Mode, from the Burnout series, which many remember fondly to this day, despite the fact that Burnout 3: Takedown, has been released nearly 14 years ago.
All in-game levels, within the digital confines of Danger Zone, are situated within a computer simulation. All tracks are simple platforms hanging over a laser grid, which decimates everything which manages to touch it, and all the NPC controlled vehicles, materialize out of blue barriers. And if one were to compare Danger Zone, to the previously mentioned Crash Mode, he/she would instantly take notice of the fact that while Danger Zone features much more variety, than the now archaic Crash Mode, it is simply not as satisfying. And this is because the visual façade of the computer simulation, creates a disconnect between the player, and the carnage which is taking place on-screen.
Initially the sound of explosions, and metal crushing under intense pressure is satisfying, but once the smoke settles down, and the score counting comes to a close, all that’s left is an artificial platform with a rather unimpressive pile up, stacked up on top of it. And as the player progresses from one level to another, he/she starts to realize that Danger Zone is not as satisfying as it has initially appeared to be.
The substance of Burnout’s Crash Mode, laid within in its setting complemented the action which was taking place on the screen, right in front of the player. In Danger Zone, when one hits a bus, it stays static as the player vehicles bounces off like a ping-pong ball either into another vehicle, or the digital void. And once one starts taking on more complex levels, he/she will realize how much negative impact the setting of Danger Zone has on the enjoyment of the title.
In Burnout 3: Take Down, one could spectate a scene that could be described as true carnage, as fuel tankers, eighteen wheelers, sports cars, and other on road vehicles, were interacting with each other, within the true to life environments. Eighteen wheelers could form a barricade in the middle of the road, and the approaching tankers would propel them across the road on impact, creating a death machine which would obliterate everything within its reach. Whereas as in Danger Zone, one can hit a bus, which will stay static, and might just be moved an inch by other vehicles, as long as it hasn’t fallen from the platform.
In short, Danger Zone, is simply not nearly as enjoyable as it should be, and it suffers from the same issues as the previously mentioned Dangerous Golf. But the difference between the two is that Dangerous Golf felt like a fully-fledged title, whereas Danger Zone, due to its visual façade, and rather unimpressive structure, feels like a tech demo which one would create in order to pitch a much broader project to investors.
Danger Zone, is in fact more like a framework upon which an actual title could be built. It resembles, and plays just like the initial demo of Super Hot. But Super Hot, even in its infancy, was a title with personality, which later on carried to the final release. And the said personality, is what Danger Zone actually lacks. It lacks direction, and any form of substance, and therefore it is hard to get invested into it, even after hours of play time. In fact the more time one spends with the title, the more bare-bones it seems, as it even lacks the basic settings, such as sound options, or gamma slider. And the only truly positive thing that can be said about the title, is the fact that it works, but in the world, where anybody can create an indie studio and craft masterpieces such as Hotline Miami, or Everybody Has Gone to The Rapture, a working title is simply not enough.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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