I love watching Formula 1. I really enjoy the technical nature of the cars, the racing, and the amazing crashes. I don’t want anyone to get seriously hurt, but I find the spectacle of a high-speed crash something to behold. These incidents have become even more impressive as time has gone on thanks to the improvement in technology. Cars are faster and, maybe, more importantly, the coverage is better with high-definition cameras (even UHD now) and slow-motion footage. You can now watch wheels fly and bits of carbon soar through the air in what looks like an amazing ballet of carnage. My love for these crashes led me to the Burnout franchise that made video game car crashes an art form. When Electronic Arts bought up Criterion, the series started to dry up, and since Burnout Paradise, a decade ago, the franchise has been dormant. A few years ago, some of the creative minds behind the Burnout series created a new studio, Three Fields Entertainment.
Their latest game is Danger Zone 2and it’s very much like Burnout’s Crash Mode. You drive into a junction and try and create as much chaos as possible. The more carnage you cause, the higher the medal you will be rewarded. You can also unlock a smashbreaker (clearly not the crashbreaker from Burnout for any of EA’s lawyers who happen to be reading this) which will allow you to blow up your vehicle, causing more damage to anything around you as well as allowing you to manoeuvre your vehicle a little more. One of the reasons you may wish to move your car post-crash is that there is an array of pick-ups to collect in the junction; these could be cash bonuses or extra smashbreakers.
How good these crashes are, obviously depends on the physics employed and the game engine. Three Fields Entertainment has chosen to use Unreal Engine 4, yet I don’t think they have spent much time optimising it. The framerate can chug a little, and there are some glitches like cars not behaving like they should. You can ‘check’ cars that are going in the same direction as you (like in the later Burnout games) and 95% of the time this works fine. I have had times, though, where I go to check a car, and it stops my vehicle dead in its tracks. The game doesn’t say I’ve crashed, and it allows me to carry on, but you lose all your momentum. I’ve also had other glitches like not being able to move my vehicle after a smashbreaker, a lorry spinning off like it’s a twig rather than a several ton hunk of metal, and even a car that I drove straight through as though it was just a mirage.
Despite these glitches, when the game works well, it’s quite fun. The carnage you create can be epic. There is a great puzzle element to the game as you try to figure out the most effective way to collect the pick-ups as well as where to position your car to cause the most damage. The level design, vehicles, and setup are all well done. It’s just a shame that the game is bogged down by technical glitches. There also isn’t that much content on offer, but at this price point, you won’t feel like you have been ripped off. I still have hope for Three Fields Entertainment’s next title, Dangerous Driving, but they do need to up their game rather than just relying on past glories.