It's taken some false starts (and a bizarre indoors destructo-golf game) to get here, but Dangerous Driving is out now and a clear tribute to the earlier, more arcade-like Burnout games. Developed by ex-Criterion developers at Three Fields Entertainment, it's a solo (multiplayer is due later as free DLC) arcade racer where you're best off driving through your opponents. I've fond memories of spending many an hour in Burnout 2 and 3, accelerator jammed down, plunging into oncoming traffic, breaking only to side-swipe my foes. Below, a crash-happy launch trailer.
A little bizarrely, Dangerous Driving doesn't feature Burnout's iconic bonus Crash Mode, presumably to give their earlier Danger Zone (all crashing, all the time) games some room to breathe. Still, it does feature most other modes from Burnout, plus a few extra twists. Traditional races, Elimination (player in last explodes after each lap) and even a mode where you - as a cop - try to ram people off the road are in. There's 69 total events, each with various score targets to shoot for, split across nine event types.
The game isn't short on tracks. 31 courses across seven environments, based on American national parks, which makes for some scenic backdrops you'l barely notice as you rocket past them. As with Burnout 2 and 3, most of the time you'll be holding down your boost button to buzz along at over 200mph, the screen focused into a tunnel by some familiar post-processing blur effects. Smack into anything from behind or the side while boosting and they go skyward, rewarding you with more boost, although collisions with oncoming traffic are an immediate, spectacular failure.
It doesn't appear to be the highest-budget game, lacking multiplayer at present (due as a free update later) and short on some of Burnout's UI sheen, but the crumpling, tumbling cars and trailing particle sparks look nice. The game also has Spotify integration (if you have a Premium account), compensating for the lack of EA's boundless music licensing budget. Three Fields even provide their own choice soundtrack, plus recreations of the earlier Burnout's music. It's a clever way around the limits of not having a huge publisher, and one I'd be interested to see other devs mimic.