Developer, Publisher: Three Fields Entertainment
Released: July 13th, 2018; Reviewed on: PC
Testing Specifications: Core i5-6500, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1070
Few racing games allow players to freely crash through traffic, but to fill that niche comes Danger Zone 2 from Three Fields Entertainment. The second iteration of the follow-up to the Crash Mode introduced in Burnout Revenge expands in a few key areas to create a far more engaging experience and introduces much sought-after diversity. At its core, the purpose of Danger Zone 2 is executed well and there’s plenty of thrills to find in smashing through loads of traffic, although not all of its ideas live up to full potential.
In replicating the crash mode from Burnout Revenge, Danger Zone 2 excels as a standalone game, with mechanics that are instantly familiar if you’ve also played the original title. The main objective is to cause as much damage to traffic as possible, both on the run up section of the road, and final sequence labelled danger zone. At the end of the track, earning a smashbreaker token allows you to trigger an explosion on your vehicle to score the most carnage points. It is inherently fun to smash through everything on the way, only to cause the biggest crash possible in the end zone, and that’s where Danger Zone 2 really excels.
Improving on its predecessor, Danger Zone 2 brings the racing out from warehouses and into the bright streets and highways of Europe and the United States. Giving players 26 distinct tracks and 8 vehicles, the experience is diverse and benefits from constantly changing rides and locations, even if gameplay never gravitates beyond its central smashing idea. Roads are split between 4 regions across the game’s short career, which doesn’t outstay its welcome long, but offers a lot of replayability if you’re the type to compete with friends for highest score through online leaderboards. Once it’s done, there isn’t much else to do, however, and if like me you couldn’t care for accomplishing platinum on every level, Danger Zone 2 will be done rather quickly. After the first region even, you’d have seen everything the game has to offer in terms of its mechanics, but it never tries to be anything that it wasn’t intended to show.
Speaking of showing, the vehicles are your main tools of destruction here, triggered to explode once you’ve reached the titular danger zone of a level to cause as large a pile up of traffic as possible. Cars are fairly standard, but a few oddballs are available in the form of a formula racer and a hulking mass of a truck that sends everything around it flying, but otherwise it is a suite of passenger vehicles and supercars. They don’t all feel distinct from each other, but there is noticeable difference between a fast hypercar and the smashing truck. Danger Zone 2 definitely succeeds in giving you a garage of toys to play with, which will inevitably be blown up into a group of traffic.
Although Danger Zone 2 excels at its strongest points, it unfortunately hits some pitfalls along the way, some of which tend to detract from the experience. For a game that’s all about crashing into traffic, there are surprisingly many ways it will launch you into a fail state. Apart from driving the only truck, all other vehicles tend to crash out way more often than I’d like and force me to restart levels over and over. Hit anything larger than your car from behind, and you instantly crash, which isn’t helping when my objective is to hit a certain number of buses or trailers. Trying to push for precise strikes takes away from the experience that’s designed to allow causing as much damage as possible, where you often have to slow down to a snail pace in the aim to hit one particular spot. It can be especially infuriating when I’m asked to hit a bus as part of my side objective necessary to get extra money in completing a level, and hitting it just a little bit towards its front will fail me. But hitting its side right in the middle works out perfectly At these times Danger Zone 2 tries to push for some realism, which completely goes against its main design idea. Similarly, you immediately fail coming off the road even a little bit, which tends to happen often when clipping into traffic at a wrong angle and crashing through side barriers. If it is a limitation of graphical or game design forcing you to stay on the road at all times, removing the ability to crash through barriers entirely would have actually improved things.
On each stage, Danger Zone 2 gives you a specific challenge to accomplish, which usually ties into the nature of its track build or the traffic. These usually involve hitting something specific, or crashing into a certain amount of traffic cars, but add a layer of extra challenge. Apart from some instances I’ve just mentioned above, they tend to break the racing monotony pretty well, and serve as extra rewards upon completing the level. Sometimes, the challenges are all you’ll be relying on to pass a level at least on bronze, but players keen enough to learn the ins and outs of the game won’t have trouble acquiring points elsewhere. Your biggest reward comes from either causing a massive crash using Smash Breaker or grabbing all the tokens at the end of each level, as you steer the car that’s just exploded into more traffic. These come with their own downsides, but there’s a fair bit of challenge in trying to nail a perfect score.
Smash Breaker, for instance, is given after hitting a certain number of traffic cars, but when it involves hitting every single ride along your way, retries tend to come again and again. If you managed to miss both that, and one token at the end of the danger zone, you’re out of luck to cause vehicle carnage by a big explosion, and have to restart the level again. Tokens meanwhile are usually positioned in the oncoming traffic, hitting which before you’ve detonated will cause an immediate fail state. You need everything you can get in obtaining a perfect score, and while the physics drawbacks of Danger Zone 2 don’t completely take away from the experience, expect to restart its levels quite a bit.
The thing to look out for when purchasing Danger Zone 2 is that it isn’t the typical racing game. Your objective always remains the same apart from few time trial events, which is to cause as much carnage as possible in the danger zone section. The run up and it’s challenges only serve to augment the final goal and provide some sort of variety, but otherwise the experience remains the same. What is on offer here is often fun, and those chasing after perfect scores will find a lot of replayability hidden. Ultimately though, the game never tries to be anything beyond a replica of the Crash Mode found in Burnout series, which is fine by itself as the aforementioned franchise hasn’t dropped a title in a decade. To enjoy Danger Zone 2, you really need to be a specific kind of fan, one that enjoyed the previous title and the mechanic in Burnout that inspired it.
If you enjoyed Danger Zone, there’s a lot to like in the improvements its sequel brings along. From wide open highways to a diverse selection of cars, Danger Zone 2 offers an excellent take on the beloved Burnout’s Crash mode. The game unfortunately tends to lack polish in many areas, and can be frustrating, but despite its flaws, its main concept is still well executed. Danger Zone 2 isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t a usual racing game to begin with, so only a niche audience can fully enjoy it. If you loved the original, but wanted improvement, you’ll absolutely love Danger Zone 2 and will find it very replayable when chasing that perfect score. Everyone else will find the game lacking in broader scope, and it never intends to move beyond replicating Burnout’s Crash Mode.