STAFF REVIEW of Dangerous Golf (Xbox One)

Monday, June 20, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Dangerous Golf Box art When you're young you are told by your parents not to do certain things indoors. That includes not to break things and that outdoor sports should stay in the great outdoors. Now Three Fields Entertainment cracks open a beer, disregards all of that, and brings us Dangerous Golf, a game where you get to combine miniature golf but on a Burnout style destructive environment, and all of it indoors. Gone are the days where you had to putt your ball through a windmill or around a banking corner with a water hazard. Nope, instead your golfing experience is packed with explosions, destructible objects, more explosions, money, and more explosions. The price for this party is $20, but is it worth it? Let's light the candle on this and get the party started!

You heard me just then mention the game Burnout, and that's because I have to point out that some of the Burnout developers apparently have decided that they would be perfect to inject their punk rock style of destruction and mayhem into the world of Putt-Putt. As we go through this you'll start to see why this is strangely entertaining, but also at the same time, highly offensive. The premise of Golf is simple right? Get your ball in the hole in the fewest strokes possible. With Dangerous Golf though, things are a bit different, and I must say far more destructive then any golf game I have seen, or even played.

Dangerous Golf offers many modes of both online multiplayer and offline single player, but the meat of this game resides in the solo championships. This consists of playing multiple tournaments made up of varying holes in four different countries including the United States, Australia, England, and France. So instead of playing 18 holes of Australia and then being done with it completely, you may play hole 1 in Australia but hole 2 in the United States, hole 3 in France, and so on. This helps keep things fresh as a summer's breeze.

You're not offered any sort of guidance though because I'm guessing that the people at Three Fields Entertainment assume you know how to push the Left Stick forward to fire your shot, and the Right Stick to move the camera around. There are some guidelines in terms of the bonuses and shots you unlock, but nothing that is going to be taught to you, so like golf you will have a lot of trial and error. And when I say that I mean A LOT of trial, but a heck of A LOT more error.

One aspect of Dangerous Golf that you can see has been influenced by Burnout is the introduction of the Smashbreaker. You may recall Burnout offered a gameplay mechanic titled Crashbreaker, so already you can see where the similarities start, but they continue from there. After your initial putt, if your hole offers you a chance to have a Smashbreaker you press the B button and a direction on the Left Stick and it instantly becomes engulfed in an explosive flame allowing you to control its trajectory, destroying as much as you can in the allotted time before you putt to the hole.

You get only one putt so make sure that where ever you decide to finish up at the end of your Smashbreaker, that you're in a good enough position to at least make a shot towards the pin. The putting is quite forgiving so don't think the razor's edge of other Golf games. At times I've even managed to bank shots off of 6 different surfaces before finally settling in at the bottom of the hole.

Causing all this destruction can, at times, unlock money flags. These special flags can grant you cash bonuses that range from $10,000 (Silver Flags) to $50,000 (Platinum Flags). All of your rampaging gains you money, and when combined with bonuses from the money flags, and even your putt into the hole itself you'll earn some mullah. You can earn you massive bonuses such as $15,000 for a blind putt or a 6x ricochet shot for an additional $60,000. All this money does add up and you'll need it because if you want to achieve gold medal status or more you'll need to learn how to make the big bucks on a course. This is done through holding down the X button at the beginning to highlight scoring hints on how to obtain Smash Down bonuses of $50,000 or a Double Smash Down bonus of $100,000. Earn the cash on the course and the medal is yours. Can't get much simpler than that.

While the graphics are quite impressive for the environments, the real zest comes from the destruction of each individual level. Smashing through bathroom stalls and urinals, to collapsing an auto mechanic workshop, and even laying waste to an exquisite collection of priceless vases, grand pianos and suits of armor all bring about a guilty smile because you can see how simplistic this game truly is. That's not to say though that the graphics don't suffer at all. When you're talking a destructive environment, at any given time it's not uncommon to have over 20 pieces of the environment being manipulated simultaneously, then you will encounter a severe drop in the frame rate, but that is only because a small game like this has a hard time maintaining the physics of every piece of the level while in motion.

Dangerous Golf has one major fault, and that is the loading times in-between holes. Let's say you want to play a hole; well thanks to the graphic load on the game itself it takes at least 15 seconds to load, which may seem like a small amount of time but if you sit there and count to 15 you will realize that it's much longer than you originally thought. It's ok, go ahead and try it, I'll wait. So, now you know what you will experience every time you hit retry, or every time you move onto the next hole. Every 4 holes of Golf you play, you effectively spend at least 1 minute of your gameplay time waiting. Anyway you look at it, that's atrocious.

The faults keep coming too because thanks to the way Dangerous Golf's co-op works. The first player tees off and destroy items, which include key scoring targets, and when the second player steps up, the game puts all the key scoring targets back, but that's all. All the carnage would still be laid out, but for some reason this naturally hampers and hinders anyone playing second.

I originally stated that Dangerous Golf was priced at $20. Thanks to some of the game's missteps there is really no way I can tell you that this price is justified. Don't get me wrong, the simplistic core gameplay mechanic of destruction can provide hours of enjoyment, but there are also hours of waiting, and it is the latter point that takes away from the overall enjoyment of it. If the game is on sale in the near future, you could consider it, but until then you should just scroll on by this title when looking through the Xbox One digital store for a new game to play.

Overall: 5.0 / 10
Gameplay: 4.5 / 10
Visuals: 5.5 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10


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