To say Italian developer Milestone knows a thing or two about racing games would surely be an incredible understatement. Over the course of their existence, they have had a hand in such series as Ride, MotoGP, World Rally Championship and Sebastion Loeb Rally EVO. These are just a hand full of titles the team from Milan has been involved with. In fact, since their inception in 1996, Milestone is responsible for over 40 titles, almost all of which fall in the racing genre. Whether on two wheels or four, off road or on pavement, they seem to be dedicated to precision right down to the smallest detail but also have the strong desire to make games fun and accessible to everybody.
One game I got to playtest during my time hanging out with them was their new IP Gravel. An off road, arcade style racer, Gravel is based on a fictional TV show on the Gravel Chanel and features a mixture of both real world locations and fantasy off road courses. Using the power of Unreal Engine 4, environments are lushly detailed and combined with a dynamic time of day and weather system can really be breathtaking. Four game modes aim to provide a variety of adrenaline pumping action. Wild Rush, Cross Country, Speed Cross, and Stadium Circuit game modes should challenge your driving skills while exhilarating your senses.
My experience with the standard Xbox controller was pretty solid. Vehicles handled as expected and changes in the weather will affect how your vehicle will respond to the surface of the road. The rain would streak across the glass in a realistic manner and spray from the tires would impair my vision of what was ahead. The AI cars provided me with a good challenge on the medium setting but the difference from easy to medium felt a little too great. The three locations that I got to see were beautifully rendered and close to what players will see in the final release in terms of visual fidelity.
Online multiplayer should provide for some stiff competition as the developer expects to have up to 12 players on the track. As Gravel is still a work in progress I only expect things to get better from here, but if Milestone is able to achieve their vision then they just may have a hit in the making. I look forward to being able to give the game a proper review upon full release. I believe February 2018 is the targeted time frame so there’s still some time to give it a bit of extra spit and polish.