1C has recently released the new 4 X 4 game “Off Road Drive”. It was definitely not what we expected as the game has a lot more detail and depth than any other off road styled game we have come across. We ran it through our tests to see how the game has turned out.
Off Road Drive is now available from Amazon, Steam, Direct2Drive, 1C’s Store and all other good online and retail stores. If you live outside America and would like to buy from Amazon you can read how.
Off Road Drive is clearly aimed at the 4 X 4 enthusiast and will do an excellent job at pleasing that market. While I wouldn’t call the game play style arcade and it is not a full simulation either, it is definitely heavily weighted to the Off Road Simulator genre in my opinion. The game starts you off with a basic SUV Off Road vehicle and gets you adjusted to the controls through a nice tutorial. If the game didn’t have that tutorial I would have been completely lost as there is a lot more depth to the game than what I was expecting. Off Road Drive isn’t about slamming the gas and pulling the handbrake around corners for 3 laps. Theres Tyre pressures to be adjusted, differentials to lock, spring heights to maintain and winches to tie on each map. If you just hit the accelerator and hope to get a good time out of this you will be stopped in your tracks, literally! Unless you use the right method at the right time you just wont get passed the level as your 4WD will be stuck in mud or wont get over that ditch.
Off Road Drive offers 6 regions to race in across the world, with each region having several levels and race styles to complete. Each has its own feel and the map design does give you that feeling of a new challenge in a new territory each time. The game has 6 territories to discover including,
- South Africa
- USA (North California)
In total there are 42 off-road tracks with 20 off-road SUVs to choose from. These include race vehicles and custom-built unique prototypes too. As I mentioned earlier, there is some vehicle customization thrown in there as well so you can play with things like paint, suspension, tire type and size. There is also a vehicle damage system in the game so you cant just go crazy hitting everything as it will not only add extra time to your laps but will also affect the car. There is multiplayer support in the game so that will add some longevity to the game through 4 player LAN and Internet multiplayer
So with that out of the way, lets hit the road shall we (that was the lamest pun if I say so myself).
Eyefinity is unfortunately not supported at all. The game loaded up fine under the standard resolution of 1920 *1200, but when we went into the menu to adjust the graphics controls and bump them up-to 6020 X 1920, the menu was stretched across the screen and we could no longer see anything properly. While the game allowed us to choose Eyefinity resolutions, we couldn’t play with Eyefinity on as we couldn’t get out of the menu. Alt-Tab worked fine as we were able to get in and out of the game within a few seconds and had no issues. For audio we were using the G35 Logitech headphones but unfortunately there was no option to use 7.1 or 5.1. The audio settings were just the standard options of adjusting music, voice etc. We found the sound of the engine a tad annoying. When you get stuck in mud or are trying to go up a vertical hill, the engine hits the red line on the tachometer, as soon as that happened the engine sound effects hit an annoying buzz which made us turn the volume down. Hopefully that is something that can be improved in later patches. Environmental sound effects weren’t too bad as you could hear hyenas in Africa and birds in rainforests through Malaysia, while nothing over the top, there was some effort put into creating some atmosphere.
As the game takes you across different parts of the world the settings change to go along with it. Through Africa you get the sun burned dusty tracks with sandpits, where as in Malaysia you get a really nice looking rainforest layout with rivers, creeks and vertical walls in which you need to time your winch skills to make sure you can make it up without snapping your line.
The first few maps are in a lap configuration and get you used to changing the the differentials while racing and using the winch when stuck. As you move into other parts of the world, you are then introduced into Point A to Point B races which I found more fun. Lots of great scenery and challenges through rock walls, verticals climbs and drops and slippery riverbeds to get through.
While the graphics did not overheat our graphics cards they were definitely not ugly either. The game seemed to be locked to around the 60 FPS mark for us so we arent sure if it was a setting we missed somewhere? The way in which it has been setup however I think was a smart move by 1C. The kind of gamer I see playing this is going to be more of a 4 X 4 driver in real life and is going to be looking for a game that recreates his\her 4X4 off road adventures. So I imagine that their system isnt going to be the latest graphics card or the latest processor, so if you have an average system, the game will run fine for you, no need to upgrade to enjoy this one. If you have a high end machine the game will look extra nice for you.
Sometimes the physics side of things were a let down as water seemed to be very flat and just covered the whole car when you went through deep water, but id say the person who likes this game is going to be putting more of an emphasis on the different challenges the game presents for driving, not nit picking the graphics.
When we tested this at 1920 *1200 we averaged 60 FPS throughout the whole level, and that’s with all the settings at high. When we bumped that down to medium and low we also got 60 FPS so it may be the game is locked to that setting.
We tested Off Road Drive with the Logitech G25 steering Wheel, Clutch and Manual Shifter. The game has built in support for the G25 wheel in addition to several other wheels, the Xbox 360 controller and the standard keyboard and mouse setup. Due to having the support already there, we didn’t have to adjust any buttons or change any configurations which was great.
We tried Manual, Semi-Automatic and Automatic and felt semi-automatic was the best setup. While many may like playing in full manual mode, we found that unlike other car games where you can change the gears without using the clutch, this game was not as forgiving. Off Road Drive forces you to use the clutch at all times. One part of me hated this, if i didn’t get the clutch pressed and released at just the right time, my car would sit there in the wrong gear or I would fall back down the climb. The flip side to this is if you are a person who enjoys every bit of realism, then you will love it. If you don’t get it right, you pay the price. So whether that is good or bad ill let you decide.
The rumble effect that is fed back to the wheel added some feel to the maps and was done well on some levels while on other maps there was little to no feedback at all or too much. A bit of a mixed bag really. In some areas of maps, going over the mounds and hills it would shake the wheel in just the right way, as soon as you hit the gravel and sand, you knew about it with the perfectly timed feedback, on others it was missing that same feedback. Overall though, the steering wheel support has been done nicely as we didn’t really have to adjust anything, just plug it in, load it up, select our car setup and play.
Well there really isn’t much that can go wrong here, its a car game. There is no foul language and nothing to be offended by, so if you want a nice clean fun game for you or the kids, you can find it here.
So should you buy this game?
Well my question to you would be, do you like off road driving? If yes, my next question is would you like an Off Road Sim game? If yes again then I would say yep, this game is for you and you will definietly enjoy it.
If your the kind of off roader that’s looking for a game where you can adjust your springs and height before the game, change your Tyre pressure to match the country and style of road you are off to, enjoy making sure your engine is in low gear before you hit that mud then pull your self out over the hill with your winch, all within the same minute, you have just found your ultimate game.
On the other hand, if you just want a game that you can load, adjust some pretend settings that will make little to no difference to your car and then just hit accelerate for the whole 3 laps without breaking, its best you move on, this game isn’t for you.
Its really in between an arcadey off road game and a off road 4X4 sim game that 1C have decided to go for with Off Road Drive. If thats what 1C was hoping to achieve then they have succeeded in delivering a game that people from that niche will enjoy.
Muslim Gamer Score 8.0
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