Dangerous Golf PS4 Review
Publisher: Three Fields Entertainment Developer: Three Fields Entertainment Genre: Action
Players: 1-8 Age Rating: 3+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One
Remember the Crash mode in the Burnout games? Well, Dangerous Golf is very much like that but with a destruction-happy golf ball bouncing around indoor environments as opposed to a car speeding towards a busy road junction. It’s with little surprise that the game takes so much inspiration from this Burnout mode – some of the people that work for Three Fields Entertainment, the developer of the game, previously worked on the Burnout games at Criterion Studios.
The crash mode in Burnout was about being the instigator of as much chaos as possible, causing other innocent road users to be caught up in massive crashes. Dangerous Golf is also about causing chaos and destruction, although you destroy things such as fine China, toilets, suits of armour, champagne bottles, pianos, clocks, and much more in this one. Like Burnout though, it’s all about earning as high a score as possible.
The recent update has added in an in-depth tutorial video, which is helpful. Many Burnout fans will also be glad to learn that the voiceover in the video is DJ Stryker from Burnout 3, which gives the game yet another connection to the dormant racing series, if the whole destruction-based idea that powers the game wasn’t enough of a link already.
The level of destruction that you can cause in Dangerous Golf’s indoor environments is impressively detailed, with extremely satisfying physics and particle effects causing objects to break and others to spill everywhere, which results in the kind of mess that would have anyone’s mother screaming at them at the top of her lungs. The frame-rate does drop a little from time to time, although it’s only ever small bouts of slowdown, and a recent content-filled update has also made things more stable on this front compared to what it used to be. With this said, even with a huge amount of things happening at once the game generally remains pleasingly smooth, and the overall graphics are also mightily impressive. Accompanying the handsome visuals are some hard hitting sound effects, with gratifying sounds of objects crashing, smashing and blowing up. Other fun effects to be heard include drumbeats as the golf ball rolls around and slows down to a stop, the splish-splosh of paint as it spills everywhere, causing much damage, and the ‘ow’ of a statue as you strike it; some of these sound effects were added later to give Dangerous Golf a bit more humour as, surprisingly, it isn’t as overly wacky as you would think for a game about pure destruction.
Even though the game is a different kind of golf game, we are still playing golf, so each hole in Dangerous Golf begins with a tee shot, and I’m pleased to say that Three Fields Entertainment has added in more tee shot control in the latest patch of the game, allowing you to now pan the camera 360 degrees. This is the calm before the storm and the time in which you are now – thanks to the inclusion of Free Aim in the patch – able to decide what to aim for to start the chain of destruction that is about to occur, and once the ball is launched, it’s then up to you to explode it and steer its destructive path, smashing up as much as possible and causing severe damage to the contents of richly detailed places such as a dining room, kitchen, wine cellar, library, shop, castle, and more. Environments are spread across the likes of England, America, Australia and France, although the absence of a traditional English pub is a real shame.
Another thing added in the update was a simplified control scheme. Before the update, some people took a dislike to the prior control scheme, which had you controlling both the ball and the camera with both sticks, but the new simplified control scheme just has you using a single stick, which makes things a lot easier. The two-stick control does remain an option for those who want it though.
Like the CrashBreakers in Burnout’s Crash mode, Dangerous Golf has its own equivalent. The SmashBreakers are earned by hitting a necessary amount of objects, and as mentioned earlier, once the ball comes to a rest, you are then able to press a button to explode it, bouncing around and causing more damage to your surroundings, controlling the flight of the ball as it is followed by a fiery trail. This controlled flight lasts until the SmashBreaker meter is fully depleted. You can also slow down time (using Danger Time), allowing for extra precision to hit certain hard to reach objects and whatnot.
