Dangerous Golf: Cool Concept, Boring Execution

Crash mode was a divisive addition to Burnout, and you either loved it or hated it. Personally, it's what really brought me into the Burnout series; it felt like a series of destructive puzzles. Dangerous Golf, a new game from a group of Burnout vets, is an attempt to make a whole game out of it. "Holes" in this warped take on golf take place in kitchens, petrol stations and fancy dining rooms. Your goal is to smash the ball around and break as many things as possible, though ultimately ending up in the hole. (If you miss the putt, your score is cut in half, essentially killing it.) Like Burnout, you're able to launch the object (this time a golf ball instead of a car) in a direction to start, then initiative a special power-up called "smashbreaker" to gently guide the ball around for more points.

You have access to other power-ups, too, such as a pistol putt that allows you to shoot the ball in a specific direction, including up and down. Given that you're rewarded for trick shots that involve putting the ball off the wall -- crucial for getting the tricky platinum medals -- you'll need to take advantage of these tools in order to nab the game's higher scores.

On the surface, Dangerous Golf sounds exactly like my kinda game, but after a few hours, I had trouble mustering the energy to boot it up again. For all the fancy explosions, Dangerous Golf is surprisingly boring. The places you're destroying are static and lifeless, lacking the (disturbing?) charm of Burnout's pretty vehicles getting crushed into oblivion.

It doesn't help the game makes it frustrating to experiment. It takes way, way too long to retry a hole; there's no way to instantaneously start over! Instead, players have to wait for the game to load the level again, which feels like an eternity after the second or third time you've done it. This usually meant I was quickly moving onto the next hole, instead of perfecting it. This oversight is basically inexcusable for a game like this.

Dangerous Golf is available for the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I only played the game on PC, though, and PC owners should be careful. This game is one hell of a demanding physics simulation, which probably explains why the game is locked at 30 frames-per-second when you boot it up. (You can flip this off.) Even with my relatively new CPU and GTX 970, still a pretty powerful graphics card, this game was chugging along. That's bizarre, even if the destruction is pretty.

That's not the only problem on PC. The game is only playable with a gamepad; there's literally no support for mouse and keyboard! That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Even though a gamepad is probably the ideal way to play the game, why not give PC players options? The developers are getting justifiably raked over the coals on Steam over this.

I had other technical issues, as well. The game refused to stay in full screen mode, weirdly stretching the images unless I forcibly put it into windowed mode by pressing Alt + Enter. Here's what it looked like:

Some of should get cleaned up in patches, but it was definitely annoying.

Dangerous Golf is a brilliant concept, but the game doesn't live up to that promise. I wanted to like Dangerous Golf way more than I did. Bummer.


Comments

    Wow. Their updates page was pretty quick to acknowledge the complaints.
    Looks like KB&M support coming out shortly, as well as bug-fixes.

    I wonder if they'll take on board the complaint about needing to make it quick and easy to retry/reset for experimentation...

      They've said they can't "fix" the restart times as it's a mixture of loading a shit load of physics as well as an engine limitation. They have already had a moan on Twitter about journalists complaining about the long load times!

        Heh. 'Having a moan' about a legitimate hindrance to enjoyment... great attitude. Ah well. That's a shame.

    Crash mode was a divisive addition to Burnout, and you either loved it or hated it.
    Wait, there are actually people out there who hated Burnout's crash mode? Have they no soul?

      That was my first entry to the series and I thought the rest of the series was like that. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered it was just some boring old racing game franchise. :P

      I wasn't a fan of the later versions of it :P

      Burnout 2 was ace though.

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