Powered by Unreal Engine, Danger Zone combines real physical crashes with explosive gameplay. Shunt vehicles into oncoming traffic, take down trailers to shed their payloads and use your explosive “SmashBreaker” to move your vehicle around. The more explosions you cause, the bigger your score.
Danger Zone was released earlier this year on PlayStation 4 and PC and I was a very unhappy bunny as I didn’t own a PS4 and my PC was seriously too underpowered to run it. So when the Xbox One version was announced a few weeks ago I got my happy back and set down to waiting patiently for the day of release. That day is here and an enhanced version featuring 12 new junctions and 5 new player vehicles has been released for Xbox One and on November 7th when the XoneX is out, it will feature 4K graphics.
Those of you familiar with the Crash Mode featured in the Burnout series will already know what to do but if you’re someone who missed out on all the fun back in the ‘Noughties’ don’t worry, there is a thorough tutorial that walks you through what your objective is.
The fun starts gently enough with one of the less complicated junctions to ease you into the destruction and as you progress through the 4 different crash test phases the complexity ramps (literally in some cases) right up. Each phase consists of 8 different junctions and you have to score at least a Bronze medal to unlock the next one in the sequence. Now you can just breeze through and get the minimal requirement and blast through all 32 junctions to finish the game, but where is the fun in that ??
The aim of the game is simple……drive your car into the junction and crash it, cause as much damage as you can and each level has a Smashbreaker requirement and when that’s active the real destruction can happen. Your car turns into a bomb and firing your Smashbreaker deals an explosion that damages anything in the immediate area and you can also steer your car and move it around the junction to cause maximum mayhem and destruction. Smashbreakers are the key to the big scores and I’ll touch on that later.
The thing that this type of game hooks you with, aside from the glorious carnage that you can create, is the online scoreboards. Each junction has one and you can see how you rank against your friends and the entire world. The scoreboard, along with showing your total score and wrecks created, also has a column that shows the number of attempts you have made at a junction. This is a good indication of how dedicated someone is to gaining that elusive high score. For me, this is the carrot that keeps me coming back and trying different tactics, routes, timings of Smashbreakers and good old fashioned luck in where the cars fall. The bragging rights of being top of your friends scoreboard or the kudos of being best in the world will keep you coming back again and again.
In Danger Zone, as opposed to earlier iterations that were a small part of a bigger game, the levels all take place in a simulation. This means that graphically the surrounding areas are quite bleak as you would expect in a controlled environment. This in no way detracts from the experience and the cars and explosions look amazing and I can’t wait to see how they look in the 4K version in November. There is no background music but with apps such as Spotify and Groove you can crash along to your own soundtrack. I personally went through the entire game listening to Rammstein and the industrial German rockers fit quite well with the mayhem that was happening on the screen.
As I said earlier, Smashbreakers are the way to the big scores. Each junction has money pickups that you can……pick up, if you pick them up in the right order then you are awarded a Grand Slam bonus of $5,000,000 or if you pick them all up but in the wrong order then you get a Smash and Grab bonus of $2,500,000. The correct order is Bronze first (there are usually 3 of each Bronze on the junctions) then Silver(sometimes 1, sometimes 2) and if you collect all the Bronze and Silver available then the Gold (always 1) appears. Collecting all the money and causing as much damage as possible is pretty much the only way to gain the Platinum medal for the junctions. Be careful whilst steering though, if you drop off the side of the track in to the blue void….then it’s game over. The simulation is terminated and you have to restart the junction.
Danger Zone can be completed in a very short time but the replayability with the scoreboards will keep you coming back again and again.For the bargain price of $14.99 / €14.99 / £11.99, I feel you are definitely getting value for money and the promise of more junctions to come to all formats in November just adds to that value.
The lovely people at Three Fields Entertainment have, in my opinion, delivered a really good, fun game at a bargain price and I look forward to any future titles that they put out. Already they have 3 hits on their hands with Dangerous Golf, Lethal VR and now Danger Zone. Keep up the good work guys and girls.
I’m a huge fan of the Burnout series and I feel that Danger Zone deserves to be as successful as they were.
10/10 for me.
Code for review was provided by the developers and as always we thank you for it.