It’s unattainable to play or discuss Dangerous Driving with out evaluating it to Criterion’s seminal Burnout 3: Takedown. This is by design, in fact, as developer Three Fields Entertainment–a small indie studio comprised of former Criterion alum–set out to create a non secular successor to the dormant racer; latching onto the groundbreaking Burnout 3 as a transparent and well-liked focus. Everything about Dangerous Driving’s design, proper right down to small particulars like font choice and the phrasing utilized in its loading screens, is distinctly Burnout 3. It foregoes the advances made in its sequels–like site visitors checking and the introduction of an open-world–to hone in on what made Takedown so particular.My first hour or so with Dangerous Driving was fraught with bewilderment, nevertheless. There’s a single track that performs on the primary menu, however aside from this there is a full absence of music all through your entire recreation. Licensed tracks are a vital element to the Burnout system, and after enjoying a couple of occasions in near-complete silence, their monumental significance cannot be overstated. Obviously, that is true of most video games, however notably one the place high-speed exhilaration is on the menu. After initially pondering this was both a bug or that music would finally discover its means into the sport by way of a day one patch, I hopped into the audio settings and found the explanation for its omission: Spotify integration.This is a great concept for an indie studio that may not have the funds to splash out on licensed music, and after discovering one thing suitably upbeat and aggressive myself, the expertise of tearing across the observe and wrecking different vehicles was improved tenfold. Yet asking folks to personal a premium service simply to get music of their recreation is a reasonably extreme compromise. It’s an comprehensible trade-off for getting access to well-liked music in a budget-priced recreation, however past the financial requirement, it additionally has an impact on gameplay. Three Fields cannot manipulate Spotify music in any means, so songs will simply play by way of from begin to end with out the incorporation of any interactive components. This signifies that the music would not change its tone once you increase, or decelerate and warp throughout takedowns, and that robs these moments of a few of their potential impression.When you are out on the street, the dealing with of every automobile will really feel immediately acquainted to anybody who’s ever performed Burnout earlier than. While most up to date racing video games are cautious of totally embracing an arcadey model with out that includes some sort of simulation component, Dangerous Driving is a full-blooded, balls-to-the-wall arcade racer. You’ll maintain down the accelerator advert infinitum till your finger aches, careen round corners by both scraping throughout the metal guard rails or tapping the brake button to effortlessly drift round, and weave between oncoming site visitors at over 200-miles-per-hour because the nitrous oxide flames spewing out of every exhaust pipe propel your automobile ahead.Unfortunately, the physics will be pretty wonky at occasions, usually bringing your automobile to a whole cease since you brushed in opposition to a wall; whereas different occasions it’s going to shoot you straight up into the air, or drive your automobile into an entire 90-degree flip. This will be extremely irritating throughout the latter phases of an occasion when one mishap is sufficient to ship you tumbling to the again of the pack. Collision detection can also be inconsistent; quite a few occasions a head-on crash resulted in my automobile clipping by way of the ground and showing unscathed on the opposite aspect. The face-distorting sense of velocity, although, is genuinely electrical, and the PS4 Pro model maintains a steady 60 frames-per-second with one notable exception: It tends to hitch moderately egregiously once you’re driving by way of tunnels.The crux of Dangerous Driving’s racing is centered round the necessity to drive recklessly and always put your self in hurt’s means. By hurtling in direction of incoming site visitors, performing close to misses, nailing drifts, tailgating, and taking down your opponents, you earn variable levels of increase that can assist hearth your chosen automobile in direction of the end line. There is not a discernible distinction in how every automobile handles, aside from the truth that some go sooner than others, however their pinpoint responsiveness coupled with the excessive framerate ensures that you simply’re totally able to serpentining out and in of hazard in case your reactions are fast sufficient. Again, that is quintessential Burnout, with the destruction of your fellow drivers doubling your increase meter and incentivizing essentially the most perilous conduct attainable. These takedowns are harking back to those who debuted in Burnout 3, though the slow-motion crashes in Dangerous Driving are surprisingly underwhelming. They’re not dangerous, however they’re additionally not impactful enough–which the aforementioned