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is an Intel® award winning off-road driving experience designed to challenge the player's driving skill and endurance. read more

Spintires: MudRunner Review (PS4)

Author: Michael Keener
21-Nov-2017

Category: Review

The thrill and stress of spinning tires on the backroads in mud is now brought to your tv. Take control of oversized trucks, carry out jobs, complete objectives, and tear up the Siberian lands. Try not to destroy the truck though please. With a full single player experience and the option to bring up to 3 friends into the mix, there's a lot of crazy times to be had here.

MudRunner: Spintires PS4 Review

Introduction

I'm not sure what is more strange; how these simulation games can be a lot of fun, or that developers seem to never run out of ideas. It's exciting to see how such a simple occurrence in the real world can translate into a fun to play video game. That's not to say every simulation game is good though. For every good one there's at least two ridiculously horrible ones. Spintires: Mudrunners, developed by Saber Interactive and published by Focus Home Interactive, delivers a game that pushes the boundaries on what it means to off road, by slowing down the action, and emphasizing the mechanics of operating a big and tough truck. Whether you're a kid looking to play with toy cars on the tv screen, or an adult looking to test yourself in one of employment toughest fields, this is the platform to live a muddy fantasy through.

You can buy the game on Steam for $29.99, or PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for  $39.99.


Gameplay

When it boils down to it, the game is all about dominating the obstacles that arise from operating such unique and heavy vehicles, as well as the roads themselves. There is a pretty good tutorial included, which will teach you the basics and game concepts from shifting, using low gears, using reverse, turning on/off the parking brake and differential lock. All of this is a matter of pressing a button after starting the engine. Progress through all of this though, and you'll learn how to change trucks and use your winch. These are simple as well, but will be used in various ways at various moments in your ventures. If you find yourself stuck in the mud you'll need to winch yourself out by attaching it to a nearby tree, and pulling the winch in while you hit the gas. The concept of attaching things to your rig will stay consistent as you'll find often times something needs towing. 

You've seen those videos where an 18 wheeler has to wrap around a small round about, or has to park it in the loading bay of a very ridiculously designs warehouse. If you've ever told yourself it couldn't be hard, think again. The difficulty is only simulated here, but the reality of stress is probably accurate as hell. Your biggest battle will be with the camera system. There are main camera points on each side of the vehicles, front, back, and on top. It's not exactly fixed as you'll be able to pan around, but it takes a lot of getting used to. It feels as though your forced to rotate on fixed axis, yet you have all the freedom. That sounds really strange, and it is, but its something I'm not able to compare to any other games because I've never seen it before. It looks good though, and carries and almost cinematic feeling the way it shows off cool angles. If you feel up to taking on the ultimate challenge, you can drive in first person view from within the cabin.

There are two different single player modes for you to try and tackle. The first one is essentially a campaign, where you will choose between 6 huge maps (4 of which are locked at first). They will have their own unique objectives, such as traveling to and from various lumber mills to deliver wood. Variety comes from different Siberian regions, but one thing is almost always for certain, you'll be running through a lot of mud. You unlock the other maps in this mode by tackling the objects in the first two, and by doing so without destroying your trucks. It won't be accomplishable in a mere 10 or so minutes, but closer to an hour plus. Hitting fuel stations when you run low on gas, and sticking to the road best as possible are keys to surviving. The other single player mode is called and includes 9 special challenges such as picking up a trailer and delivering it, climbing up a hill, night mudding, and rivers. They are simpler in size and objectives, but can still be a super stress causer. You will be ranked out of three stars here for these, which ultimately will unlock them overtime.

I firmly stand by saying that with the right partner, almost any gaming experience is improved when you throw in co-op mode. The silent and almost dead world in single player comes to life when you have your friends yelling at you that you're screwing everything up. You can find dozens of multiplayer matches, where someone hosts a lobby at any of the maps, and varies between casual difficulty and hardcore. I was pleasantly surprised to see how big of a community there is on the Playstation 4. If playing in the mud with strangers is as off putting to you as the way I just worded it, then you can host a friends only lobby, and invite up to 3 friends of your choosing. Luckily I didn't face in performance issues while playing online. I continuously had good connection with my friends.

MudRunners: Spintires Lumber Log Hauling

Sounds and Graphics

I'm not sure if I love the sound or hate the sound. The world has very little going on, and will feel as dead as it looks. The really good aspect of the sound though is that all the engines and mud running sounds legitimate. I left the TV on while I went and made food, and my girlfriend asked if they were doing construction outside. The vehicles all have the heavy and throaty rattle to them as they idle in place, and gradually showcase their power as you accelerate. It was nice to hear the mud almost splashing behind my wheels, and the crunching of tree branches when I was on more stable ground. Even if you were to go off road from the off roads, and plow your way through the brush, you'll hear everything snapping and rustling, again giving that audio confirmation that you're driving something big and dangerous.

The graphics are better than I was expected, and do a really good job building an atmosphere. The forests, which make up a lot of the visuals, are extremely detailed and rich with a realistic presence when they are not being processed to be drawn. Because of the narrow paths and tricky angles you'll constantly be tested in, being able to see yourself and the truck means there could be a lot of stuff in the way. The game handles this issue by turning environment figures transparent. The issue that stems from this though is that you can often times see the game making distant objects transparent, event though it's unnecessary. This can cause branches and trees to pop in and out in a blurry fashion, which if you see enough of,matched with the wonky camera, a headache might be inevitable.

MudRunners: Spintires Swamp Crossing

Conclusion

I think by now everyone has a good idea what to expect when it comes to simulation games. Sooner or later everyone will have come across at least one, whether that be one of the quality ones or one of the poorly made ones. For the most part this game is great. It offers exactly what it advertises; a big truck mud running experience. The world may feel dead but if you can grab a friend to tackle the adventures and challenges with, it makes the game incredibly fun to play for hours on end. Focus Home Interactive is a quality company, one that knows which simulations to push out, just like the Farming Simulator franchise. There re a few drawbacks with a wonky steering mechanic and a camera that can be a little jarring at first. If you can overcome these two major negatives, there is a lot to love here. 

Pros
Cons
 + Simulates off-road driving phenomenally
 - Texture and structure popping
 + High quality graphics and sounds
 - Wonky steering and camera control
 + Variety of gameplay
 
 + Multiplayer mode



SCORE: 8/10

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