Tuesday, 31 October 2017 10:13

REVIEW: Spintires: MudRunner (Xbox One)

Written by Brett Hale
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When a game comes out on Steam it can either be a major success, or it can flop. The series for Spintires is what some might call a major success as it's a title that has sold millions of copies, and it’s also the first Spintires game to come to console on both Xbox One and Playstation 4. Spintires: MudRunner is bigger and better than any before it, and i'll tell you how so in my review.

When it comes to content for Spintires: MudRunner between PC and console there are really only two differences, graphics and that PC players can use mods. Now, i’m not a PC gamer and this was my first time at playing any Spintires game. For those that also haven't played or even heard of the Spintires games, it's a vehicle simulation game. I've never been into those sort of sim games, but Spintires: MudRunner for me, was the doorway to playing more games like it.

There are a few modes to play in the game. The single player campaign, a challenge mode and multiplayer. Now, before you get that far, you will need to do a short tutorial to show you the ropes. It won’t teach you everything, and anything it doesn’t teach you, the challenge mode will. Once I did the tutorial I wanted to play the campaign. When I did, the game suggested I may want to learn more skills that I should try the challenge mode. You can do that or you can ignore this message and still go into the campaign, the choice is yours. I did as it said and went through the challenge mode and it does teach you a lot, and you'll get to drive a range of vehicles in the process by the time you're done with the 9 challenges you're a qualified driver.

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No matter the mode you play, you will need to be aware of a few things. You’ll need to be fuel conscious as when using all wheel drive and diff lock fuel consumption goes up. You'll also need to be aware not to damage the vehicle's too much, and most importantly watch where you're driving as getting bogged can screw you royally sometimes. Some vehicles have winches while others unfortunately don’t. The number of vehicles is 19 in total. 13 are new to Spintires, which include the C-256, E-7310, A-3151 and the K-700 and more. The worst part about playing this was the dodgy camera angles, you can press left on the D-Pad to be low to the ground and sort of behind but beside the vehicle, it's kind of awkward once you need to turn. You can also control the camera with one of the sticks, but even that can be frustrating to operate. You can drive inside all vehicles but you’ll only see ahead. The side mirrors are just grey in colour having no reflection what so ever, so crashing a trailer or the back end of a vehicle whilst inside the cockpit is going to cause you problems.

Another issue is navigation, when not inside the cockpit of a vehicle you’ll see a compass at the top left and as easy as a compass is to follow in real life it isn’t the easiest in this game at times. If you're inside the vehicle you don't get to see the compass, but either way in or out of a vehicle you can look at the map and make waypoints to where you want to go. The maps will mostly be blank until you reach all watchtowers that will slowly show more of the maps landmarks.

Being that this is a simulation game the visuals have to have a real life look about them, or something very close to real. Playing on Xbox One the places you’ll drive around are full of trees and muddy trails. You’ll see the odd bird flying around as well as houses and garages. Prior to Spintires: MudRunner ,the game's visuals weren’t the greatest, so something new for the series is a graphical overhaul. Driving in the day time looks quite good and there is a day and night time cycle, which can be a challenge to drive around at night. Turning on your headlights allows you to see much better of what's ahead. Music is only heard in the main menu, when playing you’ll only hear a couple of things, the vehicle sounds, the mud slapping around as you drive through it along with some bangs as you crash into trees and fences.

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In past games the controls were pretty good, but In Spintires: Mudrunner they've been improved even more. The game introduces the lock systems and the tyre behaviour has also been improved. They've also added more interaction with water which you’ll drive through at times. Keep in mind, some streams have a strong current that can tip some vehicles over like they're nothing. Vegetation and mud have also been made to look better. Mud will react in real time and looks pretty realistic on how it handles in the game. Spintires: MudRunner is nothing short of true realism. You’ll use the parking brake and depending on the situation, you may choose to use all wheel drive or differential lock. There is also an advanced mode that opens even more options, but this depends if you're using a winch or a crane picking up or dropping logs.

Playing online is the same as single player, but when playing co-op, you’ll complete objectives together with up to three other players. If you or a friend rolls your vehicle or maybe someone gets bogged, fear not! Other players can lend a helping hand. Better yet, co-op allows for saving the games you play with others and you can keep playing that same save, or you can play that save alone. There are two options for co-op, create a public lobby or create a friends only lobby with two difficulties you can play, either casual or hardcore. Hardcore is far more strict, while casual is more laid back. Vehicles will still handle the same way control wise but fuel consumption is less on casual along with navigation being visable. Co-op has 6 maps, though you'll need to earn progression points in the game to unlock the rest of the maps.

For a gamer who has never been too keen on simulator sort of games, I praise Spintires on showing me the light and I’ll tell everyone I know that this game is worth the purchase. It has a great replay value and allows people who have never driven a truck or big machinery to get an experience in video game form that will have you busy for many hours.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Saber Interactive
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
  • Genre: Simulation, Misc