Three Fields Entertainment have quite a history when it comes to arcade style driving games as these are the guys responsible for many of the wonderful memories you may have from playing the classic Burnout franchise. Having broke away from Criterion Games a few years ago, this small independent team of developers have created smaller scale games, with a smaller budget, but with pretty big ambitions and a clear vision of the direction they want to go in. Having released Danger Zone in 2017 to a fairly mixed reception due to its limited tech and gameplay, they have learnt, evolved and created Danger Zone 2, promising multiple improvements across the board.
For anyone that doesn’t know, Danger Zone was simply the popular crash mode from the early Burnout games, packaged up and put in to its own game. It was fairly mediocre in every way, lacking polish and lasting appeal, but all of that seems to have been addressed in this sequel. Danger Zone 2 has been moved out in to the open road, away from the test centres of the first game and adds a nifty little build up feature, which involves players completing objectives while racing at high speed before eventually getting to the all important crash zone. Once players reach their destination, the main objective of the crash zone is to detonate your car and cause a huge crash along the freeway, trying to increase the damage cost as much as possible.
The bigger the crash the higher the damage cost goes up, increasing your score which determines which medal you achieve from each level, it’s that simple. There are additional detonator pick ups that can be acquired in the crash zone which offers the player multiple detonations to increase the damage cost and there are also money tokens that can boost it too. While the crash zone sections are fun and chaotic, it’s in the initial build up to getting to these zones that offered the most fun and is so reminiscent for those closed track Burnout games that it had me pining for more of the same. These sections don’t last too long before getting to the crash zone but they’re so much fun, with their objectives ranging from smashing 20 limos, 15 taxis or chaining multiple boosts together in order to gain a bonus at the crash zone.
Gameplay in Danger Zone 2, while not perfect, is fun but basic. The car can feel a little too slippery at times and almost looks like it’s floating a little, rather than gripped firmly to the road. Despite this though, it still remains fun to play, there is still some fine tuning needed for the mechanics themselves but gameplay still isn’t too bad and it’s fun to play while being incredibly fast and frantic. Manoeuvring the car once it’s been detonated at the crash zone is also fun and works pretty well. There is an element of strategy involved once in the crash zone determines whether players are able to collect all the bonuses within the area. Danger Zone 2 doesn’t offer the deepest of gameplay experiences, but what it does offer is fun, still not perfect mechanics wise but fun all the same.
Danger Zone 2 is a big upgrade when compared to the original in terms of its visuals. There’s nothing spectacular to its style and it isn’t anything fancy looking like you’d find in AAA racing games, no where near, but it’s sharp and achieves the look it’s aiming for, an authentic arcade racer visual style, again, reminiscent of the classic Burnout games. Explosions and destruction within the crash zone are much more improved and the damage that they create is more detailed than before. Crashes caused on various highways and junctions are a lot more convincing, with cars smashing, flipping and flying through the air in an exaggerated but satisfying manner. It is worth noting that on the Xbox One X version there are two options to choose from, a quality option which gives the game a 4K resolution or the performance mode that offers a very stable 60fps, which is the best way to experience Danger Zone 2 in my opinion.
There is certainly a lot to like in Danger Zone 2 and despite its simplistic approach, it offers an appetite teaser for what is to come with the short bursts of fast paced racing style action before getting to each crash zone. That little tease is in relation to the up and coming release from Three Fields Entertainment, called Dangerous Driving, a spiritual successor to those classic Burnout games that we have all been yearning for over the last decade. The gameplay needs fine tuning but as long as they stay faithful to their roots, we could be in for a real treat later this year. It isn’t a very long game but there is a reason to jump back in after completion to try and better previous scores. Danger Zone 2 isn’t perfect and its gameplay can have a few frustrating moments, but it’s fast, fun and frantic and most definitely an improvement over the original.