Burnout 3: Takedown has to be one of my favorite games of all time. It’s difficult for me to think of another game which made such an impression on me so quickly — at the very least, in a genre that I don’t typically dip my toes in to very often.
Unfortunately, as time has worn on, there just hasn’t been much for me on subsequent platforms. The Xbox 360 had Burnout Paradise, which threw an open-world into the mix, but came out at a time when I hadn’t yet joined the HD generation of televisions. This made some aspects of playing it a bit more difficult, and so I only played the demo and wound up not really coming back around to it. Unfortunately, that would be the end of it — Electronic Arts’ acquisition of Criterion led to the team being drafted into creating more Need for Speed games rather than Burnout, and so a franchise I’d discovered suddenly was ceased just as quickly.
But once I discovered through Daniel “DJ Slope” Ibbertson’s “The Complete History of Burnout“ that key members of Criterion responsible for Burnout had not only departed the company and regrouped under the new banner of Three Fields Entertainment, but were working on something of a spiritual successor, I was completely on board. I knew then I just had to try their latest creation, Danger Zone, which was only days away from when I watched that video.
So here’s the thing about Danger Zone: It is far from a complete Burnout experience. There is no racing, there are no takedowns, no road rage or multiplayer or anything of that sort; there is only a replica of the Crash mode. Crash mode is Danger Zone, and Danger Zone is Crash mode; that’s all there is to it.
What’s more, what you’ll find here is a very much more raw version of the experience. There are no cities, there is no music blaring on the radio, and you don’t even get to pick from an assortment of sleek sports cars. What you’re given is a test facility that looks like something from The Incredible Crash Dummies, updated for the 21st century with a sort of holographic environment going on as you basically drive your one and only car into traffic, trying to cause as much damage as possible.
And oh, the damage you will cause! You’ll generally find yourself driving into facsimiles of intersections, traffic and all, from a variety of different angles and directions. Sometimes you’ll fly off a ramp, sometimes you’ll just have to dodge other cars to make it to the ideal point of impact. Once things get nuts, you’ll have one
Crashbreaker Smashbreaker to use to detonate your car, giving you a bit more control as you try to guide it towards more vehicles or icons placed around the course to give you added monetary bonuses towards your score or further Smashbreakers.
To proceed to the next course, you’ll first have to rack up enough damage, as measured in dollars. This can not only be tricky, but seeing how much the guys on top of the leaderboards have done will make you question how such a feat is even possible. In any case, the replay value is high, as you may need to replay some courses not only to proceed, but just because you’ll want to experiment with the best way to max out your bill. Just make sure you don’t fall off the road, as a new wrinkle has been added here that ends the simulation if you do.
That’s pretty much all there is, and arguably all there needs to be.
I’m not going to lie: Some people who love Burnout are probably going to be disappointed by how stripped down this game is by comparison to Criterion’s classics. But for me, personally? I kind of dig it. As I said, it’s like a raw, almost no-frills version of what I enjoyed from that one particular mode, and it’s a good way of relieving some stress to boot (and minus any lingering guilt Burnout might have given you over pointlessly killing civilians. But that was just a game, and this is just a game, but this is only a simulation… but in a way, aren’t all games simulation? Oh, now I’ve gone cross-eyed).
There isn’t a whole lot here in terms of variety, but what is here is really quite good — it looks good and plays good. There’s also the whole “beggars can’t be choosers” aspect, but I really feel like this scratches the itch I’ve had for a while now with regards to missing Burnout‘s Crash mode. I just hope they might later not only release Danger Zone for the Xbox One (Burnout 3 was better on Xbox), but maybe another game that can replicate the sensation of my other favorite mode from that game: Takedown.
If you’re like me and miss Burnout, then this is definitely the game you want to support.
Danger Zone was released for the PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 at a price of $17.49/$13.99, respectively.
A review code was provided by Three Fields Entertainment.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.