Dangerously disappointing

Fans of racing games rejoice – “Dangerous Driving” is finally here after many years of roadblocks and development hitches.

If you’re someone like me, you grew up on the “Burnout” series of games – a Criterion Games-developed, Electronic Arts-published project that mixed driving fast with “car-fu” action, where your vehicle acts as the ultimate weapon to take out other cars.

The last “Burnout” game was released in 2008 – “Burnout Paradise.” While that game was remastered last year, people were still clamoring for a new, destructive chapter in the series.

That’s where Three Fields Entertainment came in.

Three Fields Entertainment, a development team consisting of ex-Criterion Games talent, is still a rather nascent company. It hit the scene in 2014 and released its first game, “Dangerous Golf,” in 2016 – the first of the “Dangerous” line.

Upon starting the game, the player is greeted by a generic rock tune in the main menu, and, while it is understandable – Three Fields Entertainment is an indie game developer – it kind of stings that the game lacks some licensed tracks.

The game itself is heavily inspired by the likes of the pre-“Burnout Paradise” games, taking many pages from the first three “Burnout” games, as well as the later entries such as “Burnout Revenge” and “Burnout Dominator” with an emphasis on circuit and sprint races.

And, of course, this game does not skimp on its Road Rage mode, for it’s as intense and frantic as ever.

One thing that did change from the “Burnout” games, though – and I’m using “Burnout Paradise” here for comparison – are the drifting mechanics.

In “Burnout,” your car drifts like those would in other games such as “Need For Speed.” Here, in “Dangerous Driving,” it drifts like one would in Bugbear Entertainment/Namco’s “Ridge Racer Unbounded” from 2012. Your vehicle remains straight, but you turn smoothly. It’s a little weird to get used to.

Also, continuing on the topic of weird features, we need to bring the frame rate into consideration. The demo I played at last month’s PAX East ran on an Xbox One X. I do understand how much weaker an original PlayStation 4 from late 2013 is – compared to something released in late 2017 with an emphasis on higher graphical processing.

However, I was disappointed to see how choppy it is on weaker systems.

What’s even more fascinating is the lack of music in the game. “Dangerous Driving” features no soundtrack other than the generic rock song that plays on the main menu, leading the in-game soundtrack to become a void of engines revving and cars crashing into each other.

While it includes integration with a Spotify Premium account to play music during gameplay, it’s still a lazy way to cover up a shortcoming. If you don’t have a Premium account, you’re basically screwed.

That, and the game has some rather pesky glitches. Let me ask you this: Do you like getting launched into the air after bumping into a rival car the wrong way?

“Dangerous Driving” accomplishes what it sets out to do, but, at the current moment, it doesn’t do it well.

There is little-to-no content in the game – aside from the World Tour mode the player embarks on, the performance is questionable at best on early eighth generation hardware. Further, the music is stuck behind a “paywall,” if you want to call it that.

Feel free to get “Dangerous,” but with the $29.99 asking price, I’d wait a little more before doing so.