Also On: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Three Fields Entertainment
Developer: Three Fields Entertainment
I love the story behind Dangerous Golf: a bunch of former Criterion Games developers — including two of the studio’s founders — setting up a new shop, taking the knowledge they gained from creating the Burnout series and applying it to a new sport. As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the combination of racing cars and destroying everything around me, the set-up had a lot of promise.
Unfortunately, the actual game leaves a little to be desired. To some extent, this is because of Dangerous Golf’s basic premise. Is there any sport in the world that lends itself to destruction less than golf? The only things that spring to mind are board games (which don’t seem like they count) and maybe darts. Driving a golf ball inside a small space — which is essentially all you’re doing here — feels like it pales in comparison to the kind of destruction you’d get from, say, hitting a baseball in a small room, or shooting a hockey puck in a small room, or, really, anything involving any sport with larger balls.
That said, great games can overcome even the iffiest of premises. The problem for Dangerous Golf, obviously, is that it’s not a great game. It’s a game where you shoot a golf ball around the same rooms over and over again, trying to figure out what breakables have the highest dollar values rather than simply luxuriating in wanton destruction. At first, it’s kind of fun, but after a very short while it starts feeling more than a little repetitive.
It doesn’t help, of course, that the camera and the controls are both subpar. In both cases, it constantly feels like you’re fighting with the controller, trying to find angles and directions that don’t exist. Because the spaces are so small, you’re constantly manoeuvring the ball into tight areas where, unfortunately, the camera inevitably seems to zoom in on the ball, and you’re left trying to blindly push the ball in directions it either can’t or won’t go. Then again, it’s not exactly miles better in open areas; I regularly found that viewing angles sucked no matter where I tried to place the camera, and it often felt as though I was simply suggesting where the ball might want to think about going, rather than actually making it go in one direction or another.
Perhaps Dangerous Golf’s most egregious sin, though, is also something that seems like it should’ve been a gimme: there’s almost no controller vibration. I mean, the controller vibrates a little when you sink a putt. But seeing as that comes only after you’ve just destroyed an entire room’s worth of stuff — all of which happens with no vibration — it seems like a pretty major missed opportunity.
But that’s kind of the story of Dangerous Golf, writ small and large. It’s a game with some good ideas and a great pedigree, but also one that never manages to get beyond that stage.