It’s been a long time since I played a racing game and boy am I glad I chose this one to dip back into the genre. I have been thoroughly enjoying this game as I play through it on the Xbox One. The three vehicles offer a good variety of challenges during the game to keep the player occupied for a long while.
There are three modes of transport in this game, car, boat, and aeroplane. Each different type handles slightly differently and offers slightly different events within their class. Aeroplanes are mostly freestyle events where the player must rack up as many points as possible in a given time, Car events are split into off-road and street racing events and boats are mainly different types of races. Each “family” has various disciplines that a player can take part in, most of them are about beating scores, or reaching certain positions in the race, there’s the occasional time trial in the main events. There are also skills that can be done in each family, for example, there are slalom events which test a player’s agility in a vehicle, speed trap events that get players to reach certain speeds. On that note I feel it is important that, although this game is about speed and racing, it does give warning about obeying real-life road laws and that events in the game shouldn’t be replicated in the real world, in a world where video games are being increasingly blamed for reckless and violent behaviour, this seems like a beacon of common sense.
There isn’t much of a story mode to this as such, it is more of a loose motivation for why your character is taking part in the different events. In a seemingly fitting way for the times, it’s all about getting followers and fame, the idea is that the more tricks and interesting things you do, the more viral your character becomes and the more followers you have, the more prestige you have which will allow you to take part in different events. As your fame grows you unlock more cars, events, and customisation option, this all standard of what I remember of driving games, the better you do the options become available. The upgrade system is relatively straightforward and easy to understand how each upgrade affects your vehicle’s performance while you drive.
Dynamic freestyle is an interesting concept in this game as it combines exploring the games open world with doing stunts to accrue followers and earn “Bucks” the in-game currency. The open world of this game is impressive and although it’s obviously a truncated version of America, where all the major cities that you visit in the game are squashed close together, it still feels like there is a lot to explore and see as you travel from one place to the next. This way of moving through the game is more time consuming, there is a fast travel option, is a lot more fun and you get to see all the extra challenges along the way. My personal favourite was the “Photo Ops” where you were challenged to get a photo at a location or with animals in the shot, the more original the better, as these too added to the characters fame level and opened further race modes in the story. I really enjoy moving around the game world, particularly as good looking as this one, this is where the photo opportunities come into their own, they help break up the travel and the attempts at doing tricks in your vehicle of choice.
There are a decent number of hours of good fun to be had from this game, whether it’s taking part in the events or travelling between them. I didn’t expect to enjoy this game as much as an I did, purely because it’s not the kind of game I would go for normally, but I enjoyed playing it a lot and never got too bored or frustrated with it, so that’s a good sign. My personal favourites were the off-road cars and the drift cars, both were excellent silly fun, but overall definitely worth a good go for a lot of fun stuff in general.