points with music contribute to–lacking in any actual dynamism or metal-crunching element.There are exceptions to this rule, however automobile collisions truly look much more violent after they happen close to you in actual time, with damaged vehicles hurtling throughout the street in a livid cascade of fireplace and sparks. A wrecked automobile would not sign the top of its lifespan both. While Dangerous Driving unabashedly riffs on Burnout, it has its personal concepts, too, like persistent wrecks. Now, in case you’re driving on a observe with a number of laps, any takedowns that occur will go away the battered husk of that automobile out on the street as a smoke-billowing impediment. This is moderately ingenious, as subsequent laps step by step evolve the observe till it is veritable minefields of lifeless autos.The slow-motion crashes are usually not impactful enough–which the aforementioned points with music contribute to–lacking in any actual dynamism or metal-crunching elementThe drawback with this–and it isn’t an issue with the mechanic itself, however moderately one with the sport’s total structure–is that these multi-lap occasions, and essentially the most stimulating moments inside them, are too few and much between. Dangerous Driving excels once you’re in the course of the pack, buying and selling paint with different vehicles, and combating tooth and nail to maneuver up the sphere. It’s right here the place it is at its most fun, and actually latches onto what made Burnout 3 so good within the first place. But reaching first place is comparatively easy–I used to be taken down by the AI twice in all my time playing–and when you’re there the rubber banding is not aggressive sufficient to ever compete along with your driving except you crash. Rivals drivers will hover simply behind you, ready to capitalize on any errors, however there are far too many situations the place you’ll be able to take a leisurely drive in first place, leading to a sense that you simply’re lacking out on all of the motion.It would not assist that the observe design is bland. Visually there’s a variety of selection with a cohesive theme of North American National Parks that encompasses sunswept canyons, beachside cliffs, snowy mountain ranges, and so forth, however the tracks themselves are made up of the identical sorts of lengthy, winding corners that it nearly looks like they have been copied and pasted from one observe and into one other. They not often deviate from this normal blueprint, and there is nothing that units the tracks other than each other both. This compounds the problems with issue and AI throughout race occasions, and in addition leads to a dearth of participating racing in different recreation modes. There are face-offs in opposition to a single opponent, the takedown-centric Road Rage, time trials, a survival occasion that duties you with reaching checkpoints to stave off an ever-depleting timer, and even a nod to Criterion’s work on Need for Speed within the form of police pursuits. Again, there is a respectable quantity of selection right here, with acquainted modes getting back from Burnout (together with one which was beforehand its namesake, re-titled to Heatwave right here), however the lack of attention-grabbing programs and a shortage of racing occasions depletes a lot of the thrill.Online multiplayer is being added in a future replace, and enjoying in opposition to different folks may allay a few of these issues. But the extra I performed the extra I started to appreciate Dangerous Driving lacks that magic spark the Burnout video games had in abundance. That kinetic vitality, palpable sense of hazard, and the heart-racing thrill that one thing may and would go mistaken at any second. The AI was aggressive–competitive–and the satisfaction of taking them down was born of extra than simply getting to observe their automobile crumple in opposition to the closest brick wall. The tracks have been creative, too, extra attention-grabbing of their environments, and stuffed with diverging paths and dangerous shortcuts.Dangerous Driving nails the essential feeling of driving a automobile in Burnout, however the lack of small particulars shortly start so as to add up and peel away at every little thing that does not really feel fairly proper. The most damning criticism I can degree at it’s that it is usually boring and lifeless. There are too many occasions that fail to capitalize on its strengths, and those who do can solely attain these heights in fleeting moments. I used to be involved that perhaps I would really feel the identical means about Burnout; that one of many biggest racing sequence ever made simply would not slot in 2019. So I went again and performed Burnout 3 once more and it shortly alleviated all of these fears with a fast combustion of thrilling vehicular mayhem. The potential was there for Dangerous Driving to latch onto that magic, and there are transient moments when it feels such as you’re enjoying a model new Burnout. But the reality is, I would moderately play a 16-year-old recreation than decide up its non secular successor once more, and that is a disheartening consequence.