The selection of games on the PS4 never ceases to amaze me. Whether you're a science fiction junkie, a history buff, or even a fan of realistic simulations, there's something for everyone. For those who have always wanted to brave some of the toughest driving conditions that mother nature has to offer, Spintires: Mudrunner is here for you.
Does this game provide a realistic and exciting simulation of running cargo through rough terrain, or will you decide on another virtual career?
Point A to Point B: It's Harder Than You Think
The premise behind Spintires: Mudrunner is pretty simple. You are a driver who needs to haul cargo from one place to another. You're thrown into a sandbox map and given a destination. How you get there, what vehicles you use, and how much cargo you haul is up to you.
The environments in Spintires: Mudrunner are not comfortable roads and clean paths. No, you're going to be getting your hands dirty in this game. It's not uncommon to find yourself trekking through deep mud pits, spinning your wheels and engaging everything from a differential lock, to all-wheel drive in an effort to push through.
In other situations, you may find yourself neck deep in a rushing current. The water levels are pushing safe heights, and your wheels are spinning as the current threatens to topple you over.
In these situations, you'll need to shoot out a winch and pull yourself to safety. Spintires: Mudrunner is a game peppered with these moments of intensity, but the vast majority of your time is careful and consistent driving through backroads and paths.
For some, the pacing will be too slow. Those who get bored easily or don't like simulations won't find much to love here past the first hour or two of gameplay. Much of the journey is slow going, with planning being your best friend.
That being said, if you're someone who enjoys simulations, Spintires: Mudrunner offers all the bells and whistles you could want, along with some excellent physics that we'll discuss momentarily.
The option to play online with co-op also adds a lot of fun, as you can coordinate with friends and have them come do repairs if you break down, whereas normally you would have to switch vehicles and do it yourself.
As a simulation, Spintires: Mudrunner succeeds, but it's not going to keep the attention of those who want more consistent action from their experiences. A mixture of single players missions in sandbox maps, and challenges with more focused objectives, gives some variety to the gameplay as well.
Let's find out how everything stacks up when the game is in full throttle.
Realistic and Satisfying Sim Gameplay
As I've said before in this review, Spintires: Mudrunner is a game for enthusiasts. Those who love a good simulation will feel right at home here. The game has an excellent physics engine that conveys the weight and power of the vehicles you're driving.
Furthermore, mud and water behave in a realistic manner. When you get stuck or slowed down, you'll see the tires sinking into the mud, struggling to push through.
When you're crossing water, the gushing current will slosh over your car and rush through your cargo. It looks and feels great when you're in the heat of the moment.
A variety of vehicle options, add-ons, and various sizes of cargo give you the choice to haul larger loads or smaller ones if you prefer. Vehicle-specific options like a differential lock and all-wheel drive will also give you flexibility in a variety of situations.
Controls are pretty simple, although the UI is a little clunky. Getting into menus and navigating can be confusing at first, but I soon had the hang of it.
While there is a nice variety of vehicles, the environments don't have a ton of options. You're mostly working in wooded areas, with plenty of mud and rushing waterways.
I would have loved to see more varied maps. Snow or ice storms would have been a great compliment to the dark and dreary mud maps, for example.
The gameplay works very well and suits the simulation well, but it's not going to convert anyone who wants a more action-packed game. The game throws you into sandbox maps and gives you the chance to place nodes on your chosen path, planning out your approach to an objective.
Playing online co-op can alleviate the lonely feeling that starts to set in as you trek across the map. Otherwise, expect to be alone with your thoughts as you cruise through various areas. You'll sit up in your seat when things get hairy, but otherwise, it's a slow trip from point A to B.
I personally found it to be soothing and fun experience, but only those who want a hardcore simulation should apply.
Detailed Environments Star Incredible Mud and Water Effects
Spintires: Mudrunner has some of the best mud and water effects that I've ever seen. The rest of the environments have a good amount of detail to them, but if you inspect vehicles and cargo up close, you'll notice some rough textures.
Even so, it's worth going into detail regarding the mud especially. The way it deforms around your tires and cakes onto the sides of the vehicle is incredibly realistic.
The crash of water on your vehicle as you push yourself through intense currents is also excellent. It really does make me wish they had more environmental effects like snow for some of the maps.
I can't fault Spintires: Mudrunner, for being too slow or methodical, because it is a simulation and a good one at that. I will say that the lack of variety to the environments is a little bit of a letdown, but otherwise, this is a very solid simulation.
If you're looking to haul some cargo, you need to give Spintires: Mudrunner a try.
Final Score: 8.0/10
A copy of Spintires: Mudrunner was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 11/10/17