Our Rating: 7/10
SnowRunner, like its predecessor, has a very comprehensive single-player mode. Allowing you to explore everything the game has to offer, you’ll need to start with a tutorial behind the wheel of a vehicle since you won’t be ready for what lies ahead. The goal here is to let you get rid of all the situations by yourself. Just you and your wits.
The single-player mode is made up of three massive open-world universes set in three different parts of the world. Michigan, Alaska, and Russia (in that order), each divided into three or four maps. Each map is connected to the others by tunnels. You can drive through all three regions in one go if you want to.
However, while you have the freedom to roam, you will quickly discover that you will need to acquire new vehicles or upgrades to progress further into the rugged or restricted territory. To put it another way, if you want to see a game’s potential quickly, the beginning will be excruciating.
And it is for this reason that SnowRunner will be chastised. For the difficulty, the player has to overcome to escape his “novice” status. Although you can quickly reach the second region, Alaska, the game will tell you that you are too inexperienced to reach it. As a result, it’s up to you to put in a few hours of effort to learn the game.
If you have never driven a heavy goods vehicle before, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. You’ll need to find new vehicles or upgrades quickly. These are sometimes scattered across the map but frequently available for purchase.
Fortunately, observation towers have been set up to aid you. Similar to the radio towers in Far Cry and the viewpoints in Assassin’s Creed. They will allow you to reveal the location of points of interest. As well as major tasks to be completed within specific perimeters. It must be stated that once you are well equipped and the roads have been repaired or released as a result of the contracts, you will be able to navigate the SnowRunner roads far more easily than you did at the start.
An open-world … of nothing
The areas you will have the opportunity to visit are, to put it mildly, vast and dense. Covering a total of 30 sq. km, which is four times the size of its predecessor.
Each area of the SnowRunner maps will take several hours to explore. And in that regard, Saber Interactive’s developers have done an outstanding job. The roads and paths are numerous. The forest or snow is extremely well modeled, everything is very colorful. There is also a day/night cycle and dynamic weather.
In short, the world appears to be alive. We can sense the effort put in by the title’s artistic teams as well as the new high-performance graphics engine. Where it loses realism in that, while the environment appears to be alive, there are no vehicles or NPCs to be found. While adding some vitality to urban areas wasn’t what we were here for in this type of simulation game, it would have been nice.
Because the territories are vast and the back-and-forths are numerous, it will take at least 80 to 100 hours in the lifespan radius to complete everything 100%. Completing the contracts, challenges, and tasks will earn you experience and money. This allows you to progress and eventually leave the small truck driver status.
Lady luck never smiles
However, in the first map of the SnowRunner, Michigan, it was much more noticeable. It’s as if we’ve been thrown into a world where luck isn’t on our side. Several landslides, pylon collapses, flooded roads, and other disasters are always present. Pretext to stifle the player’s progress by requiring them to search for equipment at the opposite end of the map. Clearing the passage or repairing the broken object.
Not to mention the numerous muddy paths that will take you several minutes to progress a few tens of meters. To hope to evolve in the open world, you’ll need to equip yourself as quickly as possible, either by searching for items in the environment, purchasing them with money earned from contracts, or selling old cars to better equip yourself, especially in tires.
The title, on the other hand, quickly catches up with its snowy landscapes. The landscapes, particularly those of Alaska, are at the heart of the game’s name and promotion, and they will dazzle you with realism and allow you to escape.
The snow, ice, and sleet, which are particularly prevalent this time (replacing Michigan mud), will necessitate meticulous control of your road equipment, particularly trailers, which can quickly send you into the background while being slightly more accessible than Michigan mud. Russia combines the best of both worlds.
Realism to the extreme
SnowRunner’s realism is something we can’t fault. Modeling and customizing vehicles, as well as the creation of sets and the sometimes arduous driving experience, are all things we enjoy.
Each vehicle has its capabilities. The winch, a great find that will also help you get out of muddy terrain by hanging on to the nearest solid element, or the coupling, differential block, and AWD that will allow you to get out of the worst passes. There’s a lot of spots here where you could get stranded and have to return your truck to the garage after 30 minutes on the road.
The game puts you in charge of your destiny. To complete your mission, you must find the best path and a racing car. You’ll also have to manage your gasoline, thanks to the possibility of refueling at various service stations along the road, but be careful not to hit your vehicle too hard, as this will cause it to break down, halting your progress and preventing you from upgrading your skills.
A little too extreme..
But perhaps, this realism has been pushed too far on occasion. Indeed, the difficulty of moving forward, regardless of
the path to take, to carry out certain missions can quickly demoralize one. And, even though the game promises complete freedom in terms of completing missions and other tasks in any order, the majority of the challenges in the first third of the game will necessitate the use of special equipment unlocked through a previous mission.
In a world that desires to be sandboxed, this means that we can only feel taken by the hand. Furthermore, one of the most glaring flaws in this new game is camera management in specific situations. When you’re near a building, for example, the camera gets stuck above your car, whereas in normal driving it’s smooth and precise.
There’s no need to dwell on the game’s cockpit view, which, while vastly improved over the previous installment, still falls short of being revolutionary. The dashboards are barely worked on, and the modeling and movement of the hands-on steering wheel are unimpressive.
The interface is quite nice and has undergone significant changes since the previous installment. On the console, it’s fairly intuitive to know which key combination performs which action.
Because the map is not very precise other than showing you the roads and paths, it will only be useful for locating your next waypoint. Sadly, the soundtrack is weak, with only a few sounds, though the engine and other shock sounds are convincing.
It’s worth noting that SnowRunner has an online multiplayer mode that can accommodate up to four players. This model entails carrying out contracts with the assistance of other players from all over the world, with the option of assisting one another in the event of a major blow.
It’s worth noting that the game will support mods via the mod.io platform, which will include a plethora of vehicles and maps created by players.
SnowRunner is a game that pushes the envelope to new heights. The driving simulation of off-road vehicles has been renewed and impress with its assumed realism in all respects with a physics engine that will not forgive driving errors, thanks to a brand new graphics engine. Much bigger than its predecessor, it’ll be easy to get lost in the game’s many landscapes and objectives. We should also applaud the dozens of customization options available for the forty or so vehicles.