Ford Racing Off Road - PC - Review
Racing games sure have advanced since I started playing years ago. We use to be content with just arcade style racing games and our only concerned were the graphics. Then the genre seemed to shift to a more simulation-based experience with the release of Gran Turismo for the PlayStation. We went from only having a handful of cars to having a virtual garage with a seemingly limitless number of cars. Then we started fussing over having the ability to tweak and customize all of our cars to the smallest detail. It seems we’re no longer content with just a simple racing experience nowadays.
Ford Racing: Off Road tries to strike a balance between an arcade racing experience to a basic simulation racing game. The driving experience definitely feels like an arcade game, while the various gameplay modes will get your toes wet in the simulation experience. You won’t find a deep simulation mode like you would in Gran Turismo, instead Ford Racing gives you some limited options. In the Career Mode you can purchase additional vehicles for your garage and select which vehicle to use before the races. As you win races in Career mode you will earn money and unlock cars and tracks for the other modes in the game. The game does collect damage statistics for the vehicles during a race and will show the amount of damage taken on a scale before you start a track. The game doesn’t offer any tweaking or customization for the vehicles. Gran Turismo this isn’t, so you are warned.
Tournament mode is a smaller version of Career mode but lacking the ability to unlock additional vehicles. Everything else is the same from the gameplay map showing you the races to compete in, as well as the garage and showroom for your vehicles. Quick Race let’s you dive right into the racing action but with only a limited selection of tracks. Arcade mode allows you to race with the unlocked vehicles from the career mode. Multiplayer mode sadly only allows up to two players to compete against each other; no online multiplayer.
Racing wise the game leans heavily on the arcade side than a realistic simulation experience. The controls, using the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows, felt good without any unnecessary drifting or looseness on the vehicles. There are 18 licensed vehicles from Ford and Land Rover and they do handle differently, albeit slightly. The AI of the computer-controlled vehicles never seemed to be too aggressive when it comes to banging and bumping. I only once noticed a rubber-band effect where the game would purposely keep the other vehicles close together to make sure no one got out to a runaway victory.
Visually the game probably won’t win any awards for its graphic prowess but the frame rate was fluid at all times. There are three different camera angles to choose front: far behind, closer behind and inside the car view. Most of the stages looked the same except divided up into three different styles: Desert, Water and Ice. Nothing too spectacular on the stage backgrounds with some nice details such as waterfalls and deserted villages.
In the end Ford Racing: Off Road is a decent racing title that does what it should - offer a fun racing gameplay experience. It doesn’t excel at offering a ton of features or incredible visuals, but then again it doesn’t need to. There are plenty of gamers out there just looking for a fun racing game to play for a few minutes a day and Ford Racing fits the bill. Ford Racing just proves that you don’t have to be the elephant in the room to always get the attention. Just understand the limitations and your expectations should be Ok.
Review Scoring Details for Ford Racing: Off Road
Solid and consistent is probably the best way to describe the gameplay. I never encountered any problems with the controls that got in the way of the game.
Nothing too spectacular or exciting. All of the vehicles looked similar to their real-world counterparts. More variety in the backgrounds would have been nice.
The music in the game was a repetitive mess of guitar rock that just didn’t fit the game.
No one should have a problem getting wins in the game.
In the era after Gran Turismo it’s hard to imagine a racing game that doesn’t offer the complete packing of arcade and simulation experience.
Only two player local, no online multiplayer or LAN.
The actual gameplay experience of Ford Racing: Off Road really stands out from the rest of the score. The game doesn’t cause you to crash and burn in wrecks due to bad controls or cheap AI. Unfortunately it is hard to swallow the whole pill of Ford Racing when compared to other racing titles readily available.