Danger Zone 2 review for Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PC, PS4
Publisher: Three Fields Entertainment
Developer: Three Fields Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E10+

Three Fields Entertainment?s first two games were massive letdowns, as far as I was concerned. You?d think that a studio founded by ex-Criterion developers who had created the Burnout franchise would have no problem recreating the magic of their old series with games focused on explosive destruction, but Dangerous Golf and Danger Zone would suggest otherwise. The former was mediocre at best; the latter just plain sucked.

As you can imagine, my expectations going into Danger Zone 2 were pretty low. I probably shouldn?t have been so hasty in dismissing Three Fields, however, because this is where they finally deliver what had been expected from them all along: a game full of big car crashes that?s actually fun to play.

Surprisingly, Three Fields didn?t need to change much from the first Danger Zone to get everything to work. Danger Zone 2 features the same mechanics, for the most part, as its predecessor. You still have to crash a certain number of vehicles to trigger explosions, you still have to earn a certain amount of money in order to move on to the next level, and you?re still graded on how much destruction you cause.

What?s different is the setting. Danger Zone got really repetitive really quickly in large part because it all took place inside a cold, sterile warehouse. This time around, you?re let loose on the (somewhat) open roads, and it makes a massive difference. Rather than feeling like you?re playing the gaming equivalent of crash test dummy videos, here you get to feel like you?re causing real destruction. You?re flying down highways, knocking cars into billboards and road medians and, most importantly, each other. There?s nothing like sending a car plummeting into a ravine and seeing it explode in the distance, and you get to do that again and again here. As you can imagine, it?s pretty fun.

To be sure, Danger Zone 2 still isn?t perfect. Its physics are still a little wonky, in that sometimes you can send a car flying over the horizon with just the slightest tap, while other times it?s as if you?ve driven full speed into a brick wall. The scoring also leaves a little to be desired, since it wasn?t uncommon for a level to end well before all the explosions had stopped, which seems a little unfair. Further, the whole thing is quite short, and can be finished in an afternoon even if you have a late lunch and an early dinner. And, of course, you?re still not out on the open road, no matter how some of the levels may look — everything here is very linear, and woe betide any player who starts triggering too many explosions before you?ve finally reached the eponymous “danger zone”.

Not that any of that was enough to diminish my enjoyment of Danger Zone 2. We?re talking about a game where not only can you launch yourself off a ramp into the cab of a tractor-trailer (whose cargo is highly flammable gasoline) an overpass away, that?s expected of you if you want to beat the level. It?s not quite the full spiritual successor to Burnout that we need, but it?ll certainly do the job until that arrives.

Three Fields Entertainment provided us with a Danger Zone 2 Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: B+