Date: Tuesday, January 26 @ 11:04:04 EST
Topic: Racing Game Reviews
This is not a new game, It came out in 2008 and I'm fucking MAD at this game. Why? This could have become a kick ass game, but it rather became the stereotypical driving game of the 2000's: More style, less substance. It is a mediocre, cheap ass offroad game, but still has it's moments and can be fun sometimes.
WTF do you expect? This is a racing game.
Anyway the game takes place on the so called "Wastelands" sometime in the future, somewhere in America. By that time, the global warming has already fucked up the weather conditions of the Earth, All the people moved to places where modern technology serves them with alternative energy sources, but some have remained on the wastelands, to use it as their free playground by burning some fuel.
So here is a game from the french developers Asobo, with moody, disturbingly realistic catastrophe stricken environments: Burned down forests with black skies and grey grass, abandoned vehicles and torn treebranches lying around on the roads, seashores turned into deserts. So the mood is very well set.
The whole Wastelands area is broken into 19 sections, all of them have a base camp where you can access races and challenges in the game. Luckily you don't have to travel your ass or jump back to the local camp to pick up a race. Even if you want to change your vehicle in free roam mode, you can do that on the fly from the menu in a moment. There is also a "one click on/off" 3d gps system that always leads you to the next checkpoint if you need help navigating. These are quite nice touches and can be helpful.
There is nothing special about the races: Checkpoints, lap races etc. Some take place in severe weather conditions, which might sound serious but really there is ONE RACE where your vehicle is not safe from the weather, namely the one when you have to drive in a tornado storm which is fucking exciting. See the video:
Maybe Raid and Endurance races are the most fun challenges because you choose how you would like to reach the next checkpoint: you can follow your GPS or even drive straight trough the fields, as the crow flies instead. However most of them turns quite boring after a while because you can get miles ahead of your opponents. While in some races the AI is quite smart and uses shortucts extensively, most of the times it's so fucking lame.
The driving is quite arcade shit, there is not even manual gear shifting in this game. All the vehicles handle quite ok, except the quads. I've never driven a quad before, but if driving a real quad sucks as much as in this game, than I don't want to ride one, ever in my life.
You buy vehicles by trading fuel for them, you earn fuel by winning races, (or by hitting smaller, white fuel barrels lying around) it's that simple. All the vehicles in this game are fictional, which I really don't mind, I don't feel the urge to drive a Nissan Skyline in games anyway.
The developers were so proud that they've put 14000 squarekilometres of area into the game. My question: What for? The environments are really fucking huge and diverse, but really there is nothing to be done here, no sense to roam the lands:
1. You can discover new skins for your vehicles.
But when you unlock the position of a Doppler truck by winning a race, you can hunt it down, smash into it, then all of the liveries in an area get discovered. What is the point of this? Okay, it forces you to roam the area and reach a moving vehicle in the distance by planning your route, but the whole purpose is just lame.
2. Vista points - this is even lamer. These are just points in the game that are quite hard to reach but you can enjoy a great sight of the terrain from these locations. Thats all! There are also vista point doppler trucks. What for?
3. Challenge doppler trucks: You can uncover all the challenges in an area. At least this is useful but it still ruins the whole adventure of discovery.
That's all you can do in free ride mode besides collecting fuel barrels from the SAME set of pre-built buildings that are scattered troughout the game.
The graphics look really awesome, maybe the game engine is the same as in the other Codemasters racing games. I'm not sure. It's a cool feature to change the appearance of your driver, as you see his ass quite a lot in the game. You can wear a military, hockey or even a paintball helmet instead of the boring moto helmets. By the way he whole art design screams: "Badass!"
However the physical interaction beween the environment and the vehicles is just fucking awful, it simply blows.
Mainly wo kinds of interactions exist in this game: You drive trough bushes as if they were not even there, or you smash into smaller trees that are even able to stop fucking monstertrucks! This simply just shits into the whole concept of offroad racing where the whole point should be to ram through forests with your big ass machine. At least the debris, fences and the vehicle junks respond appropriately to collissions, thank God.
The music and sound in this game is also subpar really. The music is so boring and repetitive you might wanna spill molten lead into your ears rather then listen to this. You don't get bigger pleasure when you turn off music, because the engine noises are awful, and there are barely any ambient noises in this game. Seriously, I could count on my two hands the number of the environment noises I've heard in this game.
It's quite fun to play in small doses for a few hours, hard mode races are quite challenging, but it could have been much better.