A spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to Burnout 3? Ta ke our money. TAKE IT !

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Justin Tow­ell

In case you’ve missed the rather awe­some news, Dan­ger­ous Driv­ing is a new Burnout in all but name, made by a small team of break­away Cri­te­rion devel­op­ers which still be­lieves in smash­ing up cars, drift­ing around long cor­ners and play­ing chicken with on­com­ing traf­fic.

From the re­spon­sive car han­dling to the star rat­ings that pop up for good drifts or catch­ing big air, al­most ev­ery­thing’s in place so you can get straight back into this ar­cade style of driv­ing game­play. And un­like Burnout Par­adise, which re­cently got an HD re­mas­ter, this isn’t open world. It’s Burnout 3- era ‘rib­bon road’ rac­ing, and a won­der­fully pure ex­pe­ri­ence.

You spend your time weav­ing through civil­ian traf­fic at ridicu­lous speeds, ram­ming ri­val rac­ers off the road and earn­ing boost by – you guessed it – driv­ing dan­ger­ously. There are eight dif­fer­ent event types, from reg­u­lar races, ‘Shake­down’ time tri­als and three-race cham­pi­onships, to face-offs with ri­vals to win their cars, and even po­lice pur­suits. Then there’s surely ev­ery­one’s per­sonal favourite: ‘Road Rage’, which sees you try­ing to take down as many op­po­nents as you can within a set time limit. And if you do crash, there’s even a slow-mo­tion but­ton to al­low for ‘af­ter­touch take­downs’, where you guide your own wrecked ve­hi­cle into the path of ap­proach­ing ri­vals, fill­ing your boost bar ready for the restart. Amaz­ing scenes.

The col­li­sion sys­tem is mer­ci­fully for­giv­ing when it comes to hit­ting the track­side walls, only reg­is­ter­ing an ac­tual crash if you col­lide with the scenery at a sharp an­gle, oth­er­wise let­ting you scrape along at high speed with sparks fly­ing from your car. All this was honed to a fine sheen 15 years ago, and noth­ing fun­da­men­tal has been changed.

While on­com­ing traf­fic flashes its lights well in ad­vance to alert you to its pres­ence, it’s less easy to see where the track itself goes next. That’s par­tic­u­larly true when track­side chevrons warn­ing of tight cor­ners are point­ing the wrong way from the di­rec­tion you’re com­ing from. But the game wants you to have fun and fo­cus on ag­gres­sion rather than self-preser­va­tion, so it’s only a mi­nor is­sue. The tiered ca­reer struc­ture starts you off com­par­a­tively slowly, build­ing up to some won­der­ful early ’90s F1 looka­likes which move like greased light­ning.

Vic­tory lap

If you’re a vet­eran Burnout player, you’ll breeze through most of the game, only re­ally be­ing chal­lenged by the last cou­ple of tiers in the ca­reer mode, and even then only if you’re try­ing to score gold medals on each event. There are plat­inum medals to be won, too, which means there is plenty to do un­til you’ve aced all the tiers in the game.

How­ever, it doesn’t quite have the gloss that per­me­ated the big-bud­get Burnout games. Firstly, the crash dam­age isn’t as sat­is­fy­ing as it could

be, not even reach­ing Burnout 3’ s fidelity of de­for­ma­tion. Even on two-gen­er­a­tions-old hard­ware, that game’s crashes still have a greater sense of weight, more prom­i­nent shat­ter­ing glass and de­bris, and more cin­e­matic take­downs.

Se­condly, there are some mi­nor tech­ni­cal is­sues, with oc­ca­sional su­per-speed AI bugs, mo­men­tary freezes in tun­nels (pre­sum­ably due to graphic stream­ing), dead stops with­out crashes reg­is­ter­ing and respawns some­times putting you straight into an­other crash. The take­down cut­aways can also re­turn you to the ac­tion sig­nif­i­cantly fur­ther be­hind the leader than you were when you per­formed the take­down.

But mainly, even when suitable mu­sic is blar­ing out, there’s just a nag­ging feel­ing that some­thing else is miss­ing. DJ Stryker is sorely missed, that’s for sure, but it’s not that. A mul­ti­player mode would also have been nice at launch, and even though it should be com­ing in an up­date later, it’s still not too much of an is­sue con­sid­er­ing this kind of game works so well as a turn-taker. There’s also very lit­tle in the way of de­cals on the cars, which makes ev­ery­thing look a bit drab. You still get ar­cade-style iconog­ra­phy like wind­mills and the Aurora Bo­re­alis that make for ‘ooooh’ mo­ments of eye-candy, but it is nonethe­less an un­der­stated game that could do with a splash more colour and brazen artis­tic flair.

But what it re­ally needs? Build­ings. This game is ab­so­lutely full of sky. There’s no city driv­ing, so there’s noth­ing like the den­sity of en­vi­ron­men­tal ob­jects seen in the down­town stage of Burnout 3. The rea­sons are un­der­stand­able, given the team size and bud­get, but Dan­ger­ous Driv­ing is so close to the full ex­pe­ri­ence, you can’t help but wish this was a big-bud­get production.

The boxed ver­sion does con­tain a copy of Dan­ger Zone 2, which makes up for the lack of a ded­i­cated Crash mode here, so this pack­age re­ally is the cul­mi­na­tion of the past few years’ work for the team, and as close to clas­sic-style Burnout as you can get on Xbox One. So ac­cept its lim­i­ta­tions, blast some Fu­neral For A Friend and crash ’em like it’s 2004.

“The game wants you to have fun and fo­cus on ag­gres­sion”

right Driv­ing like you have a death wish will fill up your boost gauge.

Left Even the UI is evoca­tive of Burnout 3. Hon­estly, it’s a dead ringer.

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