We might not be getting another Burnout game but at least the former development team are still able to tease the possibility by throwing us one of the best things about the series – the crash mode. Danger Zone comes from Three Fields Entertainment, whose recent releases have been the crazy Dangerous Golf and the fun Lethal VR, and is all about simulating high speed explosive crashes and racking up the insurance payouts. It’s a game mode that’s always felt as if it should be its own game, so now it’s here, is it everything it should be?
There’s something brilliantly simple about Danger Zone – it’s a no frills offering, much like Lethal VR. No music, no fancy intro, just straight into a menu screen that wants you to pick the training mode or test arenas. Whilst the training is comprehensive, there’s a feeling here that the development team are expecting you’ve bought into this because you’re a Burnout fan, and if you are you’re probably going to be jumping into the crash scenarios immediately. Load the level and watch it constructed in a VR style environment in front of you, hit the gas and plough into every vehicle you can see to cause as much damage as possible. Destroy enough to fill the crash-for-cash-0-meter and you’ll open the next junction to cause chaos in.
Helping you to build big scores are a couple of useful mechanics. Firstly there’s the crash breaker – you start with a countdown telling you how many smashed vehicles you need to hit before you can trigger an almighty explosion that throws your car in the air and allows you to use aftertouch to move against the laws of physics. Bonus crash breakers are available if you drive or fly through them giving the potential to repeatedly explode and move around the junction to trigger larger pile ups. There are also extra cash pickups to add to your score, ranging from bronze to gold, with the twist being that gold only becomes visible once you’ve snagged all other tokens. Get them all, and in sequence, and there’s a massive Grand Slam payout to be had.
Danger Zone’s heart is competitive scoring against the entire world, your friends, or even your nearby gamers, depending on which filter you use. A minimum of bronze is needed to get to the next level, and as you progress through the tiers the score requirement increases quite dramatically. However, each junction is a puzzle that can be solved by looking at the placement of the pickups, and paying attention to the sometimes cryptic names and signs present whilst you’re getting ready. Experimentation with trajectories and impact points is key to making it through, and knowing when to trigger the crash breaker becomes a real skill rather than just turning your car into a ball of flames.
It’s not like there’s a huge amount to be said about Danger Zone – it does exactly what you expect, and does it well. Creating carnage is always rewarding, and figuring out the best way of getting the higher scores becomes quite addictive. Add in competition with your friends and this is a game that absolutely insists on one more go. It’s not a long game, but there is replay value in going for the higher medals, and it’s a budget price at only £9.99 (with £1 off if you’re a PS+ member during its launch). If you’re looking for a fix to scratch that Burnout craving then this is the game for you. If you’ve never had the pleasure of smashing into buses and tankers at high speed, then maybe you should give this a try.