Gravel – Xbox One Review

The most frustrating thing about Gravel, developed by Milestone, is that it is in no way a bad game. Whilst it looks pretty good at times and there is more than enough content from tracks and different cars to race, it never really amazed us. It fails to capture both fans of arcade style racing games and newcomers.

There are many problems with the gameplay itself – the handling of cars is just bad; potato on wheels comes to mind. Possibly due to the fact that Gravel is an off-road racing game, so you’re constantly racing on muddy and dirt roads, but driving always felt “floaty” and the control of the car felt limited. The physics tend to behave very strangely in the game. During our time with Gravel we would nudge ever so slightly into another car and it would send our car in a complete 360 tail-spin.

However, the design of the tracks is one of the strengths of the game. The variety in tracks is very good from a snowy Forrest in Alaska to the deserts of Namibia, all tracks have hidden routes you can go down so there is some replay-ability value to the game. All of the 16 tracks have several variations, while night events and hostile weather make even those tracks that grow familiar seem strange and risky once again. In fact, the weather effects are some of the best things about Gravel, wrecking your visibility, transforming the handling and adding a thrilling sense of danger to the racing. All of the 16 tracks have several variations, while night events and hostile weather make even those tracks that grow familiar seem strange and risky once again. In fact, the weather effects are some of the best things about Gravel, wrecking your visibility, transforming the handling and adding a thrilling sense of danger to the racing. All 16 tracks are given even more variation when night events and different weather are introduced. It destroys your visibility completely and make the race more nerve racking than ever before.  

Although we did say there are quite a few cars to choose from, it seems pointless since the game provides no statistics for any car. It tells you the kind of engine it has but you’d think in a racing game they would provide you with basic stats to compare acceleration, top speed, and handling to find the right car for a certain race type.

The most boring feature, which is implemented in pretty much every racing game these days is the ability to reverse time within your race.  This rewind feature is usually limited to 5-10 seconds, however, there’s no limit to how much you can use it within Gravel, so the game has no challenge since any mistake you make can immediately be corrected. Make a mistake, correct it and carry on with your race.

The multiplayer side of the game is quite lacklustre. There is no local split-screen multiplayer which automatically reduces the possible fun factor of this game. Even the game modes that are on offer are pretty dull for people in a normal mode, then couple that with the fact that it took us nearly ten minutes to find a game then immediately kicked backed to the main menu, does not bode well for the future of this game.

While it’s certainly not the worst racing game we’ve played, we just couldn’t seem to have fun with it. It looks okay and plays fine, but that’s really the only good points to the game. With so many better, more competent racing games on the market, we can’t really recommend Gravel.

Gravel is available to purchase from retailers and can be downloaded from the Xbox Store, priced at £44.99.

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