Mud, Sweat and Tears. Off-Road Drive Review.
Mud, Sweat and Tears, is the one term which comes to my mind when I think of this game. The developers of Off-Road Drive pride themselves with a realistic “terrain” simulation, and it is there. When your Off-Road truck drives into the mud you can see your vehicle sinking into the substance, leaving a clear trail of your journey, which does not also look good but it is also very important when you try to get out of said mud. Every bump and irregularity on the road is a clear signal for you to slow down, and adjust your vehicle’s settings on the go to drive steadily over the obstacle. Mud, of course, is not your only concern. There can be very hilly terrain, water, rain and even seemingly ordinary “clean road” is an obstacle in itself since you car could easily drive off the edge of the track into the terrain below if you think speed is of the essence.
Off-Road Drive is not about speed. It might be a hard lesson, but it is the lesson. A lot of the terrain cannot be traversed if you drive at it at full speed. Even if you do manage to hop over the hill impressively you could fly off into the distance, and off the track. Sometimes you just have to know the obstacles before hand, experienced them on a previous track or race to realise what you have to do inside your car in order to pass it. Here the best prizes go for a combination of controlled speed and quick thinking. It pays off to know the car you are driving, since none of the cars are the same, and each one will fit a different race in a number of ways, while suffer weaknesses at certain obstacles.
The game is demanding, but friendly. Aside from a tutorial that will show you the most common obstacles, how to use different types of equipment in your car, and when to use them depending on your obstacles, along each race there will be also helpful hints, telling you what you should do in order to pass the next obstacle, or when to slow down down, change your gear, etc. Even if you are a “Child of NFS” the Off-Road Drive will ease you into the Off-Road world. There are checkpoints before each obstacle, so with one quick button press you can give said obstacle a go again, and if this effects your overall race performance, restart the race.
Here a mention on the “Single player” Career mechanics. This game is about races and tournaments. In order to play on more maps or use different cars you need to improve your career score. This in turn is improved by participating in tournaments and reaching first place in every one of the races. You still gain points for lower places, however in order to get the 100/100 you need to win each race. It is not hard to unlock new cars and maps at first, however if you aim at fully completing the game it could take you a while. Some races will call for you to follow specific rules. Such as, you will have to use a specific vehicle type or not be able to use some type of equipment available to your car. This only adds a bit more “spice” to your day-to-day races and give you new challenges, rather than doing the same grind over and over again.
The game poses some problems however. First of all, it is clearly not for everybody. Despite giving you the chance to learn everything from the basics up if you are impatient or were looking for a cheap thrill the game will disappoint you. Another problem which I faced myself is that this game, like many other racing simulators is much easier with a steering wheel, rather than just a keyboard. This is because on a keyboard turning and the pedal are “chaotic”, and making even minimal corrections on a straight road could make you turn much more in either direction than you wished. The same goes for speed. If you want to drive slower at a constant speed the keyboard does not offer such a function. You either press the pedal down, or let it go. It is not impossible to race with a keyboard, but a Wheel and pedals make life much easier.
In Summary, this is a worthy Simulator. It has eye catching graphics, realistic physics and of course, it is all about off-road. The wide choice of vehicles will allow you to enjoy each race a bit differently, and the more specific races will offer a unique challenge to your abilities and skills. The game will teach you and guide you through the races when you are uncertain what to do, and once you get a hang of it all, you will plough through the mud and water while listening to the highly energetic music which will make you want to put on your goggles each time you sit down behind the wheel. This said, if you plan on using only your keyboard and mouse the game could be difficult, but not impossible. Even a basic Wheel and Pedals will allow you to enjoy the game much more, and if you are already a racing enthusiast or just a starter it will be the necessary piece of gear for all your future racing purchases. There is also a multiplayer, allowing you to play via Internet or LAN, so whether alone or with friends you are bound to enjoy this game greatly.
Alex “WriterX” Bielski
Very good graphics
Interesting Music Choice
Not for everybody
|Game producer's website:||1C Publishing|
|Official website:||Off-Road Drive|
|Game available at:|