PAX East 2020: Dangerous Driving 2 preview – Hit the road, Jack, and everything else

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There’s an interesting mystery over at Electronic Arts when it comes to its racing franchises. Every year, it tries to successfully reinvigorate its long-running Need for Speed series with something new. And yet it hasn’t touched Criterion’s Burnout in some time.

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For years, Burnout was the go-to game for arcade racing thrills. The memorable Burnout 3: Takedown still stands as one of the best games for getting behind the wheel. Not to be outdone, its follow-up, Burnout Revenge, also had lots of excitement. And then there was Burnout Paradise, offering an open world filled with opponents and challenges.

However, Three Fields Entertainment isn’t about to let this style of racing go quietly. After releasing the Crash mode-oriented Danger Zone in 2017 (and its sequel a year later), it came through last year with Dangerous Driving. This Burnout-style roadster delivers some fresh racing fun for a reasonable price, though its linear design left it limited for some.

However, the team is ready to hit the open road with Dangerous Driving 2, which they featured on the PAX East 2020 show floor for the first time. Set to arrive this fall, the game looks to be the Burnout Paradise successor we all hoped for. But is that enough to put us in a crash-and-burn mood?

A new king of structure

Like Paradise, Dangerous Driving 2‘s open-world makes it a cinch to get to events. You can see what’s available within the map, then make your way to the next one with ease. That’s when you’ll hit the road and smash cars, all in the hopes of attaining a first-place win and moving on.

But, also like EA’s 2008 titan, Dangerous Driving 2 will have multiplayer. Whether you go split-screen with a friend or take on what the game has to offer online, you’ll find competition waiting around every corner. We didn’t get to see this in the single-player race event provided at PAX East, but it sounds incredibly promising if Three Fields can pull it off.

Here’s the thing about the open world, though – there are many possibilities to help you grab that first-place win. Along with ramming the competition and taking a victory, you can also find shortcuts and jumps. These can shave precious seconds off of your time and help you earn that victory. We didn’t see too many of these during the demo, but they do add possibilities to your run.

Racing against buddies

As mentioned, Dangerous Driving 2 will have the option to take on opponents in a number of ways. For party fans, there’s four-player split-screen. Here, you can see how each roadster is doing (without taking your eyes off the screen for too long, of course, as you might miss debris). It’s a good time, even if the screen is condensed compared to the single-player experience.

The real bet here is online, as you can find opponents while keeping the full display to yourself. Again, it’s not something we tested during the demo. But the first Dangerous Driving did this suitably well; the second go-around will likely follow suit.

Dangerous Driving 2

The classic controls you remember

Revolving back around to the gameplay, Dangerous Driving 2 feels remarkably fresh. There’s definitely something here that dials into the classic style of Burnout, just as the original game did. That’s because Three Fields consists of multiple team members that used to work at Criterion. They definitely bring the experience here.

You’ll want to learn various tactics when it comes to winning each race. This includes e-braking, where you manage to take tight corners without the risk of slamming into a wall. There’s also boost, which you can earn by performing daring feats in the game. Drifting feels quite natural, especially when it comes to getting around a really dangerous corner while not losing any of your momentum. And, finally, crashing.

This is probably one of the best things in the game, as it really dials into what made Burnout 3: Takedown work so well in the past. You ram cars at high speed over the course of the game, eventually wiping them out and increasing your boost meter. It was enough of a good time in the first Dangerous Driving, but it really bumps up here. And now that it’s an open world, you’ve got a lot more enemies on the open road. Better fill up your boost meter when you get a chance.

So, just how big is the game?

While the short demo didn’t give us an idea of how big Dangerous Driving 2‘s environment is, there was a hint provided. According to the developer, the game will cover 400 square kilometers, which is a good deal of space for a smaller title.

You’re going to cover a lot of ground here, which means a variety of racing challenges will be available. And that’s both alone or taking on friends in split-screen/multiplayer, which means you’ll be quite busy.

Revved up

There’s still a little bit of time before Dangerous Driving 2 releases later this year, but Three Fields has an excellent amount of promise behind it. Although the PAX East demo was on the short side, it demonstrated the chaotic racing style of the sequel very well. It feels like a neat little evolution to the first game, right down to the stunning wrecks. That, combined with the game’s promising open world, will really take it a long way.

Not to mention the possibilities of taking on friends both on the couch and online. With these, you have a game that should be worth doing more than a few laps with. And considering we don’t have a new Burnout game at the moment, we’ll take it with our racing gloves wide open.

Dangerous Driving 2 arrives this holiday season, and you can learn more about the original game here. There’s a good legacy here, nicely fitting in where Criterion’s series isn’t. At least, not yet.

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