Every year since 2016, Three Fields Entertainment releases a new game. Each one inches closer and closer to something resembling Burnout, the franchise that they’re most known for. However, each release also falls short in one area or another. It’s understandable, as Three Fields are a small team. However, many fans still clamor for a grand return to the arcade racing of old. In late 2020, Dangerous Driving 2 will try once again to please crash-hungry racers. After playing a tiny bit at PAX East, I can definitely say that they’re speeding in the right direction.
On paper, the second Dangerous Driving feels like it has a great hook. Where the first game recalled Burnout 3: Takedown, this game will expand into an open world a-la Burnout Paradise. On top of that, there’s more vehicle damage and a definite focus on races, an upgrade from the toy-esque cars and time trial events in past games. If it all comes together, it could certainly be another good time, especially for Burnout fans. However, the race I played feels like another iterative step rather than a final destination.
I didn’t get any notion of what the game’s open-world looked like, or what events would be available outside of racing. I was told that race tracks would be separate from the open world, which does remove some of the few flaws from Burnout Paradise’s total package. I have faith that Three Fields can improve on what’s come before, but I haven't seen it with my own eyes as of yet. I also briefly got to see the game running on Nintendo Switch, which is a big selling point for this sequel. It's impressive that it was running considering that the game has only been in development for a few months as of PAX. Like the open world, it's not ready for primetime yet, but it's on its way.
What was ready for primetime was the gameplay, which comes over full force from the first Dangerous Driving. The one thing you know you’ll get with a Three Fields release is a blistering sense of speed and amazing wrecks. I still personally miss traffic checking, but all the rest of the mechanics that make Burnout-style driving a deadly dance are here. In fact, if you were to say that this was a race I never finished in the original Dangerous Driving with some new fonts, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree. To be honest, that’s part of my nagging problem with this whole setup.
Perhaps it’s some sort of franchise fatigue. Even discounting the conceptually unique Dangerous Golf, I’ve been playing some sort of Three Fields explosion fest on a yearly basis for half a decade. The demo I played was just a single race (played once in single-player and once in splitscreen co-op), but there was nothing about it that felt new or exciting. I love the high-speed thrills that Three Fields provide, but there comes a point where enough is enough. Asking fans to continually shell out cash for what could easily be new modes and upgrades for a single Burnout revival feels like a bad deal for everyone.
Not only do hardcore fans feel the sting of buying each new release for $20-$30, but they lose the sense of excitement that could have come with a proper Burnout revival. I remember the excitement surrounding the original Danger Zone; it was treated as a true second coming even though it just recreated Crash Mode. With every subsequent release, I sense fewer and fewer people coming back for more. We’ve finally gotten to the promised land of new Burnout almost as shiny as you remember, and everyone got off the hype train several stops back.
I write all this out of love. Three Fields are one of my favorite developers, and I’ll be there for anything they put out simply out of respect for the perfect arcade racers they created all those years ago. The fact of the matter is, four games in, I may be doing it out of nostalgic obligation rather than genuine excitement. I’m not a fan of that feeling, and I hope that Three Fields eventually finds themselves in a situation to deliver the polished full experience that I know they’re capable of.
TechRaptor previewed Dangerous Driving 2 at PAX East 2020. It's scheduled for a release on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in late 2020. Screenshots in this article are from the original Dangerous Driving and don't reflect the sequel.