New release Review

Review – Dakar Desert Rally

Fast motorcycles, cars, trucks, quads, and SXS coupled with sand, water, and challenging stages brings to life the Dakar Desert Rally, developed by Saber Porto. The sense of genuine speed and excitement of taking part in the largest rally race on the planet captures the attention of those who feel the need for speed with unique challenges for off-road simulation diehards and casual racing fans alike in Dakar Desert Rally.

From the moment the game loads, there is no denying that team at Saber Porto had a goal in mind when creating Dakar Desert Rally. The world they have built is graphically beautiful and leaves players feeling that they have entered a world graphically like the world of Forza. The onboard cameras are dynamic, as chase cameras are, and react to inertia. One wow moment during gameplay is watching how the weather transition and time of day transitions combine to create beautiful surroundings as players speed through the stages.

Though there are moments where realism is suspended with various stages in the maps scattered with shipwrecks and aeroplanes, this contributes to the feeling that the developers have added things that may not be there when participants take part in the real Dakar Rally. This is noticeable when playing as realistic physics, dynamic seasons, and weather all play a part in creating the illusion that a player is racing against the AI and the weather around them to finish a stage as quickly as possible.

Players are presented with three different modes to play, with each offering a distinctive style of play and degree of difficulty. The three modes that can be selected are sport, professional, and simulation. Sport mode was designed to give players a pure arcade fun where the focus is purely on competitive racing and not bothering about navigation. Professional mode offers the same rally stages as Sport mode, though the focus is geared towards a truer-to-life form of racing taking place on them. The stages are longer in Professional mode when compared to the stages in Sport mode.

Simulation mode is where players will face the hardest challenges; the speed limits are disabled in Simulation mode, and this led to races that feel both hard to complete and unrealistic. The AI simply blasts through bumps and dunes without any care for their vehicle in Simulation mode and this can cause frustration when a player is trying to get through without damaging their vehicle in the rally stage. It takes around 30 minutes to finish one complete event. Simulation mode is for hardcore players who are willing to experience an actual event but there is a catch, to try Simulation mode, players will need to reach level 25. The Rally stages in Simulation mode are recreations of the Dakar Rally from 2020 to 2022 and are longer than in sport and professional mode. It takes players approximately 40 mins to finish a stage with a total of 2 hours needed to complete the entire event.

Dakar Desert Rally is stacked with officially licensed cars from the world’s biggest manufacturers such as Audi, Toyota, Peugeot, and Ford with bikes from KTM, Honda, and Yamaha as well as quads, trucks, and SSV. This gives players the opportunity to drive different incredible Dakar Desert Rally machinery. One big plus in Dakar Desert Rally is the amount of effort that has gone into designing the car models and creating the engine noises of the cars, trucks, quad bikes, and SSVs which is a huge credit to the team at Saber Porto. The attention paid to creating the car details and sounds adds so much to the world of rallying and helps players feel as if they are there racing through the sand and water.

Saber Porto has also hit the mark with their design of the damage model in Dakar Desert Rally. The spectacular smashes that players witness in the gameplay highlight the way that cars, trucks, bikes, quads, and SSVs can sustain excellent damage, with cars crumpling, windscreens shattering, and body panels and wheels fly off. Players can opt to repair severe damage on the fly but will cost you a time penalty that can count against the player’s overall time and determine where they finish in the overall standings at the conclusion of each rally stage. This leads players to having to make decisions as to whether fix the damage in the race or wait until the stage is complete and repair any damage back in the pits before the start of the next stage.

Dakar Desert Rally controls first feel clunky and disjoined which will force players to develop a contemporary style of driving with the various classes of vehicles on offer. Once players understand how to control the cars, trucks, bikes, quads, and SSVs, Dakar Desert Rally is an enjoyable game. It may not be a game in the same vein as Forza Horizon or Forza Motorsports in which players can spend hours hooked to the screen, Dakar Desert Rally is a game that is best enjoyed in stages that will keep players enjoying the game for longer.  Dakar Desert Rally is not for the players that love the Forza Horizon-style driving and gameplay. Players will find that throwing the car into corners too fast will result in massive understeer and find themselves off course, struggling against the sand to get back on track which can lead to frustration quickly building.


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