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Off-Road Drive is a great, fairly realistic off roading game/simulator. Controls are fairly solid, graphics are decent, realism factor is there, but theres a bit of a problem with the game as a complete package. It's very... linear. The races are fun and challenging, (and at times, a load of bullcrap, but I'll get to that later) but it's missing one big thing. One big, but incredibly simple and I'd say essential thing. Theres no free roam. You're confined to the tracks that are provided. And I'd be fine with that, really, if it was based on like invisible walls that were like 20 meters around the track. But it isn't. Instead, if you go say, 5 meters off the track you get warped back on it in like 3 seconds. Same thing happens if you try to take the track in reverse. Seriously, what a let down. The trucks are fun to drive, and the tracks themselves are fun too, but it doesn't give you any freedom to mess about at all. Which.. Isn't that the point of off roading? Or am I just not Russian enough?
One other let down is that you can't choose a specific track you want to race on. Instead you have to choose a championship series and beat the first couple tracks before you can go on the one you really want to play. Whats the point in that? It should be if you've beaten the series, you should be able to access whatever track you've already beaten without having to go through the whole thing all over again.
Which brings me to my last annoyance, some of the tracks and the unreasonably fast AI times. This is mainly an issue with the later Indonesia series, but can be a problem with other tracks that have the goopy mud that you'll find yourself having to winch yourself through. The AI ghosts just glide through it like its not even there. It is still possible to win these races, but not without hours of perfecting and memorizing how to get through without getting stuck, optimizing your suspension and tires and vehicle choice, knowing to set your tire psi low, and just plain old having good luck. Challenge is great, its something thats missing in most modern video games. But I see it as knocking down a 1 foot thick brick wall with a sledgehammer (challenging) vs. knocking down a 1 foot thick brick wall with your head (off road drive)
Don't get me wrong though, I love Off-Road Drive. It's a nice change of pace from the other 'off road' games that think making a 90 degree turn on mud at 100 mph should have the same physics as making a 100 mph turn on tarmac. I suppose I'm just frustrated with Off-Road Drive because I see it as a game that could be so much more than what it is. Unfortunately from what I've read on other forums, 1C has no plans of making a free roam mode or even letting you choose tracks. From what I can tell they view it as a finished product, which it isn't.
Agreed, it could be so much more but 1C seems to have completely abandoned it.
While this game is pretty "niche" there are really no off-road sims out there and I think that if the company could properly support the game and turn out some new content they could build a very loyal following and grow the game in popularity, especially since they would basically have the market cornered.