Review: Dakar 18 (PS4)

Review: Dakar 18 (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Dakar 18
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (42 GB)
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Bigmoon Entertainment
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), £49.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Get lost Dakar 18. Sorry, I forgot a word, I’ll try again. Get lost in Dakar 18 just like I did, many times.

Gameplay:
Dakar 18 is a realistic simulation based on the famous cross-country rally featuring all manner of vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and quad bikes.

How realistic is it you may ask? Well, it’s the only Rally game where I can get out of the vehicle and go for a run.

Understanding the directions shouted to me by the co-pilot was difficult at times and I had to glance at the odd-looking map.

You wouldn’t think there would be many directions in such a barren and arid location but he wouldn’t shut up until we got lost a few times and he told me to go back to the last point, which was sometimes easier said than done.

Fear not, there is a tutorial and a training mode for newcomers to the series. I strongly urge any new players to stick with a co-pilot and not go it alone in a small vehicle until they are accustomed to the simulation and map reading.

Aside from the small diversion of a Treasure Hunt, all that’s available is the Adventure in stages across the desert. I soon gave up on the Hunt as there are no maps in bottles where X marks the spot or tales of ‘forty paces from the old ruins’ told to me by my co-pilot who, in this mode, doesn’t mutter a damn word. In fact, there is currently no way of knowing where in the huge landscape to dig.

You’re not alone in the Adventure stages as there are computer controlled players setting off before and after your own vehicle. I almost landed on one truck as I launched over a massive dune and then watched in surprise as it went off in a different direction to my own waypoints.

Review: Dakar 18 (PS4)

It wasn’t long before I got to grips with the directions and was following the cap like a pro. I even began to circle around precarious dunes after getting my truck stuck on the top of a few and either digging it out or wedging some boards under the wheels for some much-needed grip.

After the second stage, I really began to find the enjoyment in this game. It’s a very technical simulation that requires some quick thinking and awareness of the surroundings. The third stage covers a varied and challenging area that I loved traversing.

Each stage increases in duration and difficulty. The fourth begins on the beach and goes through a mountainous region, across some deadly dunes, and then some open plains with intersecting power lines and roads.

That fourth stage took me just shy of an hour and on one occasion it came to an abrupt end three-quarters of the way through when I slammed into a rock. Now, it wasn’t my fault as some vegetation obscured the offending obstacle. The screen displayed a terminal damage warning and I had to restart from the last checkpoint.

The controls for anything smaller than the truck either need improving or I need some more lessons. Either way, I often spent half my time spinning out and sliding down the lee side of a dune. Oddly enough the bike isn’t too bad and I seemed to handle it much better.

A quick word of warning, this game takes up a lot of space on the PlayStation 4, around eighty-four gigabytes to be exact, after some patches. To put it into perspective Call of Duty: WWII weighs in at one-hundred gigs and Marvel’s Spider-Man swings in at fifty. So, that’s a ton of sand mapping squeezed into that precious hard drive space.

Review: Dakar 18 (PS4) Review: Dakar 18 (PS4)

Visuals:
Considering the fact that the landscape is mostly sand, Dakar 18 is a nice looking game. It has a few glitches and bugs, the odd shadow here and there might look peculiar, and the tracks left by the vehicles will vanish after thirty yards at most.

Some nice camera views and pretty lighting can make for a few picturesque moments but when it comes down to it, there isn’t much else to say. The vehicles look nice and the detail on the character models are okay. Yep, that’s pretty much it.

Audio:
I like the sound effects in Dakar 18 but I’m not the biggest fan of the co-pilot who shouts at me all of the time. So what if I like to get some air off the dunes? He can be quite mean. All joking aside, the sounds are good but there isn’t much variety when you’re out in the hostile open landscape.

It isn’t like I can even put Spotify on as I need to concentrate on the constant yammering in my ear. When I have enough confidence I’m looking forward to putting some tunes on and going out alone on my quad.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game features split-screen and online multiplayer so my wife grudgingly offered to help with the local split-screen mode. It seems we cannot use different vehicles types, which disappointed me. It works well and we enjoyed playing together until she got expelled for misconduct.

Sadly, the online server isn’t all that popular and it can be difficult to find a game. I managed to join a few games that were mid-race so I could only spectate, which isn’t all that fun. I suggest joining the game’s community to find some people to play with if friends aren’t available.

Review: Dakar 18 (PS4)

Conclusion:
The developers at Bigmoon Entertainment have done a good job in portraying this grueling rally. It has a few minor issues but nothing that ruins the game. Some might find the controls for a few vehicles need some tweaking but I generally went for the truck, which was fine for me.

Dakar 18 is worth buying if you are a fan of the rally or technical driving simulations, not so much if you’re expecting an arcade romp across the gruelling landscape of Perú. It takes time, effort, and maybe a bit of luck.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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