As deep as my gaming knowledge takes me into my memory, there was a time when there was no other game but 4×4 EVO 2. Then there was an era of Spintires series when they took over the world with their title of MudRunner. Today, we stand witness to the release of the newest title in the Spintires Series, SnowRunner. I wonder what life feels like to driver around in a world where your biggest enemy is nature itself.
SnowRunner is developed by the Saber Interactive and it is a sequel to the MudRunner. Honestly speaking, there is not much of a difference between the two titles, only that the SnowRunner is more thrilling, more challenging, and it comes with a whole new set of challenges.
In this review, we will be discussing our experience of SnowRunner on the PlayStation4, its graphics, and if it was really worth the wait.
What a Heavy Haul it is!
The game takes place in the mountainous regions of America. The beginning of the game will put you in the wetlands of Michigan and your off-roading skills will be put to the test immediately. You will find yourself sitting in an old Chevrolet truck with a muddy terrain in front of you. Yes, that’s right! The name of the game is a little misleading and snowy terrains would not be all that you would be driving on. Anyways, the game will start giving you tutorials as soon as you jump into the driving seat.
Several off-roading features are present in the game and they seem very realistic. Mainly, the features are dependent on the machine that you’re riding. There are around forty different vehicles to choose from. These range from trucks and vans to 18-wheelers and other heavy machinery. However, the basic controls remain the same in all of the vehicles. You will have the option of shifting from high range gears to low range gears in almost all of the vehicles available in the game. The low range gears will reduce your speed, but it is the only way to get through difficult terrain. High range gears on the other hand, are designed for highway use. To switch between the gears all you need to do is to press L1 and then use your right analog to choose through them. Here you have it, off-roading made easy! There will be trucks that may offer you all-wheel drives, whereas, others may not. Having that said, not all kinds of vehicles that are present in the game are multipurpose. Each type of vehicle can perform a specific purpose. Taking a heavy rear-wheel truck on to a muddy terrain is a death wish. Be careful of the vehicle you decide to take on a specific terrain. You will need to have information on your rig, especially its weight to power ratio. You cannot take sudden turns on huge 18-wheelers, this might cause them to topple over and throw off their load.
Another interesting detail about the game is that you have to be aware of the depth of the water if you are crossing a river. You cannot cross all kinds of rivers, and the game will warn you about the depth of the water body if you attempt to do something daring like that. Not listening to the warnings will either cause you to roll over with the pressure of the water or just get stuck in it. Talking of getting stuck, if you are stuck somewhere and your rig is still running you can make use of the winch that is present upfront. The driver will not step out of the truck in any possible scenario. Hence, to tie a winch all you need to do is activate it, locate a post/tree nearby and the winch will tie itself. I did not come across any hurdle that could not be solved with the help of a winch. You’re also required to keep an eye on the fuel gauge of your truck, it’s not meant to stay up and running forever if you don’t give it some juice. There will be fuel stations by the side of the road that you could use for a fill-up. The thing that bugged me here was that each fuel station had a boundary, a big one I must say, and if you are anywhere in the boundary you can just press a button and fill up your tank. This might be an easier process, but this is not how things work in real life. But considering the fact that you cannot control your driver during the game, the developers had their hands tied with the real-life examples that they could bring into the game. The shifting between the rigs happens within the flick of an eye. Since the driver cannot step out, and they cannot walk over to the other rig, they just instantly change their rig.
Several customizations are also available for the vehicles. You can upgrade the suspension or build a more powerful engine. You can also customize the truck for more aesthetics. There is a wide range of colors and decals available that you can have on your truck. You can also add the newer and fancier rims to your rig, but do not get your hopes up regarding the rims that are available. The rims are to build a work truck, not a show truck. The customizations would be unlocked after you unlock the garage at the very beginning of the game.
The main purpose of the game is nothing but to drive around and enjoy a pure off-roading experience. Three major regions are available for you to explore. While you’re on the way to explore more and more, you will find more customizations for your trucks, make new contracts, and get new jobs. The jobs would be more or less related to delivering a certain item from point A to point B. These jobs may require you to deliver goods, deliver heavy machinery, rescue other stuck up trucks, or deliver construction material that could help the community at large, like the building material for reconstructing a bridge. You are under no obligation to perform a particular job at a particular time. You can undertake them in any order and at any given time you wish to perform them.
As you explore further into the wild, the percentage of the land explored in each region would increase and you will be shown this percentage on the menu.
The graphics of the game could not be any better. The tire tracks left on the ground after you travel over them are an amazing attention to detail. In case you decide to travel over the same piece of mud that you have traveled before, there would be new tire tracks and the mud would sink even deeper, making it more difficult for you to cross it the second time, especially if you are not careful about your approach angles. During the very beginning of the game I had to get my bum bumped inside of an old GMC diesel truck, and the fumes it left out of its exhaust as I accelerated, could not be any more realistic. The weather also plays a huge role in your driving experience. Rainy days would leave the terrain even more squashy and slippery for you to cross.
A huge amount of attention and detailing has been given to the sound effects as well. The engine noises of old diesel rigs and the hissing sounds of the pressure brakes are a melody to the ears for those who have had past experiences in driving heavy machinery and off-roading them.
The game also comes equipped with a co-op mode if you wish to share the joy of off-roading with your friends.
Better let that F-350 in your garage stay clear of all the mud and the hassle. Since while playing SnowRunner, you’ll be experiencing something similar to what your off-roading life was all about.