Review :: Off-Road Drive

Colin McRae would be sad...

Written by Super User

Published Sunday, 09 October 2011 20:00

Write your own review !

Video games have been blurring the line between entertainment and realism for years. Popular racers such as Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport have shown us that professional drivers aren’t the only ones who should have the opportunity to experience what true racing is like. When executed properly, this can result in a challenging yet satisfying experience, but sometimes realism can be a bad thing. In Off-Road Drive for the PC, for example, the lifelike off-roading adventure is too slow and frustrating for the typical racing fan to enjoy.

As the name suggests, Off-Road Drive follows a generic racer on his quest to become the off-road king. 1C-Avalon didn’t take any shortcuts when it comes to realism either; if it can happen in real life, chances are it can happen here. For instance, the cars interact heavily with the terrain, meaning you can sink in mud and create a rut in the track. Your garage will be comprised of a large variety of vehicles, including SUVs, prototype models, and heavy duty trucks. Instead of just needing to select the right vehicle for the job, tuning options can significantly impact how your ride handles based upon the environment. Car weight will effect how your vehicle impacts the terrain, and adjusting your suspension properly before the race could determine whether or not you can even make it through extremely hilly passageways.

The tuning options before each race are elaborate, and unless you consider yourself a car aficionado, you probably won’t have any idea what you’re doing. Most racers that offer tuning features include them just to appease the real race freaks; your average gamer can ignore them completely and still complete the career mode without being at a major disadvantage. Unfortunately, fine-tuning before the race isn’t the only aspect of the game that requires an extensive background in mechanics.

Even though it’s still technically possible to complete the career mode without fine-tuning your ride, having no knowledge of off-road vehicles whatsoever will put you at a frustratingly high disadvantage. This is because a majority of the obstacles you face will require you to adjust your vehicle’s settings on the fly. If you’re driving through thick, muddy terrain, then the only way you can make it through is by manually shifting to a lower gear. Switching between 2WD and 4WD is a must, otherwise you’ll find yourself in a motionless state of spinning your wheels. Adjusting your front and rear differentials is a necessity for terrain that changes slope constantly, and sometimes you even need to use a winch in order to pull your vehicle up an abnormally steep hill!

For the truest of off-roading fans, all of these features may seem awesome to have them featured in a game, but for everybody else outside of this niche, prepare to be greatly disappointed in how this racer plays out. Off-Road Drive offers some of the slowest, mundane, and head-bangingly frustrating driving we’ve experienced in a very long time. Unlike a title such as Colin McRae’s Dirt that has you fly on off-road courses at tremendous speeds, here you’ll rarely find yourself travelling faster than your standard interstate speed-limit. The majority of the challenge revolves around navigating your way through the terrain, and overcoming obstacles, and is too unforgiving to be fun for almost anybody.

Despite the excruciating painful controls, the game itself actually looks fairly sharp. Based off of the Unreal 3 Engine, you can expect a high level of detail without needing top-of-the-line components to maintain a decent framerate. The various environments all have their unique charm, and the environment responds heavily to the pain that you put it through. The landscapes look scenic and picturesque, and because the majority of the game is played through in first or second gear, you’ll have plenty of time to pick up on all of the little nuances.

Final Focus

Off-Road Drive for the PC takes the simulation aspect of racing to a whole new level, but sadly this amount of realism will be a huge turn-off for the majority of the gaming population. If you don’t own a 4x4 already and don’t find yourself "going mudding" in your spare time, there’s only a small chance that you’ll enjoy this title. The pace is mind-numbingly slow, maneuvering your way around obstacles is dull and unforgiving, and the difficulty is so ramped up that no amount of tutorials and guidance will help even a semi-experienced racer finish a lap with a smile on their face. Unless you’ve been dying to experience off-roading but can’t afford the ride in real life, your best bet is to skip this release altogether.


+ Level of realism is great for die-hard fans + Great visuals that don’t require top-of-the-line systems
- Gameplay pace is mind-numbingly slow - Maneuvering over obstacles is mostly frustrating - Even experienced racers will feel overwhelmed

Final rating
6.2 / 10
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Game details
Off-Road Drive
Release date :
Platform :
Publisher : 1C Company
Developer : 1C Company
Gameplay : Racing

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