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Ben Reviews – Spintires: Mudrunner

 

As the resident “speedy-boi” at Respawning, I was asked to review the new Spintires simulation game… A car game it is, is it a speedy one? And more importantly a good one?

Developed by Saber Interactive and published by Focus Home Interactive, Spintires: Mudrunner is a revamped version of the original game, Spintires, pumped up for the PS4, Xbox One, and the PC. Spintires is an off-road simulation game where you drive old Soviet-era trucks navigating by map and compass to your destinations. If you expected to be able to go charging through the mud at high-speed throwing mud and sand up into the air in the wake of your car, that’s not going to happen. Your main aim in the game is to take a large truck from your garage on the map, to a logging station where logs are loaded on to your truck and then drive them to a lumber yard to complete a goal of eight logs delivered.

There are two different game modes to choose from, challenge mode where you have a primary goal to complete, for example, drive this vehicle to a destination arriving with no damage, drive on the correct side of the road (should you decide to drive on the road), and scare 10 birds with your horn. The challenge feature is actually a good place to start after completing the tutorial as more features are introduced in the challenges that are not shown in the tutorial.

The main single player game throws you into one of six generously sized maps telling you to complete the goal of delivering eight instances of logs to the lumber yard for cutting. Other than that there is no suggestion to proceed. My first instinct was to unlock the entire map. Parts of the map are blocked off from view until watchtowers in tricky places are reached. In doing so it meant that I was able to unlock all the trucks available on the map.

The game offers 19 all-terrain vehicles that are unlocked by driving close to the new vehicles that are placed in areas across of the map. You start with three trucks and can change the trucks you start with if you have unlocked more while on the start screen. Each truck has the ability to be customised for a different role that you might require. For example, you could make it into a fuel truck by adding a silo on to the back, or add a trailer hitch and make yourself into a lorry capable of carrying 40 ft. logs.

One of the biggest points of this game is how you can go anywhere on the map and the terrain adapts to your movements in the world. Mud is pushed out of the way of the tires as you drive through it, water is sprayed around as drive-through raging rivers, trees can be pulled over as you winch yourself out of the river you thought “you could get through”. This is all thanks to the completely redesigned physics engine of the original game, not only does the game accurately make the world react to you, but the game also looks really good, the water detail as it rushes past is impressive and the trees look realistic instead of a 2D picture being placed onto a 3D map.

My biggest problem with the physics engine is that the games don’t do very well when driving on asphalt. I know the main aim of the game is to drive around the world, off-road through mud and rivers, but when there’s a challenge series where on the first map, a tar road is the first thing you drive on, it could have been thought about a little more. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a car with off-road tires at slow speeds before, but it’s not smooth at all. The tires are larger and have more tread to be able to provide a larger surface area to drive on, in reality, it’s uncomfortable. In the game, it doesn’t feel as shaky as it could be.

Another problem I have with the game is that the main camera is slightly awkward to use. I know it could be the fact that the game I’ve been spoiled by driving games where the 3rd person chase camera is locked to the rear of the car but having the vehicle to the left and down means that I feel I can’t work out what’s in front of me and then try moving the camera into a better position for viewing from. And if you’re using a controller, good luck getting it back to a more usable place after. I have been playing on PC which offers the ability to connect an Xbox controller to use in place of the keyboard and mouse. As a person that would normally use a controller over a keyboard for any driving game no matter what. I was surprised to find it awkward to use and sluggish while the keyboard and mouse is more fluid.

So in conclusion, should you get this game. Probably not. Here’s why. The physical copy for Xbox One and PS4 is priced at around £30 and £25 on steam. I just don’t feel that this game is worth that price. The majority of the game comes from its predecessor, Spintires, and the only new content is a new map and 9 challenges that take less than half an hour to complete. Even if the game had been built from scratch I wouldn’t recommend this game as it doesn’t feel polished enough for a game studio, maybe a solo indie developer but not a studio. If you happen to be one of those people who own the original game on steam, you can get the game at half price but I still wouldn’t say go out and buy it right now as it’s still a push to charge that much to me for this game.

So while I enjoyed the time I spent my time with Spintires: Mudrunner wallowing through the mud, I’m going to give this game a 7.5 out of 10

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