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Burnout creators unveil Danger Zone. Crash Mode is back!

Off the back of their debut release, Dangerous Golf, Three Fields Entertainment today announced the long-awaited return of drivable destruction with Danger Zone. Set in a “virtual crash testing facility”, players are invited to drive recklessly in twenty distinct scenarios, causing as much damage and destruction as is vehicularly possible.

Danger Zone shares a lot of DNA with its equally-angry, sporty cousin, with a keen focus on physical realism in the midst of beautiful chaos. The SmashBreaker is back too, of course, equipping players with the licence to strategically detonate their vehicle, in the interest of maximum annihilation.

No word yet on an Xbox One release, but expect Danger Zone to hit Windows 10 next month.

Dangerous Golf review

Having been a huge fan of Burnout over the years, the thought of having part of the team create a game involving golf left me a little confused, but not for long. Dangerous Golf is very much my cup of tea. The aim of the game is simple, although the execution can become quite challenging. You have one golf ball and a room to destroy as much as possible before getting the opportunity to sink your putt. You’ll travel all around the world and visit various locations, admiring your view before causing chaos.

Unfortunately, some of the locations you’ll end up playing in aren’t the most exciting, a men’s toilet being the worst. Thankfully despite the weird selection of ‘courses’ there is plenty to discover because of the variation within each of the levels. In fact, it will take a long time to discover a lot of the hidden elements of the game. For example, every level has a secret sauce bottle that will give a big boost to your score. There are also signature smashes, these involve hitting certain objects. Later levels link together through secret warp passages, some are easier to find than others, but that’s the point!

Dangerous Golf can initially feel very static, there aren’t any moving targets, but that’s where the smashbreaker comes into play. Each level requires you to smash an initial amount of objects before the smashbreaker unlocks. Once it does you can press B and use the left stick to cause massive of destruction with a slow motion flammable golf ball. It’s clear that every level has had plenty of work put into it, smashing through a case of champagne bottles does as you would expect, with the corks flying around smashing items your score keeps increasing. Once the smashbreaker ends you’ll need to putt the ball or face your score being cut in half. Every object is worth something so try to cause as much damage as you can. If you are feeling really confident try putting by ricocheting the ball off as many walls as possible for extra bonuses.

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As you play through the levels you’ll be introduced to new mechanics, you can tee off using Pistol Tee which is a laser sighted, more powerful tee off, or danger time which slows down the smashbreaker even more giving you extra time to admire your handy work. Later levels have hazards that you have to avoid or face the level ending immediately. Some levels include using glue to allow you to stick the ball to any surface or even explode items using bombs. I preferred playing the levels with a timer on them, it made the levels more intense and actually more fun.

Every level seem to have a perfect shot to discover and that’s what makes the game great. At the beginning of the level you are greeted with a flyover of a course, allowing you to use hints. The hints will highlight certain items to aim for which will help generate a better score. You also you get to see a leaderboard showing you who you need to beat. Most games are more fun with Friends and Dangerous Golf is no exception. As well as the Single player tour, there is co-op tour and a four player competitive play, where you’ll pass the controller between people. Online allows you to play with up to eight opponents – it works really well as all players all get to take their shots simultaneously, it would be great to see the other players shots if you finish before everyone else, otherwise you get stuck waiting at a leaderboard screen.

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I noticed some real performance issues on a couple of levels which dampened my experience but thankfully it didn’t happen too often, it takes a while to get used to some of the camera angles and work out how the game plays on your own as there isn’t any useful instructions in the game. Dangerous Golf is a game that encourages you to keep trying to attain the highest score possible but unfortunately the 40-50 second wait for the level to reload is quite tiresome, thankfully it seems that they are working on this as a priority so fingers crossed it won’t be too long until it is sorted out.

I like Dangerous Golf, I wasn’t sure at first but as the new mechanics became available I began to enjoy it more and more. Despite appearing to be quite simple it’s actual quite tactical and when you go head-to-head via couch play the fun levels increase. Performance issues aside this is a good game to have in your collection.

Thanks Three Fields Entertainment & Xbox for supporting TiX

Preview

In the midst of the Hampshire countryside, with perhaps the most placid and picturesque studio view I’ve ever seen, you’d be forgiven for thinking Three Fields Entertainment were working on something a little more peaceful, a little more… zen. Instead, they’re making something arguably far more exciting.

Since its incorporation in early 2014, Three Fields have been working tirelessly on Dangerous Golf. It’s as much of a golf game as Burnout is a driving simulator. There’s no fiddling around with five irons here – just a massive injection of relentless destruction and purified fun into a genre begging for rejuvenation.

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Those familiar with the Burnout series will immediately feel right at home with Dangerous Golf. Think of it as Crash Mode but with golf balls instead of cars and everyday objects instead of traffic. Whilst admittedly on a smaller scale than a six-lane intersection filled with timber lorries, Dangerous Golf’s environments are intimate, realistic, and absolutely packed to the gills with seemingly very fragile things.

Right from the off, Dangerous Golf starts in a truly irreverent and typically British fashion, setting the tone for the rest of the game. In the first of a series of truly delightful puns, players will encounter the Smash Nav – the dashboard for getting around Dangerous Golf’s various modes—all of which take place in four key locations: an immaculate palace ballroom, a fully-stocked hotel kitchen, a medieval castle, and a classic gas station. All four locations are impeccably styled; bathed in gentle, natural light, each exuding individualistic character and charm.