When the ball does eventually come to a rest or you just bring it to a stop yourself, Three Fields Entertainment has also added in the new SmashWave feature with the patch. The SmashWave allows you to blow the ball up once more, resulting in a smaller destructive shockwave, hopefully giving you a little boost to your final score and also allowing you to potentially clear the way for the final putt, though this unfortunately doesn’t always work, with objects still falling into your view. When it does come to sinking the ball into the hole, as long as the ball is lined up properly it doesn’t take too much skill, which some may take a disliking to, although the game encourages you to do various trick shots and rebounds in order to score extra points before the ball hopefully disappears down the hole. If you do manage to miss the hole during your putt attempt, half of your overall points are deducted at the end of the round. It’s a frustrating thing to happen, but this allows me to write about another pleasing fix in the recently released update: faster restarts. Restarting the game used to take a good 30 seconds or so, but it now only takes 2-3 seconds to get back to the action, which fits in with the quick fire ideals of the rest of the game, and makes restarts much less of a frustrating and lengthy wait.
The game never loses its focus on destruction, although at least Three Fields Entertainment has been kind enough to add at least a bit of variety here and there. Hazards such as fire are added to certain holes, and such hazards must be avoided at all costs; if the ball hits these, it results in instant failure. Bonus points are also available on some holes which are awarded to you if you take out every single one of a particular object, which can be highlighted by holding a hint button down. Money Flags are also available in some holes, allowing you to earn extra points if you are able to sink the ball into any of these before you aim for the final hole. Some holes also give you a time limit, which means that you must cause as much damage as possible, making sure you drop the ball in time to pop it into the hole. There are even some holes in which the ball sticks to places because of glue, others in which you are tasked with damaging specific objectives to reveal the location of the flag, and some have teleporters which magically transport you to other areas, and there’s even some that allow for an instant SmashBreaker when you hit certain objects. Finally, some holes present you with a lot of flags, and your objective is to sink the ball into as many holes as possible. There’s just enough variety here to keep things interesting enough without forgetting what the original intention was, which is to vandalise as much as possible with the naughty ball.
The camera is great when it’s working and shows a good view of the action for the most part, but I have found it messing up every now and then; when the ball gets too close to a wall for example. This can be frustrating, particularly if the ball is still in flight and you just can’t see what is going on. This is easily one of the game’s biggest flaws. Such a spectacular destruction-based game was also crying out for replays, and it’s a shame that they are absent, and, like me, you’ll probably be thinking to yourself “that deserved a replay” about certain shots and actions that you see happen in the game.
The mode in the game with the most depth is the World Tour mode, which can either be played alone or with another player in local play. If you opt for the latter option, you’ll be taking it in turns to tot up a combined final score either with two controllers or by sharing one between yourselves. Whether playing in single player or cooperative play, you need to earn at least a bronze medal to move onto the next challenge, although earning the highest possible platinum medal on each hole will become the lofty aim for some. It’s a lengthy mode, and is made even more so if you are on the hunt for those aforementioned platinum medals.
There’s obviously competitive local multiplayer outside the World Tour mode, and the game also has online multiplayer options. Online multiplayer can be played by up to 8 players at once, with all players competing simultaneously, although it’s basic at best. The issue here is that you are unable to see how your opponents are doing or any of the destruction that they are causing, with only simple on-screen text telling you a few basic things about how they are fairing as well as their final score on the hole being visible to you. Perhaps in this case less players would have been a better choice, as all too often it does feel as if you are playing on your own. With that said, while it’s enjoyable enough to compete against others online, it has its disappointing points as well. Local multiplayer is definitely the stronger component and undoubtedly the best way to play against others in the game.
Three Fields Entertainment were aiming for an arcade-like experience with Dangerous Golf, and with its fast and fun pick up and play action, they have succeeded in doing that and, even though there’s not a car in sight, the game is also a nice tribute to Burnout’s popular crash mode. With that said, if you are looking for a relaxing round of golf, then you certainly won’t find it here, and it changes up the rules of the sport in drastic ways. Even though the camera and online multiplayer could be better, thanks to spectacular physics, beautiful visuals and the latest crowd pleasing update, the extensive damage that you are able to cause with a single golf ball never fails to not be fun. Just one more thing to add: please do not try this at home!