Review: Dakar 18 (PlayStation 4)

Based on the world famous annual rally raid organized by Amaury Sports Organisation (A.S.O.) in South America, DAKAR 18 is a realistic simulation of the biggest cross-country rally in the world and features a variety of vehicles, including motorcycles, cars, trucks, quads, and SSVs.

Pros:

  • Decent graphics.
  • 83.68GB Download size.
  • Opens into a tutorial event.
  • Official teams and sponsors.
  • Three modes- Adventure (story), Multiplayer (online and local) and explore (training and treasure hunt modes)
  • Online leaderboards and rankings.
  • Can rebind controls and invert axis.
  • Brakes, Deadzone and saturation sliders.
  • Adventure- Pick a class and do a set amount of events to unlock different classes for later playthroughs.
  • Five classes- Car, Bike, Truck, Quad and SXS.
  • Five car manufacturers- Peugeot, Mini, Toyota, Renault, and Mitsibushi.
  • Four bike manufacturers- KTM, Honda, Husqvarna, and Yamaha.
  • Five truck manufacturers- Kamaz, MA3, Tatra, Renault, and Man.
  • Quad and SXS has 4 driver/rider/team choices.
  • Training- Five lessons.
  • Five views- Bumper, Bonnet, In car, Behind and an aerial more TV-style presentation.
  • HUD- Shows compass with waypoints, Speedo, Directions called out and distance.
  • Can repair your car on the fly and get out of the car to rescue other drivers.
  • Big massive race location.
  • Day/Night cycle.
  • Some really nice locations.

Cons:

  • Long start up load time.
  • So easy to get terminal damage (instant race over)
  • Have to unlock legend difficulty.
  • You can fail the tutorial at any point and then have to repeat the whole thing.
  • Not the fastest loading times.
  • Tutorial actually feels redundant and unhelpful as the pop-ups/prompts are slow, Everything you learn isn’t that important and the training section is a better experience for knowledge.
  • Co-pilot is not that helpful.
  • Takes a long time to notify you that you are going the wrong way or are lost.
  • Chucked in at the deep end.
  • Slowdown happens a lot.
  • Very bland open space a lot of the time.
  • Controls are sluggish.
  • Looks like it has a strong physics engine but in reality, it is just very basic and lacks any sort of Spintires level of physics and control on the different land types.
  • Not a huge number of racers in a race.
  • Does a poor job of directing you.

  • 8/10
    Graphics - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Sound - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Accessability - 6/10
  • 7/10
    Length - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Fun Factor - 6/10
6.8/10

Summary

While I applaud the devs determination to take on a mammoth task in making a Dakar game, It has a few niggles that need to be addressed for a variety of reasons. First off the tutorial is just pointless and should be reworked or just taken out, It only really teaches you very basic controls which you can get from loading screens, It can be failed and has zero restart points. Controls, on the whole, are fine but the physics are very weak and is noticeable when traversing the swamp-like ground types. I felt constantly on edge as any tap on a rock and I would get severe or terminal damage, I would spend more time examining the very incoherent direction markers as I attempt to just find a path I need to take, I never see any other drivers and after seeing action on the Youtubes, I should be having a lot more action around me at all times. Yes it has many class types and it mixes it up but to be honest you won’t spend hours on each class, You will pick one and stay there, Riding bikes is the best for handling but also the worst as it is unrealistic with no crash animations. Overall it is a game that dared to be different but misses many marks. I would imagine fans of the race will get more out of it but casual racing fans will really struggle to get the enjoyment or inclination to pursue a career. Shame but I won’t dock points or mock it for daring to be different.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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