My first encounters were in a glittering ballroom, carefully prepared for a state dinner, I’m sure. Tables were stacked high with silver goblets; magnums of champagne littering the room, priceless heirlooms at every turn. You can’t help but be awed by the sheer level of detail and density here. A fleeting sense of guilt crossed my mind, as a flag popped up in the distance and I was presented with a golf ball blazoned with “Three Fields Entertainment”. But this soon passed, as I thwacked my ball into the towering goblets – it’s Direct Line’s problem now.

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Each and every object in the room is real, carefully designed to break down in the most authentic and satisfying way possible. Even the surfaces, which Three Fields refer to as “materials”, are designed to behave exactly how you’d expect them to: physically, visually, and aurally. In one particular stage, lovingly named “The Vase and The Furious”, the glass behaves exactly how you’d expect it to upon meeting a high velocity golf ball. Smashing up state ballrooms has truly never been this realistic.

Smashing up state ballrooms has truly never been this realistic.

In order to achieve this degree of authenticity, Three Fields are utilising highly advanced technologies from both Epic and Nvidia to deliver a game that pushes physics harder than most. Each and every object has realistic physics data associated with it, based on real-world equivalence, which are then processed in-game upon impact. This was particularly noticeable in the hotel kitchen, where a selection of lovingly prepared fruit tarts lined the worktop. Ingredients were stacked up tall underneath; utensils, pots, and pans everywhere else. Needless to say, it was left in an utterly tragic mess after I was done with it.

When it comes to tee off in Dangerous Golf, there’s no club, no angle or elevation to worry about. Just smack the ball wherever you want. Players must make sure, however, they destroy the necessary number of objects with their first shot in order to get… you guessed it, a SmashBreaker. This is the moment the ball transforms into its final form: a molten sphere of rage and destruction, relentlessly decimating anything in its path as it gets hotter and hotter and hotter. At this point, nothing stands a chance. Petrol pumps are blowing up, grandfather clocks disintegrating, and bookshelves collapsing in on themselves. There’s beauty in this destruction.

In the midst of all this mess, I couldn’t help notice a lone flag in the distance. This is still a golf game, after all, which evidently I had forgotten following my momentary rampage. Keeping with the game’s philosophy, you don’t have to be a golf aficionado to complete the shot, pot the ball, or whatever it is golfers say. Roll it in, shoot it with a trail of fire, or whack it blindly into the air, pulling both triggers to smash it down into the goal – just make sure you come out of it looking as slick as possible.

There’s beauty in this destruction.

One of the most surprising parts of Dangerous Golf is its turn-by-turn co-op offering, where players must work as a team to rack up the points – or alternatively, risk success by one-upping your partner’s score, leaving them in a tough spot with nothing left to destroy when their turn comes around. Risk and reward is carefully balanced, with huge team bonuses available for successful shots – and almighty penalties for failure. Giving your buddy just enough slack to pull through, whilst being careful not to let them encroach on your massive score, is the strategy here. Competitive co-op at its finest.

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It’s only after a while you discover how much deeper (and crazier) Dangerous Golf really is, compared to its earlier stages. Later on, things start to get pretty insane. Everything from laser targeting, sticky bombs, and perhaps the most dastardly modifier of them all: wheelie mop buckets, become essential, tactical tools in the player’s arsenal to reach those dazzlingly high leaderboard positions. This isn’t some casual facelift of Burnout’s crash mode. Dangerous Golf demands thought, tactics, and a complete disdain for personal property.

Dangerous Golf is one of those games that nails everything: it’s stunningly beautiful, it’s an unprecedented technical marvel, and it’s just pure fun. In a generation where fun has taken a step back behind technical excellence, it’s refreshing to see it back in full force, kicking and screaming. As Criterion sought to reinvent some of gaming’s most notable genres, so too are Three Fields Entertainment. They’ve managed the impossible. They’ve made golf fun.

Dangerous Golf hits Xbox One early this June.

Three Fields Entertainment unveil their debut game, Dangerous Golf

Three Fields Entertainment, an independent studio comprising some of the legendary minds behind Burnout, today unveiled their first game.

Long teased as an “innovative new twist on a sports game”, Dangerous Golf sends players—not to the course—but rather a series of unexpected locales, including a hotel kitchen, petrol station, palace ballroom, and a medieval castle.

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So, presumably players must carefully navigate these areas to get the lowest score they can, right? Wrong. Your job is to rack up the biggest bill you can, with maximum destruction and chaos, ultimately culminating in—you guessed it—the almighty SmashBreaker.

Three Fields Entertainment broke ground in early 2014 following a major internal restructuring and a series of departures from EA’s Criterion Games studio. Since then, they’ve been hard at work on their first release as an independent studio.

For Dangerous Golf, Three Fields is working closely with both Epic and Nvidia to crank up the action, with the power of Unreal Engine 4 and PhysX, to deliver a “truly physics based game experience”.

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As for what might be around the corner? Well, you might want to strap in.

Dangerous Golf releases digitally this May on Xbox One.