Dangerous Driving Review

Richard Walker

Dangerous Driving is an almost irresistible prospect. A proper spiritual successor to Criterion's mighty, now defunct Burnout series, featuring the same blistering speed, and dramatic takedowns, all sparks and mangled metal. On paper, it's everything Burnout should be. And yet, it just doesn't feel quite right.

Featuring all of the racing-based modes you'd expect to find in a Burnout game – minus the brilliant Crash mode junctions, sorely absent here – Dangerous Driving is a fairly generous offering, including (but not limited to) straight-up 'Takedown' races joined by the out-and-out driving hostility of 'Road Rage', racing against time in 'Shakedown', the 1-on-1 showdowns of 'Face Off', last man standing 'Eliminator' mode, and the slightly tiresome boost-chaining race against time of 'Heatwave'.

But they all have one fundamental problem that drains Dangerous Driving of its would-be arcade-style thrills: races are simply too long. While five to seven minutes doesn't sound particularly lengthy, it can be difficult, at times, to maintain your concentration for the duration when everything is speeding into your eyeballs at 200mph.

Burnout felt punchy. Its races didn't outstay their welcome and your attention would coalesce into a laser-like focus. That eventually happens in Dangerous Driving too, although there is some getting used to the twitchy handling, the ridiculous speed and the commitment required to pull off the perfect drift. Once it all falls into place, it can occasionally feel pretty good.

Go back to vintage Burnout, however, (not forgetting that Dangerous Driving is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Criterion's classic series, of course) and Three Fields' game doesn't have the same tight handling, the same brand of fast and furious races laced with adrenaline. Instead, handling feels somewhat floaty; drifting isn't nearly as satisfying as it should be, and trading paint with rivals simply doesn't have the kind of impact that it should.

Bodywork doesn't crumple up like an accordion, shards of metal don't fly at the screen; the damage model is rudimentary for a game built around it, and as such, the racing seems relatively civilised and – dare we say it – a bit too clean. Three Fields has managed to rustle up some nice scenery for its roadways, lighting in particular the game's strong suit, with lovely streaming god rays, sunsets and such.

Dangerous Driving's racing venues, while pretty, are nonetheless lacking in character, with no real, discernible points of interest or landmarks to draw the eye (other than Surfside Island with its palm trees and moonlit beaches). Not that you'll have much time for sightseeing while the game's predominant 60fps racing is being streamed into your unblinking eyes. There is the rare frame drop now and again.

Regardless, Dangerous Driving is a mite on the bland side, primarily because the races drag on for too long, there's no traffic checking system (I loved smashing traffic out of the way in Burnout Revenge), Crash mode is relegated to Three Fields' two Danger Zone games, and crashing itself isn't nearly as spectacular as it should be. This is what Burnout Revenge's predecessor could have potentially been, and as such it feels like a 'bridge' of sorts between Burnout 3: Takedown and Revenge, but not nearly as good as that sounds.

Which begs the question, why wouldn't you just go back and play Burnout Revenge instead? Or Burnout 3 for that matter? Both are better games. Dangerous Driving isn't without its charms, of course: classic Takedown races, Road Rage, the 'drive-as-far-as-you-can-without-crashing' Survival mode, and Pursuit mode that casts you as a cop taking down lawbreaking racers being particular highlights.

But to get to the good stuff, you have to wade through the boring Shakedown sprints, the three-race GP tourneys, shrug-inducing Heatwave races, and irritating one-on-one Face Offs. These are relative lowlights. Also, every one of Dangerous Driving's vehicles feel roughly the same as one another, the car selection screen devoid of any helpful stats to distinguish the differences between each vehicle. It's almost like it's intentional. Starting out with unglamorous Sedans and SUVs doesn't exactly suck you into DD's world; by the time you've unlocked the sexy Coupes and Supercars, you'll have likely lost interest.

As a spiritual follow-up to the Burnout series, Dangerous Driving unfortunately falls short. Where Burnout provided pulse-quickening, thrill-a-second racing, DD delivers sometimes annoying, overlong events and samey vehicles separated into their own dedicated categories (albeit with Shakedown races that let you drive the more desirable Hypercars and Formula DD cars before you've unlocked them).

Races don't feel like a fight. You should be jostling and battling for takedowns, but even the slightest nudge is enough to wipe out a rival. Should you find yourself crashing (a frequent occurrence, obviously), you're heavily penalised too – usually cast to the back of the pack – which can be especially upsetting if you've been leading for the entire race.

Factor in persistent wrecks leaving your trail of previous destruction across the track and some liberal rubber banding, and you'll need to keep your wits sharp to bag the win. Aftertouch does make a welcome comeback to give you a lifeline when you plough into a barrier or oncoming traffic, enabling you to steer your flaming wreck into an approaching opponent and knock them off the road. There are times when Dangerous Driving does manage to scratch that Burnout itch.

Dangerous Driving is like a counterfeit Rolex. Upon first glance, it looks like a real Rolex, it works like one, but on closer inspection, you can see that it's actually branded 'Bolex' and the hands are falling off. There are some solid new ideas in here, like the addition of persistent wrecks to keep you on your toes and Spotify integration so you can blast your favourite tunes, and Three Fields has brought across many of the best aspects of Burnout that made it truly special. Ultimately, however, Dangerous Driving is a spiritual successor that's sadly lacking in spirit.

Dangerous Driving

As a Burnout fan, I had high hopes for Dangerous Driving. Unfortunately, Three Fields' effort fails to capture the spirit and feel of its inspiration, and consequently, emerges as a pale imitation.

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Engine noises and sound effects are decent enough, but the lack of a soundtrack beyond the main menu is a problem. The only way to remedy that is with a Spotify premium account, enabling you to pipe whatever music you like into the game.


For sheer automotive mayhem, there's still nothing that touches Burnout. Dangerous Driving comes close, but more than a decade on from the last Burnout game (Paradise), we expected better. It all moves at a lovely 60fps lick, though, save for the rare instance of minor lag.


Handling doesn't feel nearly as tight as it should. Instead, it's a little bit floaty, a little bit twitchy; it doesn't seem quite right. Hitting a drift just right can be satisfying, but performing takedowns isn't as rewarding as it should be.


A nice suite of modes with online leaderboards make Dangerous Driving feel like a complete single-player experience, but most races outstay their welcome. Cars feel a little bit indistinct and the overall presentation is fairly bare bones. There's no multiplayer mode either; at least not yet.


Awarded for scoring gold medals in every race, driving for hundreds of miles in every car (and 1,000 miles in one), and for performing various feats during events. A good, balanced achievement list.

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