Dangerous Golf comes from ex-Burnout developers. Three Fields Entertainment announced the game back earlier in the year and I was excited to see what the game had to offer as I used to love the Burnout franchise. The game focuses on creating as much havoc and damage as possible within confined settings.
The development team mainly consists of people from Criterion classic games like Black and Burnout. This is very clear from the get go as the destruction and slow motion mayhem is reminiscent of the chaos in those games. Golf is the loose game tied into the destruction and sees you having to putt the ball after destroying objects in each area.
The game has four different locations that include an English castle, a French chateau, an Australian gas petrol station and an American diner. Within these areas you face a series of courses or rooms where you have to putt the ball after causing as much damage as possible to get high scores. It may sound fairly shallow and uninteresting but the game does actually have some interesting mechanics and ideas.
I started out in the French chateau and the first thing you will notice is that there are lots of objects and items like tables, dinnerware, paintings, glasses and many other breakable things that fill the rooms. Each area you visit have items that feel part of that world, for example in the Australian petrol station there are gas pumps, containers filled with oil and mechanical parts. The themed areas you visit have multiple rooms to play through and there are 100 in total., so there’s plenty to do and tonnes of stuff to smash-up if you’re feeling rowdy. The idea is to play through each stage and attempt to obtain the highest score you can to earn various medals that range from bronze to platinum.
The main mode is called the Solo World Tour mode, which is the one with the 100 stages and 10 tours. It’s a golf game or crazy golf game on a very basic level and the destruction element is what the game is really about. If you have ever played Burnout Crash Mode, then you will already have an understanding of how the game plays. In a basic level you get three shots, the first from the tee-off position, the second is the Smashbreaker shot and the third is the putt. The most interesting and fun shot is the Smashbreaker. Like in Burnout Crash Mode this sees you control the ball (or car) in slow motion and this time on fire. You have full control of the ball and can use its momentum to guide it on a destructive path.
The Smashbreaker shot has a meter or bar that slowly drains, giving you a certain amount of time to cause as much damage as possible in order to boost up your final score. This was always my favourite part of the Burnout game but it doesn’t quite work as well here and I think it’s because there are no other moving objects. In Burnout there would be buses, cars and other moving objects to collide with. It’s still fun in Dangerous Golf but it doesn’t have quite the same impact. The next important shot is the putt which can make or break your total score. If you don’t putt the ball, your points total will be halved.
The game does a good job of giving you plenty of opportunities to raise your total score and some fun objectives. The four locations you visit feel varied enough and have different objects that keep things entertaining but the gameplay itself becomes a little stale and repetitive after a while. That’s not really a surprise though as the Crash Mode in Burnout was only a small mode within the actual game. I still had some fun causing destruction in this game but certainly not to the same level as I did in Burnout. It may also be important to note that I played Burnout when I was a lot younger and therefore this game may appeal to a younger audience.
The presentation of the game looks great, with some impressive visuals, graphics and physics. As you cause mayhem, especially in slow motion, there is plenty of detail and its satisfying to see delicate objects being shattered into hundreds of pieces in slow motion. I especially enjoyed the Smashbreaker shot as the ball turns into a small fireball that blazes through plates, tables and glasses with great effect. The sound design also works well and it adds even more feeling of chaos as items shatter. The soundtrack in the main menus also reminded me of old school arcade games and other games from my childhood like Burnout and even Tony hawk games.
Unfortunately, I did have a handful of issues with the game which really holds it back and stops it from being more enjoyable. Firstly, the framerate can be a stuttering mess at times and with a game that has so much focus on precision and slow motion action it feels fairly bad at times. I’m often able to overlook framerate drops as long as it doesn’t impact the gameplay or feel intrusive to the experience.
The game also crashed on me once but hasn’t happened since. I imagine the framerate drops are dues to the sheer amount of chaos and destruction happening within a small area. I played the game on my PC, which is pretty decent, running on a GTX 970, 16GB RAM and Intel i5 but I still had very unstable performance issues. I’m interested to see how the game runs on consoles. Mentioning consoles, it’s also important to note that you need to play the game with a controller, which I didn’t mind as it suits the gameplay, but I can see some players finding this annoying. The last issue I found was with the camera itself. The stages take place in closed in environments with lots of tightly compacted environments. The camera would awkwardly move around the room following the ball and I often found the camera would almost scrape against walls and generally felt very clumsy at times.
Overall I enjoyed my time with Dangerous Golf for a short period and it can be a lot of fun if you’re willing to overlook some terrible performance issues. The game has plenty of stages and destructible environments to play through but unfortunately the gameplay becomes fairly repetitive pretty quickly. It’s a game that feel better in short bursts, maybe playing two or three stages at a time. The destruction is satisfying but not to the same level of enjoyment I got from playing the burnout Crash Mode. If you’re looking for a game that’s easy to jump into, plenty of stages and a wide variety of objects to destroy in slow motion then you may enjoy giving this a go, just don’t expect a game with much depth.
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