Spintires: Mudrunner – Review (PS4)

The world as we know it moves because of the truck. Able to bring precious commodities and necessities to cities across the world, human civilization could not function without the utilization of the truck. Pick-ups, cargo, tractor-trailers, fuels carriers, each truck serves the purpose of delivering a necessity in a timely fashion. They can neither fly nor sail, but they can travel long distances across untamed Earth. Their engines roar across the raw wilderness, conquering mountains, crossing rivers, and breaking through nature’s most difficult roads.

This is the world that players will encounter in Spintires: Mudrunner from Saber Interactive and Focus Home Interactive. In Mudrunners, players focus on only two things: nature and their truck. Mudrunners exclusively deals with these two elements, but it makes for a fun, rewarding game that put the thrill of exploration and conquering nature.

Mudrunner is a spinoff of an original game called Spintires. Originally released in 2014 for PC’s, Spintires had players traversing across the European wilderness in one of several trucks. Using proprietary technology for its game engine, Spintires applied realistic physics and photo-realistic visuals to create an exceptional simulation video game.

Spintires went on to become a significant success, selling over 1 million copies and being critically praised by the press. Now, Mudrunners has arrived, expanding upon the original idea to include new vehicles, maps, and features, as well as the series’ first release on game consoles.

Mudrunners puts players in a world where man is against the untamed wilderness. There is no story mode or overarching setting, other than the untamed European wilderness and the players’ skills behind a roaring, diesel-powered vehicle. Players begin the game by learning the basics of driving through uneven, rough terrain. Players must factor in both the strength and weakness of their vehicle against the terrain they come across.

Following the tutorial, players can embark on a multitude of challenges that teach the many other features and tactics that players can employ in Mudrunners. Players will learn utilizing multiple vehicles at once, as well as special equipment, such a winches, to successfully complete the challenges. Each challenge also presents a host of bonus objectives to complete for the completionist gamer. Form that point on, players are thrust into the campaign that will take them across wide, open-world maps and a plethora of difficult terrain to conquer, as well as 19 trucks to choose from, each with their own customizable utility add-ons.

The campaign is where the meat of Mudrunners lies, and it certainly fulfills a sense of exploration and discovery. Each mission will take upwards of 2.5 to three hours to conquer. While the missions commonly involve delivery, what players do and how they make it to their destination is entirely up to them. Each map feels like a small open-world sandbox that allows players to discover established paths or create their own. Players can also discover waypoints that reveal more of the map, and hidden trucks to use for future missions.

Fortunately, Mudrunners features a save system for these maps, so players can return to their mission progress later on. Additionally, the campaign features a “Hardcore” mode for players to test their skills. It is recommended for players to play in “normal” difficulty as players must factor in fuel consumption, navigation, and damage sustained while in transit. Hardcore mode alters these attributes and disables helpful aides in navigation.

Mudrunners would not be a working title if it didn’t feature a rich attention to detail. Players will see every fine gob of mud kick up in their tires, splattering across the chassis of their truck, as well as filling their tires treads with thick, sticky mud.

The earth will literally shift beneath the treads, forming finely detailed trails from your truck.  This can be tricky as this will affect your vehicles handling and could leave you stuck in your own spot. Even the water physics look incredible, as your truck revs through a raging river to the other side.

The fine detail of Mudrunners graphics, while incredibly impressive, also help the player, as players will encounter every variety of wet-Earth imaginable. From thick, clay-like mud to the deceptive looks of swamp land that can stop a truck cold, players will certainly have their challenging encounters in the wilderness. Additionally, the day and night cycle completely changes the game, as low visibility make sit difficult to discern paths.

Spintires: Mudrunner is a solid experience of discovery and accomplishment in using the heaviest, roughest vehicle to conquer the terrain. Each play session was a small reward and every mission felt like a daunting task waiting to be conquered. While there could have been more content, the game was a fun, pure, simple experience that celebrates the drivers of the vehicular staple automotive world: the truck.

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