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Danger Zone 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Three Fields Entertainment
Developer: Three Fields Entertainment
Release Date: July 13, 2018


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PS4 Review - 'Danger Zone 2'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 23, 2018 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Danger Zone 2 is an ambitious sequel which takes the crash testing action out of Test Zones and onto real public roads.

Last year, Three Field Entertainment set out to re-create the Crash mode of the Burnout series via its new title, Danger Zone. For the most part, the developer got the basics down, but the presentation suffered due to a lower-than-expected frame rate and bland environments, among other things. When a sequel was announced, the assumption was that the gameplay would improve and the presentation issues were going to be addressed. Danger Zone 2 fulfills some of those promises, but it also introduces issues that will disappoint some players.

The main goal remains unchanged from the first title. Every level has you going to the danger zone location and creating the most expensive pile-up possible. Hitting just the right car at just the right moment is enough to get a good pile-up going, but you'll also be able to create your own explosion via a Crashbreaker if a certain number of cars get caught in the carnage. The explosion not only harms the cars in the vicinity but also inches you closer to icons for extra cash and more chances for a Crashbreaker explosion. Once you reach the required monetary target, you can move on to the next stage to do it all over again.

The main goal is the same as before, but Danger Zone 2 has changed up things in a number of different areas. First, the game now takes place in several real-world locales. It never tells you exactly where you'll be at, and the places are far from being accurate, but the change from sterile warehouse environments to bright, open skies does wonders in providing some much-needed character. Second, the game has more variety when it comes to cars you can race with. You still can't select which cars you'll drive on the track, but you now have a big rig joining the likes of the sports car, the F1 racer, and the standard sedan from the prior game.

The biggest change to the game is that you aren't immediately placed in the danger zone. Instead, you have to travel there, and this change opens up a ton of possibilities. For starters, almost all of your old Burnout strategies will work in this area, from sideswiping cars to using turbo and checking them from behind. You can now do some controlled aiming, depending on which face button you hold when you make contact. The run-up period also gave the developers the opportunity to add bonus objectives, like hitting specific cars to running the camera in slow motion during a jump. The run-up objectives aren't necessary, but there's a hefty cash bonus, and you'll certainly need it if you want to get a platinum medal.

That single change to the game should theoretically make it better than its predecessor, and when you get your hands on the first level, it really feels that way. However, there are enough issues with the design that make you rethink that assessment. First of all, the physics system isn't as tuned as it should be. You may hit a car at one angle, and things will be fine, but hit another car of the same type at the same angle, and you may completely lose control and veer into a guard rail. The game is also inconsistent in determining when to crash. Sometimes, you'll hit a guardrail and continue along with a few scrapes. Hit the rail again, and you'll fail and have to retry, triggering some load times that break up the flow. That fickleness is important, since the game fails you for crashing outside of the designated danger zone. It's especially annoying when this occurs after you've already achieved the bronze medal goal. You'll still have to restart the track, an annoyance further amplified by the long run-up time in a few courses.

The danger zone itself also has a few new issues. The number of tokens available in the danger zone has been reduced, leading to much lower scores than before. That might not be as much of an issue to some people, since the overall score needed for medals has also been drastically reduced, making the game much easier. The player is also going to have a tough time figuring out where the danger zone is, since there aren't any indicators on the track. You have a distance meter on the head's up display, but its plain appearance means that it easily blends into the background. The game also has a countdown timer for when the level ends, and it ignores crashes occurring at that moment. If you have five seconds left and still see the cash total climbing as more cars get hit, you can consider those wasted points since the timer never resets. Combined with the lack of a free camera to see the destruction and a removal of a cutaway cam to see big crashes, and the big event ultimately seems uneventful.

Aside from the lower scores awarded to players, people may be shocked by the lack of content in Danger Zone 2. Compared to the previous game's 32 stages, there are only 23 stages to work with, so the experience ends much sooner than expected. The bonus level count has also been reduced to three, but this time, they're much different from the main game. You're expected to race around the laps without getting into a crash or causing one. It seems counterintuitive to what you've been trained to do in the game, but it's different material to work with.

The improvements to the overall presentation are slight, at best. Namely, the number of cars seen on-screen seems to have increased, and the outdoor environments liven things up. The game still runs at a solid 30fps on the base PS4, while explosion effects seem to have brought down a notch in quality. The sound, on the other hand, remains sparse, and effects are the only thing you'll hear. The lack of voices is fine, but having no music makes the game feel more like a prototype than a finished product.

In the end, Danger Zone 2 dips below the standard set by the original game. The addition of the run-up makes the levels feel deep, but the wonky physics and crash restrictions and presence of older issues negate all of that positive movement. The lack of modes is accentuated further by the lack of levels, and the middle-of-the-road presentation makes the game feel lackluster. This is the type of game you'll want to pick up at a sale, but if you're more patient, you might want to wait for the developer's upcoming Dangerous Driving to see if it can finally deliver a full Burnout-inspired game.

Score: 6.5/10

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