Overpass (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 27.03.2020

Review for Overpass on PlayStation 4

Speed tends to be the name of the game when it comes to most racing or driving simulators. After all, this is a genre that can offer a level of catharsis actually rooted in reality. With a first-person view, audiences can immerse themselves inside of vehicles they'll never be able to drive in real life. Whether they be of the Mario Kart or Gran Turismo variety. That said, these specific titles aren't exactly known for their in-depth driving controls. Rather, they're known for everything surrounding the driving. With a title like Overpass, the driving mechanics take centre stage. For better or worse.

The first thing the tutorial of Overpass's makes clear, is that this experience is most certainly not for everyone. Complete with a high skill ceiling, and a high skill floor, genre newcomers best look elsewhere. Not only are the driving controls on the demanding side, the track design is far from friendly or forgiving. Seldom do tutorials require so much out of a player so quickly, but that's the nature of the beast given how the title is structured. Design wise, this is a driving simulator for genre veterans - for those who already have an understanding of how cars work, both in and out of the realm of video games. Even the earliest challenges require some semblance of mechanical mastery.

Screenshot for Overpass on PlayStation 4

There are concessions in place for any newcomers who decide to cut their teeth on the off-road simulator, such as being able to respawn one's car at any point by holding Square, but mechanics like this are training wheels more than anything. Relying on respawns as a crutch isn't going to make for a particularly fun experience. Either take the time to learn everything as clearly as possible in the tutorial, or get ready for some headaches. As far as the other control goes, they're fairly typical for what's expected from the genre, at least on a surface level. R2 is the throttle, L2 brakes and reverses, the D-Pad toggles between 2-Wheel and 4-Wheel Drive, Cross is the handbrake, and Triangle changes the camera's perspective. It all seems fine in theory, but this doesn't take into account control feel.

The controls don't put up a fight, per say, but tracks end up demanding quite a bit from the audience. Even the earliest race tracks ask from players to know how to balance their speed properly, know when to brake, and know when to turn. That all sounds simple enough, but it's honestly easier said than done. At the heart of the design is the idea that driving simulators don't need to be inherently about speed. Tracks are designed like puzzles. The intention isn't to get to the end as fast as possible - players aren't even racing against CPUs in real time, it's to get to the finish line as gracefully as possible. Every track is filled with obstacles the player must complete should they want to rank well. Racers are free to skip any obstacles giving them pause (and quite a few are challenging out the gate), but this results in a time penalty, as does trying to cut through the course.

Screenshot for Overpass on PlayStation 4

Success relies on mastering the throttle, brake, and handbrake pretty much as soon as possible. Tracks are filled with topographical hazards that affect cars in severe ways. Driving through mud is a complete chore unless one brings their speed down considerably, and there are slopes that require players approach them with the right momentum. Failing an obstacle and needing to pack up can not only be frustrating, but immensely tedious. It doesn't help that the controls aren't exactly the smoothest. It takes some time getting used to movement, especially since sudden turns can result in buggies rotating too much. There's a learning curve to figuring out exactly how to turn, when to turn, and how the controls mesh together. This isn't even taking into consideration all the customization at play.

Screenshot for Overpass on PlayStation 4

As expected, there are multiple different cars to choose from. They're all unlocked from the get-go for general play (which is really just driving around solo without the restrictions of career mode), which is nice for anyone who wants to find a car that works for them immediately. The career, perhaps as expected, locks most of the cars as unlockables. Not only that, there are cosmetics players can buy to choose as in-game avatars. Money is earned by completing rounds in career mode, but what's particularly interesting about the main campaign is how it's structured. Rather than being linear from round to round, the title's career is structured like a skill tree. Players can earn a maximum amount of money per challenge, with payout based on final time. Once completing the challenge, the skill tree branches of into different paths. While there are, of course, other challenges to complete, the career tree also unlocks new upgrades, gear, and vehicles for purchase (so long as players complete their associated sub-challenges).

Naturally, this gives the career mode quite a bit of variety while keeping it dynamic all throughout. Unfortunately, career mode is fairly one note when it all comes down to it. Anyone who enjoys the controls and the obstacle design will surely have fun with the career, but there's very little variety and, frankly, the visuals aren't that pretty. Excessive bloom seemingly exists solely to mask low quality textures, and there's an alarming amount of pop-in for a driving simulator. It's not exactly right to call it ugly, but this isn't pretty either. With enough patience and dedication, there's actually quite a lot to appreciate about Overpass but a lack of polish and a high skill floor make it very difficult to recommend to anyone but genre veterans. All the same, Overpass is a unique driving simulator that offers something more demanding for a modern audience - which has value.

Screenshot for Overpass on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Overpass is a double edged sword by design. All its features which would make it appealing to genre veterans - a heavy emphasis on speed control, incredibly tight controls, and demanding track design - are exactly what'll deter most everyone else away from the title. Coupled with serious design flaws and it's hard to recommend this racing sim to anyone but those truly passionate about the genre. All the same, they're clearly Zordix Racing's target audience, with little concession made to welcome newcomers. While alienating, design philosophies like this ensure Overpass has a strong identity that doesn't pander to non-fans of the genre. Even if this is rough around the edges, its lack of handholding is quite commendable.

Developer

Zordix

Publisher

Nacon

Genre

Driving

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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