is the rally raid finally holding up its benchmark game?

It was long overdue, but was the patience rewarded? The official Dakar video game released this week promised a rebirth and an opus finally worthy of the world’s greatest rally raid. To get to the bottom of this, we got our hands on a PS5 copy. A dive into the unknown, which, despite all the tension, rather seduced us.

However, the adventure got off to a bad start since our steering wheel wasn’t recognized by the game, but the publisher assures us that updates are already in the pipeline to bring as many compatible steering wheels as possible to the next consoles. In the meantime, we still launched this test with the controller, a rather interesting challenge that confirmed the aspect of this game, finally more universal than expected.

In terms of atmosphere, the facility is rather quick and well planted. A fairly immersive soundtrack and pretty landscapes will keep you immersed from the first few minutes, with a fairly well thought out discovery intro before you dive into the bulk of what the Dakar Desert Rally offers: the career mode.

And there’s a good surprise, because everything is well thought out and, above all, intuitive. We see immediately that the 2021 edition licenses are being used and promoted, which contributes enormously to the successful immersion effect. We won’t tell you everything so as not to spoil the fun of discovery, but rally raid fans can enjoy a large map that serves as a career roadmap, taking you from event to event in the heart of Saudi Arabia. Because the focus is of course exclusively on this one area, which has been the venue for the Dakar since 2020.

We can regret not being able to visit other countries, but the sites have the advantage of being spacious, offering very varied terrain and the weather offering very different conditions from one stage to the next. So the dreaded monotony didn’t come to rest during our consecutive hours of play.

To engage in the adventure, three difficulty modes are offered: Sport, Pro and Simulation. In the absence of a compatible steering wheel, we abandoned the latter to focus on the second. And the experience was very pleasant! While Sport mode does not prioritize navigation and generally simplifies everything, Pro mode places the slider at a very interesting level. And there we discover sensations that we didn’t necessarily want to look for…

You will stay on the right course or draw circles in the desert!

With the joystick and this level of difficulty, the automatic transmission was indispensable. Most notably, we quickly realized that strictly speaking, steering wasn’t the heart of the game (which doesn’t mean it isn’t the case in the steering wheel simulation mode, but we can’t verify it). The gameplay is very accessible, rather permissive, and the maneuverability returns pleasant sensations with the joystick in hand, with a real feat: that of reaching it, whether by car, SSV, motorcycle, truck or quad. And that wealth is one of the game’s strengths, as the career mode will never lock you in a straitjacket. You can switch from one type of vehicle to another and from one rally to another, which greatly increases its lifespan.

With gameplay so “simple” a priori, what’s the stake in this desert Dakar rally? Well we were surprised to find pleasure in looking for our route, listening to the instructions of our navigator (absent of course on a motorcycle accepting the challenge), knowing how to decipher a road book and above all , to to stay the course! Once you’ve mastered the mechanics of the game, as well as the gauges of the navigator (and its possible timing errors…), there’s clearly a little exciting side to reaching the perfect stage. And yes, if you want to know everything, we circled in the desert before finding the right trail! The duration of the stages is quite well thought out, at least at the beginning of the career, with time segments lasting between five and ten minutes.

Visually the whole thing is successful, even if certain textures or special effects can sometimes leave us unsatisfactory, but the few gaps are well filled by the presence of the licenses, which transmits a lot of realism and above all the extent of the exploitable terrain dampens the disappointing passages in which the graphics may seem average, especially the water crossing effects.

After several hours of play, the real question was: do we want to come back? And the response was positive, confirming the success of this work. We liked the end-to-end very accessible side for a discipline that isn’t necessarily accessible at first glance, and the way in which the many elements are treated in a realistic manner. Purists – we early ones – will surely regret the revealing gameplay, but the question is often central and difficult to decide when it comes to car games. There is no doubt a small arcade side, but the implementation is good since new features have already been announced for the coming months to perfect the game but also to enrich its content.

The Dakar Desert Rally is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | available S, Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *