Never have I ever played a MudRunner game before this one, so you could say that I’m a noob when it comes to the franchise. I have heard about them and seen the odd video in the past but nothing at the time drew me towards them but for some reason after seeing the trailer for SnowRunner which is the latest instalment to the franchise, I started to wonder what all the hype was about behind these games and whether it could be something that I see myself enjoying. I did a little bit of research and found out that SnowRunner is an excellent place to begin my MudRunner journey and can cater for me having no experience whatsoever, so I managed to get a hold of a PlayStation 4 version of the game and after a few hours of frustration, determination and patience I had begun to realise that this game turned out to be one that I didn’t realise I needed.
For those of you, like me, who might not have played a MudRunner game before might be wondering what the game offers in terms of gameplay and what the concept is behind the franchise. MudRunner as a whole is an Off-Road experience like no other that allows the player to drive powerful all-terrain vehicles and venture across sandbox landscapes completing objectives as you go along, which to me sounds pretty awesome. SnowRunner is similar to that except on a whole new scale, with extreme open environments with advanced terrain simulation, a huge addition of 40 vehicles at your disposal, extreme landscapes and environments that include snow, torrential waters, frozen lakes and lots more it truly offers a gaming experience that I personally haven’t experienced before, the maps are huge and from what I have read online are 3x larger than that of any other game in the franchise and the fact that some objects take place across multiple maps is incredible, it’s like one big maps but spilt up across sections but all are sandbox and can be explored and played anyway you like.
Overcoming the mud, snow and what the terrain throws at you is one of the many huddles you’ll come across with SnowRunner. You’ll have to customise your fleet for any tasks that comes your way as well as making sure that you have the correct vehicles for the job at hand. The category types for your vehicles are: Highway, Heavy Duty, Heavy, Off-Road and Scout each offer a different gameplay style and each being vital in tackling the different terrains the game has to offer. No two vehicles are the same and with the added customization available you can customise each truck for certain situations to truly gear yourself up for anything.
For example, you could have two Fleetstar F2070A trucks but built for different scenarios, for example one could be modified for driving on Off-Road terrain with all-wheel drive while the other is built with a crane attached to it to help lift cargo or rescue others. Not only this but you can change the way your trucks look with a new paint job or adding an array of bumpers, exhaust, etc. This really helps you stand out when playing with others online or just to make it better to see which truck is which when in the garage. The game is currently made up of three primary locations these being Michigan and Alaska which are in the USA and then Taymyr in Russia. When you have selected a location it is then broken down into smaller locations that offer unique maps that you must explore, complete objectives and find hidden vehicles and upgrades, not only this, but they act like one big map as an objective can span across multiple locations and you’ll need to access tunnels to be able to travel between these locations.
Every location has one or more gateways that access the other locations and you just need to find them and enter their activation zone to travel between them. While out exploring or completing tasks if you get stuck you’ll need to use your wits and your trusty winch to get you out of most pinches, if you are online you can ask for help and have them give you a hand or tip you back over if you have fell over a ledge. If you are on your own then you can always recall back to the garage, which I consider to be the last resort, get another one of your vehicles to help out, as you can switch between any of them with ease or use the surrounding area to attach your winch too and pull you out.
This game offers so much freedom when it comes to completing tasks and locations, there are no way points when it comes to exploring or objectives and it’s basically your way or no way. You’ll find yourself having to unblock roads from obstacles, fix broken bridges and doing a number of other things to complete a certain area and making your life easier when travelling around. I love the fact that you can add trailers to your vehicles to make completing tasks easier as you are able to carry more resources at once but this comes with its own issue as it adds another factor into the mix when making your way from point A to point B as you might have gone to a location one way but can’t go back the same way because you have added cargo and now might get stuck. All these factors add to the gameplay experience and really make for hours of frustrating, epic and challenging moments.
Graphically the game looks beautiful and Saber Interactive have done a fantastic job of making each environment and vehicle come to life. The level of detail in the terrains is simply insane and the fact that your vehicles get damaged and muddy just shows how realistic they want this game to feel. Not only this but the physics just blows me away with how each terrain and map handles differently and each situation is never the same, one minute you could be trucking through the mud perfectly fine but then get stuck in a ditch and have to figure out how you’re going to overcome these situations and be able to carry on with your journey. It offers a unique cockpit view that shows off the interior of your vehicles on a whole new level and comes with improved UI to make the user face more friendly and tidy on the screen.
Audio in SnowRunner is spot on when it comes to the sound of the trucks and the environment but falls flat with its soundtrack, I mean the whole reason I got drawn to this game was when I saw the United We Drive trailer and got blown away by the song they used and the gameplay I saw. It’s not a deal breaker for me but it would have been nice to have a trucking soundtrack over the top of the game to help get you pumped and motivated for them long journeys and steep climbs but in all fairness this probably wasn’t a thing the developers wanted to concentrate on and instead put their attention elsewhere and gave us a beautiful polished gameplay experience which is a win for me, if I really wanted to I could play my own country music over Spotify while playing.
With all the available tasks, contracts and hidden vehicles and upgrades SnowRunner offers hours of gameplay whether that’s you playing solo or with up to three other players. I find myself getting lost in the game trying to complete everything that I can in one location before moving onto another which helps prolong my time playing and enhancing my experience. True it is nice playing with other people but it’s just as satisfying playing on your own as it is with others. SnowRunner really is worth every minute you put into it the only thing I would say is that this game requires a high level of patients, skill and determination; otherwise you might end up rage quitting like I did in my early hours of playing.
Overall, my time playing SnowRunner was something that I honestly enjoyed, it just took a while for me to get into it. When I first started playing, I got very annoyed and frustrated because I’d keep getting stuck and feeling like I couldn’t achieve anything but after doing a little research on the best approach for the game for newcomers and started to tackle the game in a different way, it opened it up and quickly became a game I invested so much time into and still am. With the new environments, highly advanced physic engine and the array of vehicles, Saber Interactive have made a solid game and one that you’d be silly not to try out for yourself as I’d honestly say it’s a driving game like no other.
However, if you don’t have the patients, drive and get easily annoyed it might not be a game for you as you’ll find yourself breaking controllers as there are times when you just get annoyed when you have been trekking across a location only to tip over, loose cargo or run out of petrol at the last minute and have to start over again or just keep getting stuck in the mud and having no way out. Personally I believe the experience is better when playing with friends as you can communicate with each other and get the best fleet possible for your objects but this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it on your own. That being said the lack of a decent soundtrack is upsetting and the grind in the early hours of the game to get to a point where you can honestly enjoy yourself is the only major negatives I have with SnowRunner but it is worth mentioning that you do need a lot of time to dedicate into it to get the most out of it. So you could say it’s the perfect lockdown game, for these reasons I’m giving SnowRunner a big score of 8 out of 10.
Snowrunner is Developed by Saber Interactive and Published by Focus Home Interactive
The Game is available on the following platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
This Review is based on the PS4 version of the game which can be purchased here for £44.99.
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SnowRunner puts you in the driver’s seat of powerful vehicles as you conquer extreme open environments with the most advanced terrain simulation ever. Drive 40 vehicles from brands such as Ford, Chevrolet, and Freightliner as you leave your mark on an untamed open world.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 44.99