The result of Saber Interactive studio’s three-year pregnancy, the Dakar Desert Rally represents the culmination of an automotive license that has sought itself for many years. The developers have done everything for this comeback, and this new iteration is probably one of the best surprises of the new school year for mechanics buffs!
Huge map, various game modes, different types of vehicles, official link with France Télévisions… The passion behind Dakar Desert Rally is immediately apparent from the training! Like a Forza Horizon 5, Saber Interactive’s proteges propel the player on a wild desert journey (but no less sublime with its oases, rocky terrains and far-reaching sand) where they drive, skate on a motorcycle, and jump dizzyingly on a quad. From the first minutes, the tone is set, and we’re guessing Saber Interactive’s new game is a bit under the hood!
A less airtight racing game
The Dakar 18, while not a bad guy, showed little qualms to win in the rally arena. While the discipline is far from making headlines in video game news, the title has aligned many of its flaws, both visual and entertaining, to make an impression. Aware of the original’s shortcomings, the Saber Porto team completely revised the copy, taking care to adapt it for both connoisseurs and novice viewers. After South America, the franchise is packing its bags in Saudi Arabia in more than thirty official stages! Enough to rediscover the feel of the 2020, 2021 and 2022 versions of the discipline!
In its previous version, the Dakar struggled to convince the fault of outdated graphics and somewhat faded gameplay. And most importantly, he chose to be particularly elitist, leaving many players on the sidelines. This is not the case in the Dakar Desert Rally. For this version, the developers have integrated a Sport mode that allows novice drivers to concentrate on the road and opponents without having to worry about the road book; The famous navigation system allows them to find and identify their way in an unknown environment. a route. In short, have a real arcade approach and simplified navigation! Thanks to the addition of this mod, beginners can have fun in the Dakar Desert Rally, enjoying the races and majestic scenery. Cars, motorcycles, ATVs, trucks, SSVs… the sensations are out there, and this default Saber pick opens up the discipline to as many people as possible.
An exciting experience for fans
But trust the purists: Dakar Desert Rally offers a pro mode based on the same realism as Dakar 18 (as well as a unlockable simulation mode from level 25). In short, we find everything that makes rally raid appealing, where it is necessary to master the roadbook to find your way and find different waypoints (via points). By giving their games so much geographic coverage, the developers envisioned an incredibly dense landscape, and it doesn’t take much to get lost! Then you can calculate mileage, direction to travel, possible obstacles and dangers, etc. It is important to determine. On a motorcycle or ATV it’s even worse because there is no co-pilot to alert you! Needless to say, you won’t become a rally attack expert in a few minutes. It takes practice to analyze the dangers outlined in the itinerary and to adapt to the words of the co-pilot, who sometimes completely mislead you! While a “straight on the tracks” bend appears, it’s not easy to understand when you’re just getting started!
The developers have worked on the vehicles’ responsiveness and different heights than ever before, so it’s not uncommon to be surprised by a not-so-good orientation. Everything has been done to make you believe, and it’s no exaggeration to say that this Dakar Desert Rally has a bit of Forza Horizon and even the next-gen Sega Rally in the deformation of the terrain (although this doesn’t affect adhesion). . Three years of development has not been too much for the experience to be as refreshing as possible, and with dedication but also concentration, we earn experience points, XP (Dakar Points) and first places on the podium. This accumulated experience allows you to strengthen your vehicle, repair it between each stage and, above all, expand your garage with faster cars than ever before. It should be noted, however, that the Dakar Desert Rally remains a challenging title, both in driving (albeit slightly more flexible than before) and in collisions, despite the Sport mode. Accidents are truly punishing! Suffice it to say that you need to adapt your speed and keep an eye on navigation elements constantly. And until the end, all the benefits of Dakar Desert Rally make the game really addictive!
Unfortunately, there are a few things that bother us. The first, and undoubtedly immediately noticeable, is the presence of untimely slowdowns. The latter is also well noticeable during thunderstorms and other storms, when the particles illuminate the screen. Another concern comes from an artificial intelligence that suffers from “ray” syndrome and cannot see your vehicle at all. It’s pretty reactive and if it gives the illusion of being realistic, it’s not a race – or almost – a competitor making the point of attempting a round trip in the middle of a turn without doing anything! Once you get ahead and know the game is very punishing, there’s just enough of it to fly the controller across the room. Finally, piloting will not please everyone, sometimes it is the fault of one direction that is too delicate, sometimes too heavy. The finding is even more striking on motorcycles and quads. Frankly, we get used to it over time, but we can’t help but feel sorry for the sometimes random reactions of our cars.
This is beautiful Saudi Arabia
Sand dunes as far as the eye can see, turquoise waters, majestic mountains… Saudi Arabia, reproduced in 1:5 scale, is a country of great diversity. It’s simple, Dakar Desert Rally is one of the most generous racing games. We’re talking 430,000 square kilometers, an area larger than Germany, Japan, Paraguay or even the Democratic Republic of Congo! Frankly, with a map like this, the landscape looks huge! And to give their kids even more majesty, Saber’s developers have integrated a day/night cycle as well as weather changes in real time. In rainy weather, blizzard or blazing sun, the game provides an absolutely stunning visual! When you dive into the wind in the middle of a storm or a sandstorm, the effect is stunning!
More than enough to try the 150 vehicles in the game, whether online or alone! The music is very cinematic, but also quite pleasant. In terms of visual and sound reproduction, this is a certainty: Saber did a crazy job!
It remains a question that will bother more than one person. In its current form, can we talk about an open world? No, we’re going from scene to scene for simple and good reason, and there’s no mod that lets you move freely around the map. Also, the mods are still very light, as there is only career and free mode online. But be careful, free means you can customize your games. For now and waiting for possible extensions to arrive, it will be necessary first of all to be happy with the career mode and hope to have a large number of players online. Anyway, for anyone interested in discipline and wanting a game that lives up to its name, Dakar Desert Rally is by far the best choice. Not everything is perfect (no AI, few game modes, local multiplayer…), but the gap separating this game from Dakar 18 is huge. And if you can, experiment with the Simulation mode (speed limits, professional navigation, etc.), well worth the detour!
- A map as huge as it is sublime
- Various landscapes (sand dunes, beaches, mountains, etc.)
- Excellent sensations – including behind the wheel
- The best Dakar licensed game
- Day/night cycle, changing weather
- Many skins (including impressive helicopter skin)
- Sports mode for beginners
- Official license (drivers, vehicles, logos…)
- Pretty regular slowdowns in resolve mode
- Not an open world in the sense of “complete freedom”
- The motorcycle can be a real soap
- Not enough game modes
- An AI usually collects
- No local multiplayer
- The co-pilot is far from always reliable
Despite its lack of content, excellent driving and unsophisticated rivals, the Dakar Desert Rally dusts the automotive genre with style. Based on the majestic landscapes of Saudi Arabia, Saber Interactive’s game is a remarkable success and should please anyone looking for a different racing game. If the developers have fulfilled the requirements of Dakar 18 (with co-pilot, compass, roadbook, etc.), it is now possible to try the Sport mode and its arcade approach. Thanks to these additions, the Dakar Desert Rally opens up to a wider audience without breaking the ranks. With its successful speed tracking, panoramas and majestic effects and huge map, there is a lot to enjoy while waiting for possible extensions. Undoubted automotive surprise of this autumn!
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