One of the greatest sounds in the world is the sound of your children’s laughter. No matter what kind of mood I’m in, no matter how bad my day has been up until that point, hearing that sound will bring a smile to my face every time. Thankfully one of the other greatest sounds in the world is of a sports car barreling down the highway at over 100mph and the explosion of twisted steel and shattered glass when it plows into oncoming traffic. Danger Zone 2 from Three Fields Entertainment provided plenty of both when we sat down to play recently.
Danger Zone 2 is a spiritual successor to the Burnout racing games that EA released back in the early 2000’s, more specifically it pays homage to the Crash modes of those games which tasked players with driving a variety of vehicles into busy traffic intersections in an attempt to cause as much mayhem as possible. To me, Crash mode was the most memorable part of the Burnout series and it’s something that I’ve been dying to experience again. Fortunately I wasn’t the only one who fondly recalled those games and the team at Three Fields is made up of many of the original developers who created those Burnout titles and the games proves to be a worthy successor to those classics.
The setup of the game is pretty simple and straightforward. You’re placed on a stretch of highway where you’ll need to speed your way through traffic, collecting tokens along the way and completing what are called “run-up” objectives. These are secondary tasks that include things such as ‘jackknife 4 semi trailers’ or ‘knock all taxicabs off of the road’ and add to your final score. At the end of the course you reach the “crash zone” where you’ll need to drive your car into oncoming traffic creating as massive of a pileup as possible. The more cars that crash, the higher the score.
When I first suggested the game, my wife and girls weren’t terribly interested in playing but said they’d sit and watch for a while. My 10-year-old (Chloe) in particular couldn’t figure out why you’d want to crash your car intentionally instead of just going for a nice leisurely drive. As I loaded up the first challenge however, I could see their interest piqued as I sped down a busy highway, narrowly avoiding other vehicles and obstacles. After a few rounds of watching the high-octane action, Chloe suggested that maybe we pass the controller around the room and take turns.
She took the controller from me and without hesitation laid on the gas. Her high-powered sports car roared down the road, bouncing off of other cars and sending them crashing into the side of the road. She grinned wildly as sparks and debris filled the screen, eventually missing a turn and catapulting her car into the air and off of the side of the freeway. As the car came a sudden and fiery stop, she exploded with laughter. It was one of those laughs that is so loud and joyous that we all couldn’t help but burst into laughter along with her.
My 7-year-old (Sam) then took her turn behind the wheel and it went about the same. She rammed into the bumper of any vehicle in her way, sending them smashing into oncoming traffic. She too eventually lost control and sent her car flipping hundreds of feet through the air before exploding into a ball of fire. My girls rolled on the couch, laughing their little heads off at the carnage they’d created. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the two of them so completely entertained by a game and it was awesome. It’s also worth noting that even though you’re causing massive car accidents, there are no drivers in the cars so you don’t need to worry about mangled bodies scattered across the interstate.
When it was my wife and I’s turn to play we would focus a bit more on the strategic elements of the game as opposed to the style of play the kids used. For instance when you’re trying to complete the run-up objectives such as “take out all of the RVs” you can hold different buttons when rear ending other vehicles to send them to either the right or left. The area that requires the most strategic thought though is definitely that final crash zone. Here you’ll need to carefully plan your destruction to climb the leaderboards.
Once you’ve created your massive pileup and caused enough vehicles to crash, you can unleash your Smashbreaker, an explosion that sends your vehicle (and those around you) into the air in a flaming heap. One you’re airborne you’re able to guide your mass of twisted steel by using the analog stick to aim it at more traffic as well as coins and extra Smashbreaker icons which give you another eruptive explosion. The more carnage you can unleash, the higher the score you can rack up, earning you medals of bronze, silver, gold or platinum.
The amount of courses to try is a little on the slight side (26 in all) and you’ll see them all within a couple hours of the game, but the replayability comes from trying to create the perfect crash, earning those platinum medals and a place on the leaderboards. If earning high scores appeals to you, you’ll find plenty of hours worth of fun in the game.
We spent probably 2 hours passing the controller around the couch that day and every one of us had a blast the entire time, that’s something I haven’t been able to say about very many games since my kids started playing. It’s easy enough for young players to be able to grasp easily but there’s enough strategy for experienced players who want to climb the online rankings. It may not have the longevity to keep you playing for months on end, but for the reasonable price of $20 it’ll keep you plenty entertained for a couple of weekends.
Dad “Danger Zone 2 is exactly what I wanted out of a spiritual successor to Burnout’s Crash Mode. It’s fast, funny, and kept my entire family entertained the whole time.”
Chloe “It’s really funny and it’s crazy and it’s fun. But mostly crazy.”
Samantha ” I like crashing into people.”
Danger Zone 2 is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC